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Jeremy Renner: "I'm Like a Ninja" (USA Today)

XXX_JEREMY-RENNER-JY-3000-_67727556NEW YORK -- Jeremy Renner earned two back-to-back Oscar nominations, for The Hurt Locker and The Town. He has his own production company, The Combine, which is releasing its first film, the drama Kill the Messenger. He's currently shooting Mission: Impossible 5 with Tom Cruise, in Morocco. Life, one would assume, could not be sweeter.

Not quite. Sitting at the Greenwich Hotel, sipping a Woodford Reserve whiskey with one ice cube, Renner says he feels emotionally sucker-punched. His daughter Ava, 1, is on the opposite coast and he's desperate to see her.

"I'm so close to her right now. I'm in New York and she's in LA. I'm dying. It's been three weeks. The thing I love most in the world I have to sacrifice. Why did I miss her first birthday? She won't remember but I'll remember that," he says.

Renner, 43, says he has an end-goal in sight: he'd like to semi-retire by the time he's 50.

"By the time she starts school, I'll definitely be slowing down, doing one movie a year," he says. "It's easy to say no. She's number one and that's amazing. Thank you, Ava, for that. For the last Avengers, I said no. You have to make it worth my daughter's while."

Messenger (in theaters Friday) fell into that category. When he saw the script about investigative reporter Gary Webb and his series of articles linking the CIA to drug smuggling into the U.S., Renner was intrigued.

"I'm not one to make 'important' movies. Movies are meant to entertain. So I looked at this initially as a great character. I kept reading and finished the thing. It also represented the movies I wanted to be doing anyway, the Hurt Lockers, The Towns. It's our first movie out of the gate in our company. It all made sense," he says.

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Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb in 'Kill the Messenger'(Photo: Chuck Zlotnick, Focus Features)

The film also made him appreciate that despite the pervasive and often offensive nature of the tabloid media, many reporters are just doing their jobs . But it didn't make newlywed Renner any more open.

"I'm like a ninja. What do you know about me? Nothing," says Renner. "And now I joined social media which makes me even more vulnerable. But I don't show anything. Personal is personal. It was different when it was myself and I to deal with. I didn't have to worry about too many things. I have a family now. I worry about my family being affected by my plight. I won't be able to live a normal life, but at least my family can. I'm very protective. I want to keep my life as anonymous as possible."

Still, he can't help gushing about his daughter, who is walking and talking. Without her, Renner feels like a cake minus the frosting.

"I spoil her, but I make her work. ... Hard shell. Soft center," smiles Renner. "You're hungry? You need to learn to say you're hungry. I don't respond to 'eh eh eh.' She needs to earn things. Things didn't just come to me. I earned (my career). I really appreciate it. There's so much value in this entire experience for me."

He leans back, takes a sip of whiskey, a chagrined smile on his face. "And my daughter wiped all that away for me. I thought I couldn't be happier -- and now that means hardly anything compared to what my daughter means to me."

Source: usatoday.com

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