Jeremy Renner on Making It: “I worried that, if I was slinging lattes, it would take away from all the time it took for me to work on my own journey”
If nothing else, Jeremy Renner has ensured his future job security by becoming the ultimate franchise player: not only is Renner taking over the Jason Bourne franchise in The Bourne Legacy, Renner also is also now a key piece of the Mission: Impossible and The Avengers franchises. Renner has since become a familiar face in action films, something he wasn’t known for when he became famous from his role in The Hurt Locker.
It’s certainly an unpredictable career shift for the twice Oscar-nominated actor, but Renner’s entire career trajectory has been unpredictable. The 41 year-old Renner didn’t get involved in acting until he was studying psychology at Modesto Junior College and then headed south to Hollywood. There he forced himself to live on $5 a week for food and lived by candlelight to cut down on his electric bills. Though Renner could have gotten a part-time job to help fill his stomach and get the lights on, he admits that he didn’t out of a sense of pride of being an actor.
He explains, “I felt like I was an actor if all I did for money was act. I’m stubborn, self-righteous and tenacious. I worried that, if I was slinging lattes, it would take away from all the time it took for me to work on my own journey. . . . I gave myself 11 years to make it as an actor.”
But Renner didn’t need those eleven years: in eighteen months he had pushed himself into a role. He says, “I needed to be in a movie. It had to be a big enough movie to play in my small town of Modesto. And it had to be a part that was big enough that I wouldn’t have to tell my family, ‘I’m the guy in the background waving.’ I got that with my first film job — National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995). It was a silly movie, but at the time it meant the world to me.”