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  • - I don't know if I would say I'm a thrill seeker.

  • I'm always down to do some thrills.

  • I don't think I'm seeking it. [laughs]

  • I'm not actively getting up in the morning, cup of coffee,

  • "Let's go find some [beep] to jump off of."

  • [crew laughing]

  • That make sense?

  • I like challenges, that's for sure.

  • I'd definitely be more of a challenge seeker.

  • I love problems to overcome.

  • [cheerful music]

  • Hi, I'm Jeremy Renner and this is the timeline of my career.

  • For me, it's sort of dumb luck.

  • It was in college and took an acting class as an elective,

  • and that's when everything kind of shifted for me.

  • But once I started acting in L.A., I was like 23 or 24,

  • on the side was as a makeup artist.

  • I was a makeup artist while I was in L.A.

  • for a good eight years, and that was my job on the weekends

  • to kind of keep me afloat so I can go audition.

  • [cheerful music]

  • - Lisa.

  • Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.

  • - What?

  • - Wanna cut and go to a party?

  • Come on. I know you like me.

  • - Would you leave me alone?

  • - Actually booking was like, you know,

  • winning the lottery type of feeling.

  • I remember jumping up and down and I called my mom

  • and I said, "I'm going to Toronto. I got this movie."

  • And I didn't know where the hell fucken Toronto was.

  • But I'm like, I was so excited.

  • I remember kissing the dirty old carpet

  • at the crappy apartment I was living in.

  • It was a big, big milestone for me to know that like, hey,

  • I can actually work in this city.

  • [cheerful music]

  • - I buy you these shoes,

  • you just gotta take a couple of pictures.

  • - Well, what kind of pictures?

  • - Just a couple of pictures of you, you know,

  • making a muscle, sitting in a chair,

  • you know, looking tough.

  • - That movie has a lot of value to me in my life.

  • This is probably around 2000.

  • So some good seven years have been gone by

  • since "Senior Trip."

  • I think there was like an actors strike

  • I believe around that time,

  • so I remember, you know, a lot of struggles

  • 'cause I was doing a lot of commercials at the time

  • to help keep working as an actor and help pay the bills.

  • But I remember being very, very poor

  • in the sense of that I had no electricity, no running water,

  • and that kind of stuff happening.

  • My manager at the time said,

  • "Hey, there's this thing with Dahmer."

  • I'm like, "That sounds interesting."

  • So then I went and read this monologue for the director,

  • got cast that day,

  • and then three days later we started shooting,

  • and then 14 days after that moment we were done shooting.

  • So it happened very, very, very quickly.

  • It was a whirlwind of an experience

  • and the movie did well for me in the sense

  • of a lot of people within the industry

  • saw it and noticed it,

  • and how people perceived me shifted in a positive way,

  • as far as like creative opportunities for me in the future.

  • Kathryn Bigelow saw "Dahmer"

  • and this is the guy to play Will James

  • for "The Hurt Locker."

  • - That wasn't so bad our first time working together.

  • What do you think?

  • - Huh.

  • I think us working together means I talk to you

  • and you talk to me.

  • - We going on a date, Sanborn?

  • - No. We're going on a mission.

  • - Kathryn was in L.A.,

  • so I flew from London for a dinner to meet her in person

  • and she shows me a lookbook, which is just images,

  • and talk more about the character.

  • I was more just sort of like agreeing like,

  • "Yeah, we're gonna go do this."

  • After getting the role it was probably a good year,

  • year and a half before we started actually filming,

  • so I'd read other actors.

  • I would go to Fort Irwin and train with EOD,

  • which is part of just understanding the role.

  • And then we started our production

  • and went to Middle East and started filming.

  • As like a kid from Modesto, California,

  • it's strange going over to the Middle East, you know.

  • Everything was just different.

  • It's 130 degrees.

  • You got a 100-pound bomb suit on,

  • but, like, heat, it doesn't become heat anymore.

  • Like, pain is more of a spiritual pain

  • than it is like a physical sort of pain.

  • The location was a huge character in that film in particular

  • where it only informs you of truths.

  • You know, if we were supposed to be freezing,

  • it would have been awful, you know, 'cause it's 130 degrees.

  • But everything that we were doing,

  • everywhere we were, made it easier, realistic to us.

  • The shooting experience is one thing,

  • but then as it all came together,

  • it took about two years before it to actually be released.

  • So we were going around to every military base

  • and showing the film and talking about it,

  • and that's not even something on my filmography.

  • This is more of a life experience

  • that I was blessed to be a part of.

  • You know, it became a wonderful tool to communicate

  • between civilian life and soldier life.

  • And then the kind of the payoff with Kathryn

  • becoming the first woman director to win an Oscar.

  • I survived all the way through until,

  • until, yeah, one day.

  • We wrapped and then the boys,

  • we all went over to Beirut and had fun,

  • and then my buddy got drunk and he ordered a sandwich

  • to the room and I ate a sandwich for him

  • 'cause he passed out and it had lettuce on it,

  • and I was done.

  • I lost 30 pounds in four days.

  • Got heli lifted back to Jordan.

  • I'm like, "I'm wrapped.

  • "I'm on my own free time,

  • "and I'm sicker than I've ever been sick in my life."

  • [laughs] Yeah, those memories.

