Jeremy Renner and director Tony Gilroy recently made a quick trip to Australia to promote the latest film it the Bourne franchise – The Bourne Legacy. I was lucky enough to chat with Jeremy Renner about the film and here’s how it went down…
Matt: You’ve been acting for some time and there were good films early in your career and I think about 28 Days Later for example but now it seems your access to roles has really taken off since your Oscar nominated turn in The Hurt Locker. Is that how it’s appeared to you?
Jeremy: It certainly feels that way, yeah. There have been more opportunities that came around because of it. It’s been quite a blessing to get work as an actor.
Matt: I’m guessing you get quite a lot of scripts in front of your nose, or at least in front of your agent’s nose. I’m curious to know what it is you look for in choosing a role?
Jeremy: It’s been pretty much the same throughout my career. I look for things that make me excited to go to work. Not knowing the answers, not knowing how it’s going to turn out, not knowing who I’ll learn from amongst the cast and the crew – it’s exciting. The role is also important and how I can connect with it and find a way in.
Matt: The Bourne franchise has already been made famous by Matt Damon. It’s going through somewhat of a refresh here with Jason Bourne’s character phased out and you coming in as our new hero, Aaron Cross. What was the attraction of coming into this already well-established franchise?
Jeremy: I’m a fan of the franchise, a fan of Matt Damon and a fan of the style of the cinema that they’ve reignited. It’s like a spy thriller from the 70s with great character development. What’s not to love about that?
Matt: Did you get to talk to Matt Damon at all beforehand to get a feel of what you might be getting into?
Jeremy: I’ve gotten to known Matt over the years through Ben Affleck. We didn’t get together officially to discuss the movie creatively but we had a few quick chats behind closed doors.
Matt: You’re working with Tony Gilroy who I think is one of the best writers in Hollywood today with films like Michael Clayton, Duplicity and State Of Play as well as the previous Bourne movies. Here, he’s the director as well. What was he like to work with?
Jeremy: Yeah, it’s nice to have Tony since he’s been a part of the three prior movies as a writer. He’s a plethora of resource and material that I could use if I had any questions. Also, when you work with really smart people like Tony, it elevates the game. What I loved about Tony is that he was very trusting in me with what I was going to do and bring to the film. When you have that trust, there’s a lot of fluidity and creativity that comes as a result.
Matt: As expected, it’s an extremely physical role. You’re running all over the place, there’s fight sequences, you’re shot at and there are motorcycle chases. How much preparation goes into a role like this before you get on set for the first day and start filming?
Jeremy: It was more dumb luck happening there because I had to be physically prepared for Mission: Impossible 4, Hansel & Gretel and The Avengers. The same guys that taught me how to fight in those movies were brought onto Bourne. We had a good running start with the physical preparation but each day had its own challenge to do exactly what was required for the stunts in each scene. You had to learn quickly and do the best you possibly could.
Matt: That reminds me of the very first scene in the film where you get out of a freezing lake in a snow covered landscape. Special effects or was it as cold as it looked?
Jeremy: Yes, it’s real. Something like that for instance, how do you prepare for that physically? I’m not going to sit in a bathtub with ice and say I’m really prepared for this cold water. *laughs*
Matt: A problem I often have with action films is that they feel over-the-top and cartoonish in terms of their storylines but I’ve really liked the Bourne series. Whilst this is a work of fiction, there’s always that lingering thought in the back of your mind as to whether these top-secret government programs and special agents actually exist. Is that something you’ve thought about yourself?
Jeremy: Of course. I believe this world exists but I don’t know any specific details. I believe I’d be shot if I really knew. *laughs* Yeah, that’s what makes these stories and this particular series very interesting – the integrity and authenticity is really important. You don’t want to have to suspend your disbelief in this kind of movie and I’m talking about everything from the physical action to the intelligence of the characters.
Matt: Now there were three films in the Bourne series with Matt Damon. Can we expect to see you again? Are you committed to future Bourne films?
Jeremy: Well that’s not for me to decide really. I had fun on this. Perhaps the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I’m game but people have to want to see it and there has to be an appetite for it. I can’t see far enough into the future.
Matt: I’ll finish up by asking what you’ve got in the works. What can we expect to see you in soon?
Jeremy: Hansel & Gretel comes out in the States at the beginning of next year and then James Gray’s movie should come out after that. It has Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix. Other than that, I’m kind of taking a little break to hang out with my family.
Matt: You’ve been so busy this year that it makes sense. Thanks Jeremy and we hope that The Bourne Legacy is a success at the box-office. I think it’s a great continuation of the series. Thanks for talking with us.
Jeremy: Thank you so much.
You can read by review of The Bourne Legacy by clicking here.
All Rights Reserved. Matthew Toomey. 2012.