- Published: Monday, 25 November 2013 03:49
- Written by coolshades
The intensely handsome Renner has been hoping for a breakout role and playing a risk-taking bomb disposal technician in a searing Iraq war drama might be his chance.
Jeremy Renner sizzles as Staff Sergeant William James in The Hurt Locker, and the role has already earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. The handsome Renner has been hoping to break out after strong performances in films like The Assassination of Jesse James and North Country, not to mention a chilling turn as the cannibalistic serial killer in Dahmer.
Playing a risk-taking bomb disposal technician in Kathryn Bigelow’s searing Iraq war drama might be his chance at becoming a household name. Parade.com’s Jeanne Wolf discovered that Renner got a short course in the reality of war in the Middle East.
It’s only a movie but…
“I was just some jerk-ass actor pretending I was a soldier, but I felt it. And you’re going to feel like you’ve been in Iraq because it’s almost like a documentary. It was 125 degrees, and there was no escaping the sun because there was no shade, but plenty of sand storms. We had, like, one outdoor toilet for a whole cast and crew suffering from diarrhea. You don’t prepare for that; you just try to deal with it. It’s really an $80 million movie shot for like $11 million. So we were shoe-stringing it, but I think that added to the realism.”
Not your usual Hollywood backlot.
“The chaos was a little real sometimes, even when we weren’t filming. We sort of took over a Jordanian village as our set. We’d be walking around and there were occasional two-by-fours with nails being dropped from four story buildings that hit me. And some rocks were thrown. Fortunately, I was wearing a helmet. I think most of it was just kids fooling around. But you always wonder how far it could go.”
Getting up close and personal with a bomb.
“I didn’t fear for life. I was just an actor. I could never have the courage to dismantle a live IED. But I knew the real bomb squad experts who trained me were watching. So this is what was going on in my head. I’m like, ‘Oh they’re going to kill me because they know I’m messing up and not doing it right. I’ll do it anyway. I’m in a bomb suit. I’m hot. I’m dying. I’ll cut the wire.’”
Feeling some big bangs.
“It definitely put everything in perspective for me because you can talk about an explosion, but it’s nothing like being near one. To actually feel the pressure of it was something else. You realize the havoc one bomb can wreak.”
Taking chances to get the job done.
“There’s quite a bit of me in this character, who some people will see as reckless. I definitely wouldn’t have his courage, but I do have the same sort of philosophy, which I see as being a man of action. When you come up against obstacles, how do you deal with them successfully? Do you suck your thumb or do you climb over them and knock them down? There are thousands of solutions to problems. Give me solutions and don’t focus on the problems.”
Bonding with female filmmakers.
“Niki Caro, Catherine Hardwicke and Kathryn Bigelow — that’s a handful of phenomenal directors that I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with. I’m a big proponent of powerful women and women in power. I grew up with a strong mother and strong sister. The women in my family are very powerful. So I do anything I can to support that quality in them. Do I think women as directors are better or worse or equal? I think they’re more emotionally acutely aware, in some aspects. But the common thread with all three that I worked with is what they gave me — the gift of trust.”
The curse of Jeffrey Dahmer
“After I did the film, playing a guy who was basically a monster, things started getting creepy. My cat was stolen. Then some girl bit me in a bar because I wasn’t paying attention to her anymore and I had to go to the hospital. It kept me single for a while, that’s for sure. Lot of people I wanted to date, but people I probably shouldn’t date.”
Getting out of the hurt locker.
“The bomb squad refers to the hurt locker as the place they end up if they screw up. But when I came home, I was in a kind of spiritual hurt locker for three months. It wasn’t easy to readjust to L.A., where people are complaining about things that seem pretty inconsequential. I came away with a respect for a part of the world that I knew nothing about. It’s those things, like the Middle East, that we don’t know, that scare us the most.”
His glamorous actor’s life.
“I’m single. I don’t have a family and I would like to. I’m 38, and I’m still surfing on couches. I guess you wouldn’t call these high-class problems, mind you, but I’ve given up some things to have the life that I have now.”