  • - There's too many locks.

  • There's too many. I can't do it.

  • - Undo. - I can't get it off.

  • I'm sorry, okay?

  • You understand? I'm sorry.

  • - Help me.

  • - You hear me? I'm sorry.

  • I'm sorry!

  • - [Sanborn] Get down now!

  • [soldiers yelling]

  • [car horns honking]

  • - Did you say your name was Jim or Jem?

  • - Ah, it's J-Jem. Well, it's both, actually.

  • Um, teachers when we were growing up, you know,

  • used to always say, "Hey, you can have this one.

  • "He's a real gem."

  • So I guess it kinda stuck.

  • - Yeah, that was just as foreign to me

  • as being in the Middle East.

  • You know, I didn't know really much about Boston.

  • Ben's said like, "We're not gonna do any dialect coaches."

  • So he just put me with a bunch of people in a bar,

  • ex-cons just got out of a 20-year bit.

  • These are all dudes that were in prison,

  • all guys that did bank robberies and armored car heists

  • and that kind of stuff.

  • It couldn't be funnier and cooler and the whole thing,

  • but I just hung out with them for, like, two weeks.

  • Ben is a wonderful, super, super smart guy.

  • It was a great journey to work with him,

  • and Boston has a really, really cool, beautiful community.

  • I really enjoyed shooting there.

  • - About six foot, 180 pounds, blue eyes. Who is he?

  • - Crude drawing, but by your description,

  • that could be Kurt Hendricks.

  • 190 IQ, served in Swedish special forces,

  • professor of physics.

  • - I was meeting with J.J. Abrams

  • about the movie "Super 8," I believe.

  • I think I was sitting in this room and he says,

  • "Hey, I wanna hear all your thoughts,

  • "but what do you think about 'Mission Impossible'?"

  • I'm like, "Yeah, they're great movies. I love them.

  • "So anyway, 'Super 8'--"

  • "No, hold on.

  • "Would you like to go meet Tom?

  • "'Cause they're having a whole kind of show-and-tell

  • "right now over at Paramount."

  • I'm like, "Uh, okay. Like, right now?"

  • He's like, "Yeah, yeah, let me call him."

  • So I'm driving across from Santa Monica now

  • all the way back into Hollywood

  • and I go sit in his room and talking to Tom Cruise

  • and all the people kind of involved in that and the director

  • and we start talking and they say,

  • "Hey, we really want you in this movie."

  • I'm like, "Okay, that's great."

  • They're saying this and talking about this,

  • and I'm like, "Well, all this sounds really amazing,

  • "you guys, but like, why me?"

  • And they're like, "Well, because we look at you

  • "and you can be a good guy or a bad guy.

  • "People might be on the fence.

  • "You're like a coiled spring."

  • I'm like, "Great, I understand that.

  • "I get why you say that."

  • I didn't say yes or no.

  • I just gave them all a hug and I went home.

  • And I got a phone call from Tom.

  • First of all, how does Tom Cruise have my home line?

  • [laughs] I'm like, "Hello." "Hey, it's Tom."

  • "Hey, what's up, man?"

  • And he said, "Do you wanna do it or not?"

  • I'm like, "Yeah, of course I'll do it.

  • "I'll do it. Yeah, sure." And I hung up.

  • So that's how I got the role.

  • And still, I didn't know what the script was

  • or the character was, and I mean how could I say no.

  • It was just a strange, odd thing.

  • I went in for one movie with J.J.

  • and then come home for now ultimately a trilogy

  • with "Mission Impossibles."

  • Tom taught me a lot about an actor in the stunt world

  • and treating it like that's a big part of the job

  • and how to prepare your body enough

  • to go through the punishment,

  • which got my brain thinking about stunts in a different way,

  • which really started a trajectory for me in the stunt world.

  • And I loved it 'cause I've always been athletic,

  • always been an athlete,

  • and now I got to sort of use those skills

  • in the acting world.

  • That's why the action movies are just as fun to me

  • as like some character-driven movie,

  • 'cause there's lots of challenges and things to overcome

  • in those types of films.

  • In the stunts, you know, jeez,

  • Tom is just an absolute genius maniac.

  • This guy's insane.

  • But it inspired me to be the best I could be.

  • [dramatic music]

  • [Ethan yelling]

  • [dramatic music]

  • - Stark, got a lot of strays sniffing your tail.

  • [dramatic music]

  • - Just trying to keep them off the streets.

  • - Well, they can't bank worth a damn.

  • [dramatic music]

  • Find a tight corner.

  • - I remember going in to talk with Kevin Feige

  • and Lou D'Esposito

  • and they'd show me like the Ultimates version of Hawkeye.

  • "Iron Man" had come out,

  • and I said, "Look, man, I'm in to what you guys are doing."

  • 'Cause I loved "Iron Man."

  • "I like how you made, you know, 'Iron man' plausible.

  • "It was so like, ah, I love that."

  • So that's where they wanted to go with it.

  • I'm like, "Great."

  • You gotta kind of sign on for like, you know,

  • a bunch of Avenger films and potential Hawkeye films.

  • They kind of sign your life away.

  • I'm like, "Wait, man, I might be 50 in tights."

  • That was like my main concern.

  • I'm like, I don't know if I wanna do this.