Jeremy Renner: “I just want to be the best I can be”
Wearing a heavy grey sweater and old jeans, Jeremy Renner, 41, actor and burgeoning action hero, is dressed so casually, it's as though he might be incognito. Joining the Bourne franchise as Aaron Cross in the Bourne Legacy, the California-born actor starred in The Hurt Locker, which garnered him a nomination for an Academy Award Best Actor and he then earned another nod for The Town as Best Supporting Actor. With a full blown Hollywood career, he also starred alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and more recently, he played Hawkeye in The Avengers, one of the biggest grossing movies of all time.
一身厚重灰色毛衣和一條舊牛仔褲，傑瑞米雷納，41歲的演員也是快速崛起的動作片英雄，穿著竟如此隨性，令人不禁想眼前這位是假冒的嗎? 加入神鬼認證系列並在『神鬼認證4』中演出Aaron Cross一角，出身加州， 主演過【危機倒數】 奧斯卡最佳男主角提名，【竊盜城】最佳男配角提名，在好萊塢如此經歷豐富，不只如此，在『不可能任務4』中也一同與Tom Cruise被大家所注目，最近則在【復仇者聯盟】中飾演鷹眼一角，一部票房正在快速累積的強片。
Q: Did you expect to become an action hero or was it something that caught you by surprise?
No, I don't think I am. I'm just an actor in some action movies that's all. (laughs) It just happened to work out that way. I certainly didn't plan it. I feel blessed to be a part of these movies, especially this one, and it's been a really wonderful ride so far.
Q: What do you like about action?
It's got all the elements of cinema that I enjoy, and then having 3 dimensional characters and great storytelling and then the physical part of it, it's a lot of fun for me. I've always been a very athletic kid growing up, and so it's nice to be able to kind of do that on cinema too.
Q: In Bourne Legacy, did you have to do anything that scared you?
There are things that made me more nervous than others, I suppose. It wasn't a difficult thing, it only made me nervous because it was something I couldn't prepare for. I had to be in very cold temperature water. Maybe people in the Netherlands jump in the freezing water all the time but I'm not used to that. I was praying that my heart could take it. It was all the build up, and once I did it, it was no big deal. I could do it again, no problem.
Q: How many times did they make you jump there?
Just a couple of times.
Q: What do you think makes this franchise so popular?
I don't know. I could tell you why I think it is and it's because it's authentic. I think it's visceral, I think it's immersive because of those things. I think there's a form of fantasy when something feels so real and you care for the characters. That's why I think it does well. Also, it's smart and has a high speed chess quality. It's a thinking visceral action movie. Just really terrific, I think it's got elements for a lot of broad audiences to come check it out. And Legacy is no different.
Q: And what about the training? You must have done training for The Avengers. So how different was this?
Completely different. Well most always, it's not about the training so much as not to get injured. To prevent injuries. But there's no bow work I have to do in this one, there's much more being physically limber and strong to be able to do things I need to do, a lot of cross training and Parkour and that stuff.
Q: When we interviewed you for The Town you said you were making more money building houses than acting. So I guess that is not the case anymore?
(laughs) I guess not, no. But I still do both.
Q: How is that going, building houses?
Q: It must have added value now that ‘a movie star can build your house for you' …
I don't put my name on it. They can hide in the company name, or my brother's name, or something else.
Q: It's a hobby or a job?
It's another lifestyle for me, absolutely, I love doing it.
Q: What do you like about that?
To me, it's a tangible thing at the end of it. You do a movie for months, and that's all it is, it's a movie. Music, you do an album, and it's just kind of an auditory thing, but this is a physical, tangible thing. It exists and you know you are providing a lifestyle for somebody and that's pretty tremendous, and you put every amount of thought into everything. And I try to do landscaping for the houses that we build, and there's a sense of pride within that, seeing that, and making sure that the hedges are doing well and seeing how the trees that are planted will be doing well, how the roof line is doing.
Q: Your movies are a tangible thing, too? It's your part in there.
Yeah, but it still doesn't exist, I can't drive by and see it, touch it, feel it, it's like you've got to put it in the thing and watch it.
Q: But because of that, people love you. Are you okay with watching your movies? Some actors don't like it.
Q: Did you have the opportunity to sit with Matt Damon and talk about keeping with the Bourne legacy?
I mean we spoke for like literally thirty seconds. I've known him over these past couple of years, and we spoke kind of briefly. We were there celebrating a friend's birthday, and he said a few words.
