Jeremy Renner clearly does not shy away from challenges. The actor is meeting Movie Fanatic to talk about stepping into a franchise that could not have been more identified with another actor. Now that The Bourne Legacy is about to hit theaters, Renner tells us what it was like to step into the lead for one of Hollywood’s most successful series. What was it like to step into a series that began with Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity?
Renner talks about the pressures, if any, he felt headlining his first action film after his stellar work on the highly successful Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers.
Movie Fanatic: You haven’t had to carry a film like this before, was it ever too much?
Jeremy Renner: It’s like running downhill, I suppose. That’s what it felt like. My personal workload, I felt, was minimal compared to the entire process of filmmaking. For me, it was about getting enough sleep and being physically adept enough to be able to perform when I needed to perform. There was fighting, training, stretching, or whatever I had to do to get through the day. The treats were the moments like I had with Edward (Norton) and Rachel (Weisz). Those were the little treats along the way that kept me going through the really physical part of the movie.
Movie Fanatic: So, did you talk to Matt Damon before shooting started?
Jeremy Renner: No, we didn’t reach out to each other, at all. We never spoke creatively about it. I’ve known him for years, but I inadvertently ran into him before we started. We had a good time at a birthday party, and that was about it.
Movie Fanatic: We can see it in The Bourne Legacy trailer, those scenes in Alaska look absolutely chilly and chilling. How'd you handle that cold?
Jeremy Renner: You don’t ask for that sort of physical torture [laughs]. We weren’t shooting in the Rockies and pretending it was summer. It was cold as it was supposed to be. The only thing that was really challenging was that I’m supposed to be a tough guy and to be able to go, “Yeah, it’s not cold.” I’m freezing! I can’t be freezing! It wasn’t easy, but it was beautiful and it became a character in itself.
Movie Fanatic: So, did your director commiserate with you and walk around half-naked like you do?
Jeremy Renner: You never saw him! He was wrapped… he had batteries in his gloves! He had heated underwear. How dare he ask me to jump in the water naked!
Movie Fanatic: Was the training for the action sequences much different than the work you did to prepare for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Avengers?
Jeremy Renner: I was lucky enough to have Mission and Avengers, same guys I worked with on those came onto Bourne, and so I had a running start with that. If anything, it might have been a little easier even though what was required of me was a lot more.
Movie Fanatic: How do you see the difference between your agent and Jason Bourne?
Jeremy Renner: The differences are, which were very exciting to me, is that it is a new palette of colors and a new canvas to paint upon. His circumstance is being willing, and I feel connected to that idea of wanting to belong to something -- a sense of purpose as a man on the planet. That is what I initially felt connected to: A guy that really wanted to belong, whether it is the military, or then signing up for a program that makes you feel like you are doing some good on the planet.
Movie Fanatic: Was there one challenge bigger than any other diving into The Bourne Legacy?
Jeremy Renner: Not getting hurt. Pretty much, I could not get injured. I wanted to do as much as I possibly could because of the responsibility of the authenticity of the three films prior. It would do a great injustice to this film if I could not perform what was required. I like those physical challenges. Outside of that, it’s a job from page one to 120 -- and tremendous cast and directors and writing. It’s exciting to go to work.
Movie Fanatic: Did you get hurt at all?
Jeremy Renner: I hurt my feelings [laughs]. I got banged up a little bit. If you don’t get banged up, you’re not working hard enough in my mind.
Movie Fanatic: You up for another? Will Damon return?
Jeremy Renner: As far as the future, I’m excited that the architects and creators behind this whole thing have cleverly left it wide open for fans like myself wondering what the heck is going to happen next.