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Bourne Legacy actor Jeremy Renner talks about being an action star and limitations of his role in The Avengers

Aug. 8, 2012by: Paul Shirey
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In an interview with Hero Complex, THE BOURNE LEGACY actor Jeremy Renner talked at length about his newfound role as an action star and commented on the limitations he faced in playing Hawkeye in THE AVENGERS.  There's a lot of great bits where Renner discusses the dynamic roles he's now being offered and how that differs from his indie roots.  Probably the most interesting is his commentary on his role as Clint Barton/Hawkeye in THE AVENGERS, which seemed to present some disappointment for the actor, even if he remains pleased with the role.

Check out the highlights below:

On the fun of shooting big-budget action pics:

They’re all different movies and exciting in different ways. Like “Hansel and Gretel,” I thought was really original content, a really original look and spin on that fairy tale. I’ve seen that one, and it is a lot of fun. It’s like “The Avengers” in a way. It’s the type of cinema where you go in, and you just get entertained, and you come out open-smiling and thinking, “That was a really great experience.” I’m not used to doing that kind of cinema. Usually it’s a little bit more emotional or psychological or something, so I try not to have too much expectation out of that. It’s OK to just go be entertained. That’s what I’m learning, because I haven’t really been a part of that for the last 25 years of my career. … “Hansel and Gretel” I think is also one of those things. It’s a bit darker, and it’s R-rated, and it’s not quite as light as “The Avengers,” and then “Bourne” had that blend.

On advice from Tom Cruise:

And then starting off doing the big action movie with Tom Cruise — he was such an amazing mentor to me, and just so supportive and being so excited that I was doing some of these things. He gave me some really great advice about how to treat your body, essentially, how to take care of yourself.  I’d always been an athlete and physical, but he turned it into a whole ‘nother thing about how seriously important it is that you don’t want to get injured. So he got me really headstrong about taking care of my body.

On playing two sides to Hawkeye:

At the end of the day, 90% of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play. I’m literally in there for two minutes, and then all of a sudden… All I could really work on was the physical part of it all, because that didn’t change. That was just the biggest challenge to overcome in playing the guy. Also, we’re pretty much introducing a new superhero character to everyone in a movie where there’s a thousand superheroes. So there’s not a lot of back story or understanding we can really tell about who Clint Barton is, or Hawkeye, and is he working for SHIELD or not. There’s a lot of unanswered questions, even for me. And I was OK with that. At least I was still in the movie. And I was glad for that.

On whether he preferred playing "good" or "evil" Hawkeye:

I prefer the good, because if we go to the evil part, or hypnotized or whatever the heck you want to call it, it’s kind of a vacancy. Not even a bad guy, because there’s not really a consciousness to him. The interesting part was being guilty about the bad things I did do when I was hypnotized. I think he’s already an interesting enough character. To really kind of take away who that character is and just have him be this sort of robot, essentially, and have him be this minion for evil that Loki uses. Again, I could just focus on the task. I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. So yeah, fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No. That doesn’t exist in that time [that he's hypnotized]. It happens to be for most of the movie.

On disappointment with the role:

You know, there are a lot of people in that movie. And a lot of important characters. And my character, I felt like if I can help serve story, then I did my job.

On his upcoming film with director James Gray, co-starring Joaquin Phoenix, Rachel Weisz, and Marrion Cotillard:

It’s a beautiful story about the early 1900s in America when all the immigrants were coming through Ellis Island. Marion plays the immigrant, and she sort of gets sold out or pimped out by Joaquin’s character. It’s a terrible way to describe it, but in the simplest way, it’s about a pimp, a whore and a magician. But it’s a little bit more complex than that.

Some interesting perspective from the actor for sure.  I don't fault the guy at all for being a little underwhelmed with playing Hawkeye as a villain for half the film, but part of that is why the film works as well as it does.  Hawkeye being manipulated like that fits perfectly into a comic book film, one which doesn't waste time with oodles of backstory.  One of the biggest strengths of THE AVENGERS, for me, was that it got down to business pretty quick.  For the full interview, click here.

Renner has got a healthy slate of pics on the way, with THE BOURNE LEGACY being released this week, HANSEL AND GRETEL gearing up for a 2013 release, the David O. Russell film, formerly titled AMERICAN BULLSHIT, and the untitled James Gray pic, not to mention the possibility of reprising his role for another MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE.

A busy man indeed.

