- Category: Articles
By Ben Classen
There are certain craftsmen that, upon meeting them, it becomes so apparent that they are in the process of perfecting the gift they bring to the world, that you have to just stand and watch. Jeremy Renner is an actor who places himself in the throes of what needs to be delivered in order to communicate the message that fits the story best. He is a craftsman. His focus and dedication to it are clear from the first impression.
Our cover shoot took place in an amazing studio warehouse location in Los Angeles. It was warm. Not LA hot yet, but warm enough that everyone had a slight sheen on their foreheads and was moving with efficient intention so we could all retire to air conditioning at the earliest convenience. There was only one man in the room who didn't seem to sweat.
Mr. Renner was gliding to and from each look and outfit with hawk-like focus. He gave his feedback, and took his place. He moved with awareness only applied with years of practice and dedication to his work. You know that kind of breed when you see it. It's the horse that bites down just a little harder before the gates open, and that's what I found in Jeremy. An industry veteran who lowers his shoulder into everything he does with a smirk on his face. In between takes, Jeremy sat down at an old piano used as a prop, in a huge studio warehouse, and began to play. His talent shows itself here too. He sang to himself, and by default, us as well, though he didn't seem to pay us any mind as he ran through two songs, with his raspy voice reaching the far corner of the empty building and bouncing back to us. It's not easy on a long day of shooting, wearing wool suits, thick trench coats, and climbing stairs, to keep total composure, and he manages to, time and time again. Year after year.
He's been climbing the wrungs of the film industry ladder since the mid-90s with incredible consistency. He is the steady hand on the even keel. With work in massive franchises and smash hits, including Marvel's Avengers, Hurt Locker, and The Town, his delivery is only becoming sharper as he looks forward. As I spoke with him, he had just wrapped his latest role on Wind River, a role that has him starring as a game tracker who pairs with the FBI to track down the murder suspect of a young girl on a remote Native American reservation, due for release this Fall. It's a tough-guy role, a solemn character with a lot to tell, but little desire to share it. To find out more you'll just have to catch it in theaters. We sat down with Jeremy to talk about this project, and about life, fear, family, and priorities.
LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR MUSIC . . .
I've been playing for a long time but I haven't recorded anything until the last three years or so. It's something I've done my whole life.
HAVE YOU RELEASED ANYTHING?
No, I've been kinda quiet about it until I decide what to do with it exactly. It's a great thing aside from acting that keeps me close to home and close to my daughter.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT TOURING ON IT AT ALL?
That's really a cart before the horse thing. I don't want to really do anything with it until I know exactly what I want to do with it. I wouldn't tour with it unless I felt people wanted to hear it and I wouldn't know that unless I toured with it so I'm taking it one step at a time and making movies for now.
LET'S TALK ABOUT YOUR NEW FILM, WIND RIVER. HOW WAS THE FILMING AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROCESS FOR THIS FILM?
It was a great set experience, really. It was super cold, we filmed mostly near Park City in the mountains around there. When I finally read the script, there was no way I could say no.
WHAT ABOUT THE SCRIPT JUMPED OUT TO YOU?
This script was really sparse and character driven. It was really unapologetic and honest and accessible. It had so many rich characters in a really fresh and rich world. The character was something I thought would be challenging for me as well. There's a lot that's unspoken and a kind of carrying the weight of the world type energy in this character. He has a lot inside that he wants to express but there's a task at hand. The trick was that I had to have all these feelings and emotions the character was experiencing inside but couldn't say then continue with the role without saying any of it. He was like a barrel holding water that would eventually start leaking. Like a slow burn inside.
YOU ARE KNOWN TO BE REALLY STEADY. DO YOU IDENTIFY WITH THAT TERM "SLOW BURN"?
Yeah definitely. I put a lot of myself into these characters but you're not going to see me reacting to too many things in a big way. I try to look at things a little differently and just problem solve. This character had a lot of things I connected with that I had going on in my own life. Things related to being a parent of a four year old, and being the oldest of seven kids, amongst other aspects of my life. A lot of that energy I put into the character and explore it.
WITH REGARDS TO BEING A PARENT TO A LITTLE GIRL, WHAT IMPRESSION DO YOU WANT TO LEAVE YOUR DAUGHTER?
I think my job as a father is make it impossible for her to find the version of a man that I will show her. That's my job every day. To be consistent, like the stone in the garden. Sometimes it sucks to be the stone but you need to be there. I want to impart self-assuredness, confidence. How to find beauty in herself and how to problem solve and overcome things. I'm not always going to be there so I want to make sure she's able to handle things on her own as well. Whether or not she ends up being a mini-me or not, that's just my ego, I want her to realize who she really is. I want to put her in front of things and have the experience where she has to make decisions. I want her to experience adversity because I think struggle is so important. I want to show her unconditional love and support as well. Growing up I knew that no matter what my parents would love me and support me, even if they didn't completely understand what acting was, I knew they had my back.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FAILURE? SOMETHING THAT YOU KNEW FROM THAT POINT ON YOU'D NEED TO DUST YOURSELF OFF AND YOU VIEWED LIFE DIFFERENTLY?
I don't know that I had a single event that I could say that about. I can definitely think of some really good times and some really bad times. The biggest thing for me has been overcoming fear. That's something I work on all the time and really big in my life. That's been something really big in my life, going through the process of doing something when I feel fear. I don't focus on failures, I don't even think about it. I just move forward and work on doing better every time in everything I do.
LET'S TALK ABOUT MOTORCYCLES. WHAT ABOUT THEM IS SO APPEALING?
Yeah that's something I really love doing. Being inside a helmet and out on the road is something that's just so peaceful. I don't get to do it as much as I'd like but I really enjoy it. I have a Norton Commando, a Triumph Speed Triple, a Triumph Thruxton, and a Zero electric dirt bike which is so fun. I love all bikes. I have a property up in Lake Tahoe and it's great having all the snow toys and dirt toys up there. I've tried to buy things I thought would make great financial investments, and aside from one bike, the rest have just been more for mental health haha. I didn't even buy a new car until I was about 41 or 42 because cars are just shitty investments most of the time.
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK STYLE IS TO A MAN?
Personally, I think it's really important. I think practical style is important. The easier the better but that also doesn't mean doing nothing. I dress in a very straightforward way. Some jeans, a t-shirt, comfortable shoes, and outerwear. I love outerwear and having a great jacket. I approach it with an almost military-esque angle. As long as your style tells the world about who you really are, it's important.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?
After Wind River I'm working on a film with Jon Hamm rooted around friendships, it's based on a true story, of three guys who never really wanted to break up the band so every year, for a month, they play no holds barred tag. It gets pretty out of hand since they're adults now and it will make for a really funny comedy. They started when they were kids and they still do it until today. It's a really funny script. After that I'm going right into Avengers 4 so the rest of the year looks pretty busy. From there I'm focusing on being close to my daughter as much as possible and watching her grow.
Source: Summer 2017 Issue of Nobleman Magazine. It can be purchased HERE.