What connects Jeremy Renner to Matt Hancock?

Bow selector

The latest instalment in the all-encompassing Marvel Cinematic-and-high-end-streaming-TV Universe is the series Hawkeye, recently debuting on Disney+. It stars Jeremy Renner as the eponymous hero, as seen in many Marvel films. Fellow archer Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld, joins him for the ride. Next stop, Marvel’s modern pentathlon?

Into the Renner-verse

When not acting, Renner likes a side hustle. There’s an occasional music career – a full-length album landed in 2020. He’s also said to have a lucrative house-flipping hobby, and who could forget his foray into tech with bespoke social networking app Jeremy Renner Official? Despite its cult status, the app – which has inspired a podcast investigationwas shuttered after two years.

Jeremy Renner
... as well as the networking app Jeremy Renner Official ... Photograph: Getty Images

Milkshake brings all the boys to my app

An in no way sinister-sounding company called Escapex built Renner-world and specialised in direct-to-fan social media apps for celebrities and influencers of varying degrees of actual fame, from Kelis to Tommy Chong, via Enrique Iglesias. Though the company seems to have gone quiet of late.

Kelis performs in Berlin
... built by Escapex which also created an app for Kelis ... Photograph: Getty Images

Related: What connects Drive My Car to Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood?

And then there’s … Hancock

Many may fondly recall when, in 2018, Matt Hancock became the first MP to release his own social network for constituents, called Matt Hancock MP. It’s been an eventful few years for him, having been health secretary during what a Commons committee report called “one of the most important public health failures the United Kingdom has ever experienced” until his resignation in June after breaching social distancing guidance with his close adviser. Michael Winterbottom is turning the government’s handling of the pandemic into a TV drama called This Sceptred Isle. Andrew Buchan (The Crown) will play Hancock; Kenneth Branagh is Boris Johnson.

Matt Hancock in Downing Street, June 2021
... while Matt Hancock released his own. Photograph: Shutterstock

Bran management

This year saw the release of Branagh’s black-and-white, semi-autobiographical Troubles drama Belfast (tagline: “I’d like an Oscar”). In 2011, Branagh directed Thor, the fourth film in the comic-book hero series. Alongside its array of stars was a cameo from Renner as Hawkeye, setting up his emergence as a major character in the ever-evolving world. The sun never sets on the Marvel Universe.

Kenneth Branagh at the premiere of Belfast in LA
Kenneth Branagh directed Thor … with a cameo from Renner. Photograph: Shutterstock

Pairing notes

Watch Renner joins previous collaborator Taylor Sheridan (Wind River) for new crime series Mayor of Kingstown (nothing to do with Easttown), though a UK release is TBC.

Drink While there isn’t an official range of Marvel booze (yet), there is no shortage of themed cocktails online: the Hawkeye riffs on the Black Hawk with bourbon, sloe gin, apple brandy, lemon juice. Hits the spot.