Q: You must feel like a huge pressure though I would imagine.
Q: Well, because you are coming into this enormously successful franchise and a lot obviously rides on you.
Well, what does it have to do with any other job? How is that different? It's not. A big movie, a small movie, how is that my responsibility? My responsibility is to create a three dimensional character …
Q: But it's a beloved character.
Whose character? I'm Aaron Cross. I wouldn't do this movie if I was playing Jason Bourne.
Q: But it's the lead role in a Bourne film.
Not a problem, not a problem doing that. I would never, ever play Jason Bourne, it would not happen.
Q: Well why wouldn't you consider doing Jason Bourne? You think about James Bond for instance, there are several great actors that have done it.
They've established that in the James Bond series, so it's a little bit more respectable I suppose, so I guess it just becomes a different movie in itself. I don't want to really take over somebody's role nor do I think Matt would want me playing it. It's not even a question. I mean, absolutely no. You could throw me whatever amount of money, it's a fuck no, is what it is. It's not going to happen.
Q: But Aaron Cross is pretty much like Jason Bourne. What is the difference?
Huge differences, the obvious one I think would be that Jason Bourne didn't know who he was. And that's what he's trying to figure out. This guy knows exactly who he is and how he's involved. And wants to be involved. And parts of the story change that.
Q: Up until now, you've flown under the radar a bit, but this will obviously change things. Does that make you nervous, or are you excited?
No, it's a high class problem to have. Some people really embrace that sort of thing. I want no part of it, if I can have it my way, I can do movies I like and do really well and no one would know any different. But it's not the case, and so it is what it is, you know?
Q: Is there anything you are afraid of?
Not very many things, no.
Q: What can make you nervous?
Well, sitting in traffic, that freaks me out. (laughter) Being in large groups of people where I can't get out, that freaks me out. Doesn't make me scared or nervous or, but I just do not want to be in those scenarios.
Q: Was turning 40 a big step for you or is it just a number?
It's a number, but it's sort of a milestone in a lot of ways I guess, a reason to have a birthday party, (laughter) I don't do them very often, it's just like turning 30 was a massive milestone, I felt like a man at that point, even though I had looked like a boy, I still felt like a man.
Q: But this is a midlife crisis potential. (laughter)
Q: It's still difficult for a man I think.
Well I don't fit into that category. (laughter)
Q: Lucky you. Do you have a new goal set after 40, like maybe to pay more attention to keeping fit and healthy?
Yeah, things don't come as easy physically, there's that. I'm just a little bit more aware of it, getting injured it takes a little bit longer to heal. I still haven't worked out in three or four months, (laughs) I haven't done anything about it, but whatever.
Q: What do you like doing when you're not working?
Riding a motorcycle, and feeding the fish. I like to go feed the fish. I like to do yard work, I got some pine needles in a tree that I've got to go whack out of the trees, and I was hoping to do it later.
我開始認真覺得你老了真的會『我們買了動物園』（電影：We Bought A Zoo）
Q: You wanted to be a musician at the beginning of your career?
Not till I think I was like sixteen, that's when I wanted to start playing drums and then moved onto guitar, and piano, and singing. And after that, I still continued to do it, I just love doing it, I do it because I love to, that's it.
Q: It's interesting that you like yard work. Do you value that more than before?
As a contrast to this movie star life? Well that's only because, just doing yard work is an example, I just love doing that regardless. It just feels good to do something that I always like to do. What I do kind of miss is actually going to the grocery store, and it becomes a little bit more difficult, or just kind of doing anything like that. I like doing those things what we all consider to be normal things that we do. Like when you are hungry, you go somewhere to go eat. Everything has to be a little bit different. Or I have to have to be in a mood to want to be interrupted constantly, to eat. I usually get a little cranky when I am hungry, (laughs) so that's always a bad idea. You have to think about all these things. It's like, am I in the mood? No, I just want to eat. Shove something in my throat, and just eat it.
Q: We see you always so casual, and then we see you on the red carpet, do you like to get dressed up?
Yeah, it's fun.
Q: Is there a designer that you like especially?
Yeah, there's a lot of them out there, but I've worn Dolce quite a bit, usually they fit right off of the rack, and so it doesn't take any fussing.
