December 1, 2011 -- Talking "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" with Jeremy Renner (

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” wont be in theaters until December 21st and Jeremy Renner isn’t too worried about it. Recently at a press junket I interviewed Jeremy in regards to his new role in this million dollar franchise. Jeremy plays agent William Brandt, a desk jockey with little field experience, or so we think who squares off with Ethan through the course of the film. At least that’s the impression we get from the trailer. Instead of screening the film for the press we were treated to six scenes, approximately 30 minutes of the film in IMAX, which was impressive. When it comes to story line, well I’m pretty much in the dark too. Although the IMAX scenes were incredible and well executed, it’s almost the only way to see this film.

Fernando Esquivel from spoke to Jeremy about entering this franchise, doing stunt work, how life has changes since “The Hurt Locker”, and about his upcoming projects “The Avengers” and “The Bourne Legacy”, check it out.


Since your character is sort of the new team member who thinks all of this IMF stuff is kind of crazy is that a fun position to be in, to always be getting in Ethan Hunt’s face and have everything explained?

JEREMY RENNER: Well, I mean, it was fun to play the character. It is a slightly different approach, because I had no more information than you do at this point. You saw 20 minutes or so, right? It was a gray, sort of complex character to jump into and nothing is as it seems in a spy movie and this certainly delivers that.


Is that more the appeal, the opportunity to do something duplicitous, that you could go either way?

JEREMY RENNER: Yeah. I mean, I’m attracted to those kind of roles, that you could be good or you could be bad, and you just don’t know. I guess I just have one of those arresting faces that look like I want to beat you up or something. I don’t know if [LAUGHTER] or whatever it is, but yeah, I mean, I like those parts.

Is it comforting to sort of walk into a franchise that has an established lead? Does that give you an advantage, or is there a challenge in sort of distinguishing yourself when he’s leading the charge?

JEREMY RENNER: No I think it’s great to be part of a franchise that is successful, because there’s been a continuation of the people who see it. That’s kind of nice to be a part of a world stage, a movie gets all around the world and you know that, because 80% of the movies I’ve done, nobody’s seen. So going into that’s pretty exciting. And getting the opportunity to work with Tom is really exciting.


Given the fact that each of these films is kind of independent of one another and you have a new director with Brad Bird, did you guys feel like you had to take a crash course in what these movies are what’s involved in these movies? Or were you guys sort of creating from the ground up, your own thing?

JEREMY RENNER: You know I was a fan of the franchise to begin with. And so I was very aware of everything and then re-watching it all again was informative and now I’m part of it. But you know, like you said they’re all very separate movies. Tom never wanted to do a franchise or to do a sequel to any movie, and he hasn’t, except for “Mission”, which is his baby. He’s always had directors come on that had a very specific sort of vision for it that keep them kind of separate, as movies on their own, stand-alone movies, that if you didn’t see the first two the third one still makes sense and the only through line is Tom’s character for the most part. There’s been characters that have trickled in and out, but with this one having Brad come in and have his sort of slant with the gadgets and the attention to detail and character, which brings tension and cutting tension with comedy; and you have Simon Pegg there for that which is awesome. Brad Bird is all over this movie and if you’ve seen “The Incredibles” or any of those movies you definitely see that in this.


We just saw a part of the movie but we want to know what will happen with your character?

JEREMY RENNER: [LAUGHTER] Well I can’t that’s giving away the movie. I’m not going to tell you if I live or die, if I’m good or bad. It might create more questions than answers for you. But that’s what the character is you know, it’s one of those hinge/fringe characters you’re not sure what’s gonna happen and that was the attraction for me. I can tell you that Will Brandt is a Chief Analyst for the IMF, the right hand man to the Secretary, which is always the voice, now a face finally in this movie played by Tom Wilkinson. He hands out all the missions. I’m a sort of buttoned up, sort of desk jockey that gets thrown into the mix of Ethan Hunt and two other agents, Paula Patton’s and Simon Pegg’s characters. And instead of having a mission dished out it and because of circumstances we’re thrown together and have to be together. It doesn’t mean we like each other, but we have to unite and to overcome certain obstacles. Then within that spectacle of action and mission stuff there’s an interesting character. You will see all four characters are very strong archetypes and how they play off each other is Brad Bird’s strong suit.


Tom is known for his enthusiasm and for doing his own stunts. Are you that way, as well?

JEREMY RENNER: Umm, I don’t know, I mean, yes I’m enthusiastic about it. If it’s required of me to do it, i’ll do it, I’m attracted to challenges. There’s a great physical challenge in doing stunts. Also, there’s no ticket you can buy for that ride, people don’t get that opportunity. So yeah, that’s exciting and if it serves the story and the character. I don’t want to just do a stunt just to do a stunt or to have fun, it just becomes sort of icing on the cake to help tell the story.


Even though you don’t get to be the guy out on the building ?



Definitely what’s it’s like to be up there in that room looking out the window and just be involved in that sequence?

