Jeremy Renner appeared at the AMC Century City 15 theatre on July 9, 2012 along with writer/director Tony Gilroy to talk about “The Bourne Legacy.” In addition, Renner also took time to answer questions regarding how he went about preparing to play Aaron Cross, and of how he prepares for roles in general. Renner’s answers to these questions showed him to be an actor always looking to challenge himself constantly and to not get trapped in a comfort zone.
Renner has since made a name for himself with his performances in “The Hurt Locker,” “The Town,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,’ and “The Avengers.” One person asked Renner which movie has required him to do the most training, and he said it was definitely “The Bourne Legacy.” Renner said this was because it required from him “a level of authenticity” that other movies didn’t, and that he “had to work diligently to make the fights look like I could actually do them.”
Another person quoted Renner as once saying he “makes himself uncomfortable” when he can and asked him if that has made all the difference in his life. Renner replied it “makes all the difference” and said it is about “constantly challenging” himself:
“It’s about not being complacent and not fall into the trappings of repeated behaviors and getting comfortable… As I’ve gotten older, if there are things I knew I don’t like, I would still go try them again just to make sure that I don’t like them.”
Unlike his previous movies which had Renner in a supporting role, “The Bourne Legacy” marks his first starring role in a big budget Hollywood movie. Renner, however, made it clear that his preparation was no different for this movie, and that it remains the same on each role he takes on. He did say though that his workout regimen has changed a lot from “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” to “The Bourne Legacy:”
“For ‘Mission’ I was really out of shape. I mean, I stretched for twenty minutes and that was my workout. And now I stretch for an hour and a half, fight for two hours, workout for an hour and a half, and then stretch for another hour and then go to work.”
For Renner, saying yes to “The Bourne Legacy” was actually very easy as he felt all the elements were “fantastic” and that he couldn’t say no even if part of him wanted to. And while he may have now graduated from indie films to big budget action movies, his mindset hasn’t changed much in how he sees this sequel compared to movies he’s done beforehand:
“For a big movie, it felt very tiny in the sense of it was not just the stunts but also the intimacy of really quiet scenes I feel I’d rather be doing as an actor. So for me it had the balance of both; it felt like a little independent movie and a massive action movie, so I got both feels all in one.”
In answering what it was like to play Aaron Cross and how he would “turn off” the character at the day’s end, Renner’s response did not have any Hollywood ego in it at all:
“Oh come on man! It’s something that’s not that far away in that we’re talking about every physical role here. I have to stick to the truth on page 1 to page whatever and just stick to the truths within that. There’s no turning it on or turning it off; I’m not some freak actor that way. This is a character that’s closer to me than say Jeffrey Dahmer (whom the actor played in the 2002 movie “Dahmer”), so it’s not something I have to completely lose myself in. It’s just part of my job, and I can’t explain my job.”
From this evening, we saw that Jeremy Renner is a very respectful actor who takes his craft very seriously, and he revels in his unexpected success and in working with actors like Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton whom he resented for stealing so many interesting movie roles from him. We look forward to what Renner has to give us not just in “The Bourne Legacy,” but in so many other performances he has yet to deliver.