Jeremy Renner’s First Mission
This is going to be Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner’s year beginning with this week’s release of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol on Blu-ray followed by next month’s role as Hawkeye in The Avengers. Later this summer, he appears in the fourth Jason Bourne film, playing another espionage agent in The Bourne Legacy.
Here’s a chat with the actor courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment.
Q: Hey Jeremy. Congratulations on Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Not only was it a huge box office success in its films release, but you actually managed to survive making the film. That’s a surprise considering the amazing stunts in the movie.
A: (Laughs) Yes, it’s good to be alive. There are some amazing set pieces, my friend.
Q: Let’s talk about the biggest one. It involves Tom Cruise hanging outside the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa – which stands almost 830 metres (2,723 feet) high in Dubai. Can you talk about the stunt?
A: Yes. As you say, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It’s twice the size of the Empire State building in New York. We were on the the top of it and it is so high that when you look down it is like the view from a plane. It’s intense. All the stunts are practical and that made that a lot of fun. There’s a lot of challenges to overcome, but luckily we had a man like Tom to lead the way.
Q: I think the best thing about the stunt in respect to you is while Tom Cruise is hanging outside the building 800 metres above the Earth, you are actually safely tucked away in the building. Good for you!
A: Exactly (laughs). We just had to sit inside and sip on some tea. We didn’t have to do all of that.
Q: The craziest thing about that stunt is it is actually Tom Cruise. It’s not a digital Tom Cruise or a stunt man posing as Tom Cruise hanging off the building.
A: That’s right. It’s Tom.
Q: So while you were inside sipping tea, how was Tom? Was he freaking out being outside and so high up or was he having fun?
A: Oh yeah he was having fun. He was smiling ear to ear between takes.
Q: That’s incredible.
A: I think he has a lot of mountain climbing experience and one of the stunt guys behind him was one of the top mountain climbers, so being on a wire, he was as comfortable as hanging on a rock. That’s strange enough in itself. But hanging off a building like that? Maybe it’s not new to him. Maybe it is, but he certainly was enjoying himself (laughs).
Q: Tom Cruise, of course, returns to the Mission: Impossible franchise as Ethan Hunt, team leader of the Impossible Missions Friends (IMF) espionage agency. Can you tell us who you play and a bit about the movie’s plot?
A: Sure. I play Will Brandt. He’s the chief analyst for the secretary (Tom Wilkinson) who is the head of the IMF. The IMF gets shut down essentially right after all of our characters converge – Ethan Hunt, Will Brandt and the secretary. Things go awry. Then everything shuts down, we become rogue agents essentially and hence ‘ghost protocol’. We are thrust together to overcome great obstacles and within that dynamic of the four agents you realize that not everybody is who they say they are or who they appear to be. It’s a spy franchise and you never know with spies. If they are good, bad or where their allegiances lie. That’s the case in this movie.
Q: You must be happy with your career. You first came on to Hollywood’s radar in 2002 in Dahmer, playing the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and had some great roles in the years after. But, your life changed in 2009 with The Hurt Locker. You were nominated for an Oscar. The film won best picture. How do you feel about the ride you have been on since The Hurt Locker?
A: It’s amazing. The Hurt Locker definitely changed everything for me. I’m getting opportunities now that are just amazing. Roles that I could only dream about and big, huge films like Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
Q: And you’re taking over as the face of the Bourne franchise from Matt Damon. How do you feel about climbing to what some would say is mega stardom in Hollywood?
A: I have no idea (laughs). I have certainly enjoyed working. I can tell you that. There have been a lot of wonderful of opportunities I have seemingly stumbled across with Mission being the first big monster out of the gate. I enjoyed the heck out of that and ever since then it has been more action movies after that. Who knows what the future holds?
Q: You definitely have been busy.
A: Yeah. I know what I do need. I need a nap (laughs).
Q: Can you talk about growing up in Modesto, California, and what made you want to be an actor?
A: Modesto is a small town. I love the place. I love going back there. It is my community, but it is a long way away from Hollywood in many respects. As a young man in Modesto, I found acting very therapeutic. I could become other people. I could explore different characters. The more I acted the more I fell in love with it.
Q: Is it true your first paid acting job was with the local police?
A: (Laughs) Yeah. I was at school and this man came in and told me he would pay me $50 if I helped train some police academy cadets. So I went along and they told me I had to act like someone resisting arrest. That’s what I had to do. I had to freak out and kick and punch. It was a fun way to make $50 back then.
Q: Thanks Jeremy.
A: Thanks mate.