JEREMY RENNER: It’s one of those things, if you get hit by a bus and you didn’t know it that’s one thing but if you see the bus coming and you get paralyzed and you can’t move, you just watch it come at you. Tom is out there running around doing his thing all over the building and we’re just standing there sort of by the edge and that is more terrifying. Once I hung out for 30 seconds and I near vomited, but then once that went away Tom was laughing and hanging upside down all red faced and he’s like, “Look at this view!” I’m like, “What are you talking about. I’m gonna vomit on you.” But once that went away he was right. It was like, “This is beautiful.” I mean it was fantastic.


How much physical stuff and training did you have to do?

JEREMY RENNER: I had a long curve to get ahead. After “The Town” I didn’t do anything physical; I didn’t break a sweat for a year until “Mission”. I had to make up for lost time and spend like five hours a day learning certain disciplines, like Moi Tai and Filipino stick fighting and all this sort of random stuff that I never thought I’d learn, which a blast. Then there’s stuff on a wire, you have to sort of prepare your body for, certain pick points and trigger points in your body. I know much more about my body than I ever wanted to.


Has this film kind of prepped you for the Bourne film?

JEREMY RENNER: Oh yeah, all of them, Tom has prepared me especially for “Bourne”, but all my future films, “Hansel and Gretel” and then “The Avengers” and now “Bourne”, for the sort of mental place to be, to know when you’re doing an action sequence. In any professional sport, in America at least, if you get injured or you hurt your knee or whatever second string comes in but it doesn’t happen on movies. So you can’t get injured. It’s sort of getting on this really great program to not be in shape, but to just prevent injuries. Tom introduced me to some really great physiotherapists and that sort of thing, to prepare my body for that sort of torture.


Was getting involved in three different franchises part of the plan?

JEREMY RENNER: I don’t know whose plan; maybe but not my plan. [LAUGHTER] But it just sort of happened to come that way.


And how do you deal with expectations when one, you have a comic book character who maybe everyone knows and now that you have a series that people know, but a new character they’re inventing for it?

JEREMY RENNER: Yeah, I don’t do well with expectation in my life or I certainly can’t think about it in other peoples’ lives. All I can do is do the best I can do, and I’m consciously aware, like specifically in the comic book world where there’s a built-in fan base to that. But there’s a little bit of leniency because there’s a couple different universes. There’s the Ultimates and then there’s the old school version. I wasn’t interested in wearing purple tights when I’m 50 so I love that they went the ultimates route. I wanted to serve the story and the script at hand that Josh Whedon wrote and not bring a bunch of baggage.


How is your life right now? Do you feel it’s different?

JEREMY RENNER: Umm, well, I’m not different, but a lot of things around me have shifted. Some in pretty, pretty great ways. Artistically, there’s a lot more opportunities; bigger opportunities, bigger meaning big directors that, you know, you love; or the quality of scripts the amount of scripts that sort of thing. And people just being aware of who you are all of a sudden. People that you think you know, like for instance some big movie star who all of a sudden says your name. That’s strange but really great.


Is continuing to do more independent projects something that’s important for you going forward in your career? I mean now that you know you’re a much bigger star and you’re attached to all these franchises.

JEREMY RENNER: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll never, never abandon completely the stage where I started, I’m actually trying to do that next year. I’ll see if I can manifest the energy to go and do that. It takes a lot out of you to do a stage play but I’d love to do that. I’d love to continue to do challenging material, I mean whatever shape or form that comes in. I want to not do anything I’ve done before. Now it’s action movies at this point but where it is after that, it has to have certain requirements for me to want to get up every morning and be happy to go to work, then I don’t care the size of the movie I just care about who I get to learn from.


Talking about your new projects you are filming “The Bourne Legacy”?

JEREMY RENNER: “Bourne Legacy”, I’m currently shooting, yes.


Could you share with us something about the project?

JEREMY RENNER: Yeah but I’m going to have to kill you because we’re in the middle of shooting it you know, I can’t say a whole lot about it. But what I can clarify that there’s been some confusion about, that I was taking over for Matt and there’s no taking over for Matt. Matt Damon will always be Jason Bourne to that franchise. But the writer is consistent through them all, the same writer, and he’s also our director on this one. For the fan base that likes that type of movie, it’ll be the continuity of that, the pace of it, the way it’s shot, just everything about it is a “Bourne” movie. There’s just going to be different faces. There’s going to be Ed Norton and Rachel Weiss which are some of the most talented actors out there. But it’ll be just a different program and different spies but I’ll have that same sort of pace to it.


Have you spoken to Matt?



And advice did he give you?

JEREMY RENNER: He’s such a coo, grounded guy. If anything, he said “Just listen to your guys that know what they’re doing.” He’s worked with Dan Bradley who did all the action on all the “Bourne” movies. He’s actually our Second Unit Director on “Mission”. So I was happy to know that he was part of this “Bourne” movie. If you’re doing action you’re working with Dan Bradley. He said ” just trust that guy.” I’m like, “Oh, yeah, perfect. You don’t have to tell me. I’ve already worked with him. He’s awesome.” So yeah, because he’s going to ask you to do some really terrifying things and you can just trust that it’s all right.


