By Fred Topel
Hand-to-hand combat, withstanding freezing temperatures and partying with Matt Damon prior to production.
We’ve talked to Jeremy Renner a lot in the last year, for Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and The Avengers. This was the first time he was talking specifically about The Bourne Legacy. Renner plays agent Aaron Cross, another Treadstone agent we never knew about when we were following Jason Bourne’s adventures. Renner spoke about his role in the franchise in a press conference with reporters.
Jeremy Renner on the hand-to-hand combat in Bourne vs MI4 and Avengers.
Jeremy Renner: I think the difficulties every day were always the same. Difficult. There’s really no difference. It’s just a challenge, a different set of circumstances. I was lucky enough to have, as you say, MI4 and The Avengers. The same guys I worked with on that came onto Bourne 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.
Jeremy Renner on Aaron Cross teaming up with Jason Bourne in Part 5.
As far as the future, I’m excited that the architects and the creators behind this whole thing have cleverly left it wide open for fans like myself wondering what the heck is going to go on next.
We ask if it helped Renner with the character that Aaron Cross is trying to remain an agent whereas Jason Bourne wanted out.
Well, I don’t start off by figuring out the character by comparing it to another character. I look at page 1 to page 120 and then go over all the circumstances with Tony [Gilroy] and figure it out from there. But yeah, what was very exciting to me is that it’s a new palette of colors and a new canvas to paint upon with these circumstances of being willing. I feel connected to that idea of wanting to belong to something, to have a sense of purpose as a man on the planet. I think most people do and that’s what I initially connected to: a guy that really wanted to belong whether it was in the military or then signing up for a program to feel like you’re doing some sort of good on the planet.
Jeremy Renner on the biggest challenges of The Bourne Legacy
Not getting hurt. Pretty much I can’t get injured. I was wanting to do as much as I possibly could because of the responsibility for the authenticity of the three films prior. It would do a great injustice and disservice to this film if I could not perform what was required. I like those challenges and I like those physical obstacles. Outside of that, it’s a job. I go from page 1 to page 120 with a tremendous director and cast and writing and it’s exciting to go to work.
Jeremy Renner’s biggest injuries on The Bourne Legacy
I hurt my feelings here and there. I got banged up a little bit. But if you don’t get banged up, you’re not working hard enough in my mind. But I never got injured to where it stopped me from doing what I needed to do.
Jeremy Renner on working in the snow
I think it was for everybody. I mean, cold is cold no matter if you’re holding the camera or if you’re in front of it. You don’t ask for that sort of physical torture but it’s certainly very telling and makes it maybe even easier to play because it’s part of the scenes. We weren’t shooting in the Rockies and pretending it was summer. It was cold and 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 think “Oh yeah, it’s not cold.” But I’m freezing. I can’t be freezing. But yeah, it’s another one of those challenges that you have to overcome. It wasn’t easy but it was beautiful. It became a character in itself, I think.
Jeremy Renner did not consult Matt Damon or vice versa
No, we didn’t reach out to each other at all and never spoke really creatively about it. Only inadvertently, I sort of ran into him. I’ve known him for years, but I just inadvertently ran into him before we started and more just had a good time at a birthday party. That was about it.
Jeremy Renner on the workload of a Bourne movie
It’s like running downhill, I suppose. That’s what it felt like, just running downhill. My personal workload I felt was minimal compared to the entire process of filmmaking. But for me, it was getting enough sleep and being physically adept enough to be able to perform when I needed to perform. That was it. Every day, I was fighting, training, stretching, whatever I had to do to get through the day. It was basic. It was sleep, eat, here’s food, here’s water, now go do this. Those are really the treats when you have moments like I had with Edward [Norton] in our one little exchange and then I had a handful of them with Rachel [Weisz.] Those are like the little treats along the way that kept me going through the really physical part of the movie.
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