December 14, 2015 -- 49ers Diehard, Actor Jeremy Renner Part of SF-Cowboys Film (

Jeremy Renner visited the 49ers locker room after a season-opening win over the Vikings. Photo: Terrell Lloyd / Photo © Terrell Lloyd

Photo: Terrell Lloyd


Two years ago, Jeremy Renner faced a dilemma.

His beloved 49ers were in the fourth quarter of a tight game with the hated Seahawks, but the two-time Academy Award nominee was due on the red carpet for the premiere of “American Hustle.”

The solution? Mix pleasure with business.

“I had the iPad,” Renner said. “I had to watch this game. It was like the last three or four minutes. I said ‘Screw it. I’m taking the iPad on the red carpet to watch this game. I’ve got to finish this thing.’”

Yes, Renner, a Modesto native, is a devoted fan, which explains his involvement in a two-part film examining the rivalry between the 49ers and Cowboys. The first installment of “A Tale of Two Cities” will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday on NFL Network. The second part will air Saturday night following the Cowboys-Jets game.

Renner and another actor, Sam Elliott, are narrators for a film that details the rivalry between two prominent franchises that reside in cities with stark cultural differences. Two other high-profile 49ers fans - former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and comedian Rob Schneider - also appear in the film.

“A lot of it is about why the two teams hated each other,” Renner said in a phone interview. “And you only hate someone because they’re so good.”

Renner, 44, began following the 49ers when he was 8, roughly the same time they went from patsy to power and won their first Super Bowl in January 1982 (“It was pretty good timing,” he said). He now lives in the Lake Tahoe area and Los Angeles, which he notes allows him to get the Bay Area for 49ers’ games on 45-minute flights. He’s attended three home games this season.

“It’s just more fun when there’s a victory because then you go in the locker room and talk to the players,” Renner said. “The last thing you want to do is go in there after a terrible loss. Nobody wants to talk to me after a spanking.”

Last year, Renner’s production company, The Combine, produced a brief documentary that appeared on the team’s web site in advance of the 49ers’ first regular-season game at Levi’s Stadium.

This season, of course, there haven’t been many memorable moments to document. On Saturday, before the 49ers fell 4-9 with a 24-10 loss to the Browns, Renner said he was keeping the faith, although it “broke his heart” to see one of his favorite players, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, struggle this season.

“We’ve just got to start putting some wins together and getting some consistency and momentum,” Renner said. “I think part of what’s missing is an emotional self-belief that they can do that. I think there’s talent there. There’s just a few key positions where we’re lacking.”