Extra Tidbit: Do you think Hawkeye is a strong enough character to carry his own film?
Source: Hero Complex

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12:41AM on 08/09/2012
He was very good in The Bourne Legacy, you could see he was trying hard to make the Aaron Cross character his own thing and distinct from Damon's Bourne. It was also fun to see Hawkeye pitted against the (other) Incredible Hulk, and running around with the real-life wife of the current James Bond.
He was very good in The Bourne Legacy, you could see he was trying hard to make the Aaron Cross character his own thing and distinct from Damon's Bourne. It was also fun to see Hawkeye pitted against the (other) Incredible Hulk, and running around with the real-life wife of the current James Bond.
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10:56PM on 08/08/2012

More Hawkeye, More Renner

I've followed Renner since S.W.A.T. and Dahmer and it's cool to see him get his due. The dude has a pretty remarkable track record between MI:IV, Avengers, Hurt Locker (where I thought he was starting to get typecast as a military type), The Town (unreal!)...I personally would like to see a Hawkeye origin story and maybe how he starts out with S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm sure Marvel can figure out a way to make it happen...
I've followed Renner since S.W.A.T. and Dahmer and it's cool to see him get his due. The dude has a pretty remarkable track record between MI:IV, Avengers, Hurt Locker (where I thought he was starting to get typecast as a military type), The Town (unreal!)...I personally would like to see a Hawkeye origin story and maybe how he starts out with S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm sure Marvel can figure out a way to make it happen...
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10:53PM on 08/08/2012

More Hawkeye, More Renner

I've followed Renner since S.W.A.T. and Dahmer and it's cool to see him get his due. The dude has a pretty remarkable track record between MI:IV, Avengers, Hurt Locker (where I thought he was starting to get typecast as a military type), The Town (unreal!)...I personally would like to see a Hawkeye origin story and maybe how he starts out with S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm sure Marvel can figure out a way to make it happen...
I've followed Renner since S.W.A.T. and Dahmer and it's cool to see him get his due. The dude has a pretty remarkable track record between MI:IV, Avengers, Hurt Locker (where I thought he was starting to get typecast as a military type), The Town (unreal!)...I personally would like to see a Hawkeye origin story and maybe how he starts out with S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm sure Marvel can figure out a way to make it happen...
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8:07PM on 08/08/2012

Hawkeye was awesome

I think it was a great idea to make Hawkeye a Loki drone early in the movie, it gave him a lot more screentime that he would have as a hero.. Because frankly there wasn't much space for Hawkeye as a hero in the first half of the movie.. Mr. Renner was awesome in the role and it was great to see him in action in the big finale.
I think it was a great idea to make Hawkeye a Loki drone early in the movie, it gave him a lot more screentime that he would have as a hero.. Because frankly there wasn't much space for Hawkeye as a hero in the first half of the movie.. Mr. Renner was awesome in the role and it was great to see him in action in the big finale.
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5:25PM on 08/08/2012
Jeremy Renner is one of the few actors that can make me see a movie, regardless of the plot. I think what they did with Hawkeye was smart. It brought focus to his character right away, because i know there are some people who probably didn't recognize that he was in Thor for a brief moment. As for a solo film, maybe but Hawkeye is better off being a big part of a SHEILD movie with Black Widow.
Jeremy Renner is one of the few actors that can make me see a movie, regardless of the plot. I think what they did with Hawkeye was smart. It brought focus to his character right away, because i know there are some people who probably didn't recognize that he was in Thor for a brief moment. As for a solo film, maybe but Hawkeye is better off being a big part of a SHEILD movie with Black Widow.
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10:56PM on 08/08/2012
Which is saying a lot in this day and age...also how he's consistently climbed the ladder and finally arrived as an actor in his 40's not names Pitt or well, used to be Cruise and Clooney...gives us middle aged guys a fighting chance against tools like Lautner, and Tatum (ok, so I've started to like Tatum a bit, 21 Jump was hilarious)
Which is saying a lot in this day and age...also how he's consistently climbed the ladder and finally arrived as an actor in his 40's not names Pitt or well, used to be Cruise and Clooney...gives us middle aged guys a fighting chance against tools like Lautner, and Tatum (ok, so I've started to like Tatum a bit, 21 Jump was hilarious)
4:19PM on 08/08/2012
Respect for this man, and even though Damon isn't back for Bourne, Legacy will serve a great addition due to the fact that Renner will take the spin-off very seriously.
Respect for this man, and even though Damon isn't back for Bourne, Legacy will serve a great addition due to the fact that Renner will take the spin-off very seriously.
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2:57PM on 08/08/2012
Hell yes, give us a film with him and Black Widow at least.
Hell yes, give us a film with him and Black Widow at least.
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