We've been hearing for a while that Hurt Locker actor (and singer!) Jeremy Renner would star in Peter Berg's Battleship, an adaptation of the board game that will, of course, feature aliens. We've also known that he's been taking meetings with Paul Thomas Anderson about possibly joining Philip Seymour Hoffman in the cast of the director's Vulture-anticipated Scientology movie. Today, in a story about Taylor Kitsch signing on to play Battleship's lead, the Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision blog says that Renner will do only the Scientology movie, "as scheduling conflicts preventing his involvement in both."
The good news is that this means Anderson's film is seemingly still on track and had a schedule with which to be conflicted (does this mean somebody else stepped in to foot the $35 million budget after Universal passed last month?).
The bad, to reiterate the above, is that Renner is making Battleship instead. We'd never begrudge a guy one paycheck role (especially not Renner, who's certainly earned it), and Battleship won't even necessarily be terrible — we like Peter Berg and aliens! But Anderson apparently felt strongly that Renner was the guy for his movie, so much so that he was willing to rewrite a lead role to accommodate the actor's old age (Renner is 39; according to the Playlist's script review, his character was originally supposed to be a twentysomething). So now we'll probably have to settle for Paul Dano or something. Who would still be great! But we'll know in our hearts he was Plan B.
Update: Sorry, folks. We misread THR's original story, which says this:
Throughout the awards season, Jeremy Renner, riding high off of "The Hurt Locker" momentum, had been in the running for the [Battleship role] but had to decide between this movie and Paul Thomas Anderson's latest drama, with scheduling conflicts preventing his involvement in both.
Taylor Kitsch to star in 'Battleship' film [Heat Vision/HR]