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Jeremy Renner
Photograph: Mary CybulskiJeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

The Hot Seat: The Bourne Legacy's Jeremy Renner

The Bourne Legacy star Jeremy Renner chats with us about his most ass-kicking (and biggest) role yet.


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TONY: You’re taking over as the hero of the Bourne series. How intimidated were you when you found out you got the part?
Jeremy Renner: The only thing that gave me pause was thinking about what that movie might do to my personal life. Otherwise, I feel like the larger the role is, the easier [it is] to carve out a three-dimensional character. So I don’t look at it from a standpoint like, Oh, I’m the face of this franchise; I gotta take over. It’s, I have page 1 to page 120.

TONY: How do you plan to keep your private life private going forward?
Jeremy Renner: I’m totally open and available to [have a conversation with] anybody about movies, about work. Anything else, you’re going to get a very, very select version of me. ’Cause it’s not your business. It’s no one’s business what happened at my birthday party; it’s nobody’s business who I’m sitting with unless I’m sitting with you. But it’s a blessed thing to be more known. That’s one of the reasons to do a big movie, so then you can continue to do smaller movies. Maybe [then] it’s a little easier to get those made.

TONY: What attracted you to the role of Aaron Cross in The Bourne Legacy?
Jeremy Renner: It’s reminiscent of movies that I’m a big fan of, like The French Connection. When [a film] is authentic and real, and there’s time spent with a character, you give a shit about someone who’s in that car racing around the city streets. It’s not just a great car chase; you care about the people inside. The character becomes more important than anything else.

TONY: Did you perform your own stunts?
Jeremy Renner: Ninety-nine percent of them, yeah. There were a few motorcycle stunts I couldn’t do.

TONY: That sounds exhausting.
Jeremy Renner: Every day was physically challenging, but that made it very exciting to go to work. If I felt I could do something better, I would push to do it again. For instance, [in one scene] I’m running up the side of a house, up three stories and then into the house. It was a little bit trickier because it was one shot—no cuts, with the camera following me along. It had to be flawless through the whole thing. I think we ended up using the third take, even though I pushed myself to do 25.

TONY: I read that you’re a musician. Do you still play?
Jeremy Renner: I play with my buddy; he plays locally in town, in L.A. I’ll write with him, or I’ll bring an instrument on set or when I’m on location. But I don’t have time to commit to a band. I certainly still love that it’s a creative, artistic outlet for me that doesn’t require scripts or sets or anything else. You know, an instrument and me, and that’s it.

TONY: So breaking into that business isn’t something you’re interested in?
Jeremy Renner: It’s a tough gig, man. I have a lot of friends who are successful and still that [means] life on the road. Nowadays, you don’t have to get a record deal, ’cause that’s kind of old-school at this point. But you still have to go out and tour and play to do it for a living. And I would never want to be forced to write a song or an album or whatever, because it’s a much more personal thing for me.

TONY: You run a home-renovation business, correct?
Jeremy Renner: Yeah, yeah. Still doing it. Got a couple projects coming up. We’ve done Mediterranean, a lot of Spanish. There’s a midcentury one coming up, and we haven’t done a whole lot of those. We kind of have to learn as we go. Each house has its own set of challenges, and they’ve always gotten bigger and bigger. So there’s a trajectory with that as much as there’s one with acting for me.

The Bourne Legacy opens Friday August 10, 2012.

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