MODESTO -- Jeremy Renner steps into the biggest spotlight of his career today with the opening of blockbuster hopeful "The Bourne Legacy."
It's a massive moment, although it likely isn't the biggest blockbuster of his career or even of this very same summer (thank you, "The Avengers").
But for Renner, this is the first major motion picture being carried solely on his action figure-form shoulders.
Yes, the Beyer High grad carried the Academy Award-winning film "The Hurt Locker," garnering his own Oscar nod for lead actor. But that was a tiny film that, frankly, would have been a blip on the big screen had the outpouring of critical praise not lifted it from its indie-darling status.
But "The Bourne Legacy" is a big deal, indeed. And, yes, we've got it covered. Two pages here are dedicated to the film, and Bee writer Marijke Rowland talked to Renner for an A-1 story.
But why Rowland when we have another writer covering entertainment? Well, it's kind of been the white elephant on the page for a while, really.
Scene writer Lisa Millegan Renner married Jeremy's dad, Lee, in 2010. Side note: the couple welcomed a son last year, Jeremy's half-brother.
It's kind of bizarre that so much happiness in the Renners' personal lives leads to what's actually termed a "conflict" at work for Lisa; that is, a conflict of interest.
Although she's the Bee's entertainment writer, Lisa can't cover anything that relates to the second-biggest entertainment name to come out of Modesto (sorry, Jeremy, "Star Wars" keeps George Lucas at No. 1).
"Conflict" is a strong word, of course. It's the entertainment section, after all. We aren't writing ground-shaking exposés here. All it really means is that another writer steps in when Jeremy makes news.
Lisa does get e-mails and questions about her increasingly famous last name. No surprise there. What might be surprising, though, is how little it all affects our coverage.
The obvious suggestion would be that Jeremy gets more attention because of the internal family connection. In fact, he'd get just as much attention without it. Again, he's the second-biggest Hollywood name to come out of Modesto and a two-time Oscar nominee. We'd be remiss not to cover him like a blanket.
Jeremy does make himself accessible to his hometown newspaper but he did that before his dad met Lisa. Jeremy wears his heart on his sleeve for Modesto and almost always expresses so when we come calling.
But do we get any insider info, via Lisa? Not really. Wish we did.
In reality, like any other 41-year-old man, Jeremy doesn't check in with Daddy before going about his life. Usually, the best we get is a tip on whether he might be in the country when we want to talk to him.
Oh, sure, we knew the truth behind the infamous Christina-Aguilera-passing-out-during-a- party-at-his-house rumor from a couple of years ago. But since we aren't a tabloid, it really didn't matter.
And we did get word early that Jeremy was contrary to rumor unhurt and uninvolved while in a Thailand bar when a fight broke out. But the family was eager to let us know that, anyway, and would have talked to The Bee with or without the connection.
But knowing the paternal end of the Renner family does make it all the more touching when reading a wire story like one Monday from theLos Angeles Daily News. Renner and "Bourne" director Tony Gilroy were interviewed together when the subject of their fathers came up:
that his father who also worked in television, Hollywood and independent film is still writing at 86
" 'He's a firecracker, unbelievable,' adds Renner, who calls his own father one of his heroes.
" 'He's a friend and a mentor. He fulfills a lot of roles for me,' says the actor about his dad.
"Renner's own path to Hollywood was less likely than Gilroy's, and he says his father supported him in becoming an actor even if he didn't know much about it.
" 'Nobody in my family is in the business, knows anything about the business or is an artist in any way," Renner says. "I'm the only lefty in the family, I got the artistic side."
How sweet is that? By the way, I have an insider tip that Dad is pretty proud. No conflict there.
Scene editor Pat Clark can be reached at 209-578-2312 or email@example.com.