The Marvel Cinematic Universe has revolutionized the way Hollywood makes blockbuster movies and arranges its entire slate, with huge interconnected franchises built out of individual films planned years in advance and many actors, writers and filmmakers committed to long multi-film contracts. While this new system has kept audiences coming back for more and a bevy of talent steadily employed, it’s also created a challenge for actors who want to balance their Marvel commitments with other projects.
While best known for directing and producing family comedies like Cheaper By The Dozen and Night At The Museum, Levy has achieved broader success recently as the producer of the nostalgia-fueled Netflix smash Stranger Things and the intellectually-minded sci-fi blockbuster Arrival – the latter of which co-stars MCU featured-player Jeremy Renner. As part of an interview with Screen Rant, Levy laid out the inherent complications in booking the part-time Clint Barton (aka “Hawkeye”) for a non-Marvel production:
“There’s an entire generation of actors who’re basically busy year-round on various Marvel pictures. Every single thing I direct or produce, we have to balance around commitments to Marvel – it’s just unbelievable how ubiquitous those movies are, and they have really made for tricky scheduling with what is now well over a dozen different actors.”
While the arrangement was indeed challenging, eventually Renner and Arrival’s producers mutual enthusiasm for the project won out, and the actor was able to take on the role of a physicist who joins Amy Adams’ linguistics professor as a pair of experts tasked by the U.S. military with deciphering the mysterious language of alien visitors who have arrived on Earth with unknown intentions. But the situation highlights the increasing difficulty of setting up singular productions in a film industry where actors are committed to television-like recurring roles for years at a time over a number of productions.
Arrival is set for release in the U.S. on November 11, 2016. Renner is widely expected to return to his role as Hawkeye (last seen among the incarcerated ex-Avengers in Captain America: Civil War) in Avengers: Infinity War and the still-untitled fourth Avengers feature, with cameo and guest appearances possible in any number of upcoming Marvel productions. Rumors have also circulated of the character appearing in a hypothetical Black Widow movie and even a Netflix series of his own – though neither scenario represents an active production at this time.