Are you are filming here in L.A.?

JEREMY RENNER: Oh, wow, no, I haven’t filmed in L.A. in geez since 2002. No we’re in New York, we just finished; we go to Calgary, and then we go to the Philippines.


And how long does the shoot go?

JEREMY RENNER: Until the end of February.


You were talking about sort of taking on different kinds of challenges. You’ve been talking about doing a James Gray project.

JEREMY RENNER: That actually is a great opportunity. I mean it’s an amazing story. But it’s James Gray man, and it’s Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix. I mean, again, some of the best talent out there. It’s not an action movie which is kind of at this point a nice thing; I can actually take a break on my body and just focus on just work and the character. It’s refreshing to work with that caliber of talent and really exciting, it’s a small role. It’s something we can shoot in a very short amount of time. There’s a pimp and a whore and a magician and I get to play the magician in a really cool early 1900’s immigration movie Ellis Island.


Do you have to be careful about the kinds of roles you take on?



After playing in “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town”

JEREMY RENNER: I think that’s where real life and cinema kind of blend for me. I like to play unpredictable characters, and I like to be unpredictable in what movie I’ll do. I don’t want to repeat anything and what the future holds, I don’t know. But that’s what I like, I’ll take any risks there is so I’m not concerned about what people think or what they want. What matters to me is learning and growing and getting to skip to work and do what I love to do. As long as I can do that, I’m happy.


Marvel has afforded a somewhat unique opportunity where you got to set up a character in someone else’s movie for a brief scene, and then really establish your own character. Is that a unique opportunity for an actor?

JEREMY RENNER: Umm, yeah, but it’s actually difficult because there’s not a lot to do, like say in “Thor” you just stand in a bucket and hold my bow and arrow. Well what’s the character? I have no idea. I was thrown into that very quickly . So it’s a little strange. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. I mean, I don’t think I’d go about it normally that way, but it was certainly a different way to kind of go about taking on a role.


Would you like to do a separate Hawkeye movie to explore the character deeper?

JEREMY RENNER: I don’t know there are a lot of variables in that one as if they’d want to make one what it would be about. There’s a lot of things, I suppose if they all aligned then it could be interesting because I certainly like the character. But I don’t know what the future holds.


Do you get the feel of an ensemble movie from “The Avengers” ?



I know it’s a huge.

JEREMY RENNER: Huge, I mean look at how many characters are in that thing. It was the ultimate challenge for Josh Whedon, who knows that universe so well no one better to write it. And he was so challenged to write and direct that thing. I don’t know how you put that many characters in a movie like that. It’s immense but you know, with that you have to sort of pass the baton. You get to work with very few of them, because everybody’s got their own thing kind of going on; someone’s in the air flying around; I’m on the ground shooting a bow and arrow and whatever there’s a lot of things happening. So I have no idea what that movie looks like. Most of the time I have a good idea of how it’s going to turn out because I’ve seen so much of it but this time I have no idea. I feel like I might be an extra in it; I’m not sure.


And how do you feel, being one of the Avengers?

JEREMY RENNER: You know it’s great, it’s an amazing cast and I wish I got to do more with them. But I had fun with the people I did get to work with.


Are you’re sort of involved in developing a Steve McQueen film?

JEREMY RENNER: Yeah involved in developing it. It happened because a script came around and they asked maybe if I wanted to look at it and potentially maybe play him. I thought, “Ah, it’s interesting.” And you know, obviously I loved his movies. I’ve seen probably like three of his movies. But then as it came around and I started to study him more and realized wow, what a dichotomy of a human being. He’s really, really interesting, outside of what most of us know him as. But he was also the most insecure guy that ever lived, that was really interesting to me. The script I felt was just sort of a retelling of what everybody already knows about him. I didn’t know a lot about him, but it’s retelling the things I knew about him. So I thought, that’s really kind of boring and didn’t do him justice. So that’s why we’re developing this thing from these images that I saw. For instance there’s a photo of him and a butcher in the shop and he’s bandaging up his hand and the movie set’s around the corner. He’s just preparing to do a stunt, or just did the stunt of the famous bike jump or whatever the heck it was. Everybody knows about that stunt so why talk about that? I want to know what that conversation was between that butcher and McQueen in that butcher shop. That’s more interesting to me and I think an inside sort of look into his life as a human being could be fascinating. So that’s what we’re exploring. James Gray is actually the one writing that.


So it would be more of a personal look at him than say a careerist view?

JEREMY RENNER: Yeah. I mean, you can’t avoid that, but I’d rather have that be the backdrop of his life, and to see what is it to walk into a room and everybody stares at you because they know exactly who you are. Not a lot of people know what that feels like. So let’s let people into that world. I think that’s interesting.


Is that still a daunting role to take on?

JEREMY RENNER: I don’t know. I haven’t seen the script. I’m already imaging it to be almost impossible, but you know I’d love to take on the challenge. It’d be an honor.


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