Academy Award-nominated actor Jeremy Renner will introduce "The Town" to his hometown at a Gallo Center for the Arts benefit next month.
"An Evening With Jeremy Renner" is scheduled for Sept. 18 in the 1,250-seat Foster Theater, a day after the nationwide opening of "The Town." The movie, directed by and starring Ben Affleck, is Renner's first major release since his leading role in this year's Oscar winner for best picture, "The Hurt Locker."
The Gallo Center program will be similar to Bravo's televised "Inside the Actors Studio," including an interview, clips from Renner's films and a question-and-answer period with the audience. Jim Johnson, the Gallo Center's arts education coordinator and retired Modesto Junior College dean of fine arts, will conduct the interview.
"We are thrilled that Jeremy is stepping forward to do this," Gallo Center Chief Executive Officer Lynn Dickerson said in a news release. "His devotion to his hometown, and to the arts community here, is admirable."
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Of the genesis of the event, Dickerson said Thursday, "I had this idea of wanting to start an 'Actors Studio' type of thing with some of our famous people from here."
Well before Renner's best-actor Oscar nomination, "I started talking with his dad (Lee Renner) and asked if Jeremy might consider doing a fund-raiser for us," Dickerson said.
When Renner's star shot up with the nominations for him and "The Hurt Locker," the fund-raiser idea lay dormant. But then "the Oscars' dust settled," Dickerson said, "and a few days ago, his dad said Jeremy would be in town to launch his new movie and wondered if doing a benefit was still possible. ... I'd said early on to just give us a date, and we'd make it happen."
'Hometown Heroes' series
"An Evening with Jeremy Renner" will be held at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 and $20. A limited number of tickets available for $50 include a post-show reception with Renner. Tickets are on sale at the center's box office, 1000 I St., online at www.galloarts.org and by phone at 338-2100.
Dickerson said Renner's appearance is the first of what is expected to be an ongoing "Hometown Heroes" series at the performing arts center. Future subjects likely will include legendary climber Royal Robbins, three-time Olympic discus thrower Suzy Powell and Broadway actress and singer Colleen Hawks.
The center approached actor Timothy Olyphant of the FX series "Justified," but he declined.
"I'm hoping it was just that the timing wasn't right" and that he'll be able to participate down the line, Dickerson said. "There really are a lot of people from here who've gone on to do interesting things with their lives. I think we can do two or three of these a season."
What about Modesto's most famous son, filmmaker George Lucas. "We'd love to have George," Dickerson said, "but I think that's a pipe dream."
Renner, a Beyer High School graduate who attended Modesto Junior College, stars in "The Town" with Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Blake Lively, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper. The story follows four Charlestown, Mass., bank robbers pursued by law enforcement.
According to the plot synopsis on the movie's Web site, Affleck plays Doug MacCray, "leader of a crew of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves on taking what they want and getting out clean. The only family Doug has are his partners in crime, especially Jem (Renner), who, despite his dangerous, hair- trigger temper, is the closest thing Doug ever had to a brother."
Renner's other films include "S.W.A.T.," "North Country," "Dahmer," "28 Weeks Later" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford." Last year, he starred in the short-lived ABC police drama "The Unusuals" alongside Amber Tamblyn.
In 2012, he's to play the role of Hawkeye in the Marvel Comics superhero adventure "The Avengers," as part of a star-studded cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson in their respective roles as Iron Man, Black Widow and Nick Fury. Members of the Avengers also include Thor, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk. The film is written and directed by Joss Whedon (creator of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dollhouse").