那裡有眾多品牌，但我個人比較常穿Dolce & Gabbana的衣服。因為他們的衣服從架上拿下試穿後就相當合身，不用修改。
Q: Did you ever have a fashion faux pas? Something amusing? Stood on the red carpet and said, ‘Oh my gosh. I should have never worn that?'
No, I don't think so. I don't go too crazy with fashion. I have a certain sense of style but I don't go too crazy. I don't have a meat tie or anything.
這裡有提到 meat tie，英國有一部分的人狂熱人體改造，會把緞帶加穿環穿進身體裡，讓身體看起來就像一件衣服，有馬甲、領帶...等。
Q: But you looked very dapper a few days ago, when you had breakfast with the President.
Q: How was it?
It was a fantastic opportunity. I mean, meeting the leader of the free world, I mean, that's a great perk, I don't think I would have ever had an opportunity to meet him prior to that.
Q: How did that happen?
He's coming to town to talk about looking for funding and stuff, and more importantly, looking for youth voters and stuff, and he's doing the re-election thing.
Q: Going back to your construction business, initially, did you do it to make money?
No, really doing it for a place to live. And not live in an apartment. I don't want to pay money to rent, it's nice to own something and hopefully have it increase in value, kind of invest. I never had money to invest. And then we did a little work on it, and then someone gave us a lot more than we paid for it. So then, my God, I guess this is a good job. We should continue it.
Q: Do you think we might see in the future a team up between Aaron Cross and Jason Bourne?
I think there's an absolute possibility for that, sure. If it could happen, I could find him, and I would be wide open to that idea. We will see.
Q: When you look back, how important was the Oscar experience a few years ago? Did that change a lot for you?
Yeah, of course, it changed in a lot of ways. It didn't change me by any means, it's just sort of like the experiences around me. I'm only realizing that it's in the industry that it became the most affecting. And it's a huge thing, it's a wonderful thing. It's something that can never be taken away.
Q: It must have meant the world for your mother.
I suppose so, yeah. We had a good time going together.
Q: Did she change afterwards?
I think the awareness within my family about the industry has grown. Because of that, it's the first time my mom has really been down a red carpet. And it's overwhelming, and it's hard to talk about what an overwhelming feeling is. How do you explain that feeling to somebody? And then they do it themselves and it's like oh wow, I see what you mean. So I guess my mom has shifted just because she's become more aware of kind of what I do, and the goings on of those kind of scenarios. Not just that, but just any carpet or any, my experiences of coming to set, and they've just got a greater awareness of what my job is, and that's nice just to have.
Q: Do you think there is a big part of vanity in the work of an actor? You see your face, well dressed on the cover of a magazine, you see yourself at talk shows. How do you keep your real equilibrium and real values?
Well, it has nothing to do with vanity, real values, you know? If it is, they are not in my life, if vanity is one of your values. There is certainly an important aspect as an actor, but not to where it gets in the way of storytelling as a job in promoting a movie, you don't want to be getting off the plane after seventeen hours with dark circles and looking like you just smoked a crack pipe, because you have been traveling so much. Yeah, you want to be presentable, and there's a vanity that comes with the job. But never in my mind should vanity be in the way of performance, that's a whole other thing. And it doesn't really have a place for me in my life, as a person in my personal life. But yeah, on the press side of it, you are selling something, you don't want to (laughs) you don't want an old, wilted banana, if you are trying to sell some bananas, (laughter) it's just common sense. You are trying to sell something.
Q: A lot of physical parts. Do you have to work out a lot?
Well for the last four movies I had to train a bit, kind of help me get better for the next movie, and certainly, I haven't worked out in three or four months, and it feels good. (laughs)
Q: And how has your life and career changed since The Avengers? Your face is on lunchboxes. Right, right. It's weird. (laughter) To even have an action figure, that's creepy even. But what's really great about it is that you have little kids come up, and I never thought I'd have fans that were little kids. I've always done movies that were kind of intense with heavy content, and to do a movie where you have little kids running around a backyard with whole cans and bow and arrows and shooting each other, having a lot of fun. It's like, really cool man. It's a totally different feeling, because kids eyes are so bright and it's lovely.
Q: Are you competitive?
I used to be really competitive in sports, but more competitive with myself. I played a lot of sports, especially when I was a bowler. I only competed against myself, I guess, when you play tennis you try to beat your opponent, but I skied a lot, and you are skiing against your own time, not skiing against anybody else really. So, I am more competitive with myself. It's not about beating anybody or being faster than anybody or better than anybody, I just want to be the best I can be. That's it.