Jeremy Renner Interview For Brad Bird’s ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’
This is not just another mission. The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot. Ghost Protocol is initiated and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his rogue new team must go undercover to clear their organization’s name. No help, no contact, off the grid. Director Brad Bird (Ratatouille, The Incredibles) has assembled a fine cast to support Tom Cruise in Jeremy Renner, Josh Holloway, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Vladimir Mashkov, Anil Kapoor, Léa Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson and Michael Nyqvist. ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ in cinemas now in the US and December 26th in the UK.
Your character Brandt is pretty duplicitous, he‘s a grey area for much of the film….
Jeremy Renner: Yeah, he’s smart as a whip, he’s very analytical about things, he’s not very emotional. But you do slowly start to see who he is through the film. It was a grey, sort of complex character to jump into. Nothing is as it seems in a spy movie, and this certainly delivers that, I think. I’m attracted to those kind of roles, that you could be good or you could be bad and you just don’t know. I guess I just have one of those arresting faces that look like I want to beat you up or something. I don’t know what it is (laughs), but yeah, I like those parts.
But that’s what the character is, you know, it’s one of those hinge/fringe characters – you’re not sure what’s gonna happen. And that was the attraction for me. I can tell you that Will Brandt is a Chief Analyst for the IMF, the right-hand man to the Secretary, which is always the voice, now a face, finally, in this movie – played by Tom Wilkinson. He hands out all the missions. And this sort of buttoned up, sort of desk jockey, gets thrown into the mix of Ethan Hunt and two other agents, Paula Patton’s and Simon Pegg’s characters. And instead of having a mission sort of dished out, it became.…circumstances kind of fall apart and we’re thrown together and have to be together. It doesn’t mean we like each other, but we have to unite and to overcome certain obstacles. And then within that spectacle of action and mission stuff, there’s an interesting character. You will see. All four characters are very strong archetypes and how they play off each other ends up being really interesting. It’s Brad Bird’s strong suit, if you’ve ever seen ‘The Incredibles.’ I think you’ll see a lot of that within that sort of structure. Some great humour as well.
Was that mystery and intrigue something that interested you about taking on this film?
Jeremy Renner: Yeah, the sort of mystery, intrigue and ambiguity of the character. It allowed a lot of room to figure out the details of him. And then, you know, to be able to work with Tom Cruise, to be a big part of a franchise I was a fan of. To be in a big action movie, that’s fun, there was really no reason to say no (laughs). There was so many reasons to do it. But the most important thing was that I felt like there was enough of the character there that I felt like I could offer up something.
How was it joining an already established franchise, with a recognisable lead? Does that give you an advantage, or is there a challenge in sort of distinguishing yourself, you know, when he’s sort of leading the charge?
Jeremy Renner: I think it’s great to be part of a franchise that is successful, and obviously a franchise, any franchise is successful, because there been a continuation of the people who see it. That’s kind of nice to be a part of when you’re on a world stage, a movie gets all around the world and you know that, because 80% of the movies I’ve done, nobody’s seen (laughs). So kind of going into that is pretty exciting. And getting the opportunity to work with Tom Cruise is really exciting. I thought it was complex enough to go do. I had a lot of fun.
Tom Cruise seems pretty enthusiastic about doing his own stunts. Do you share that enthusiasm?
Jeremy Renner: Yes, I’m enthusiastic about it. I think if it’s required of me to do it, I think I’m attracted to challenges so there’s a great physical challenge in doing stunts. And also, there’s no ticket you can buy for that ride. The opportunity to do the stunts and to do the things that we were able to do on this movie – people don’t get that opportunity (laughs). So yeah, that’s exciting. And if it serves the story and the character, I don’t want to just do a stunt just to do a stunt to have fun. But it just becomes sort of icing on the cake to help Brad Bird tell the story.
What was it like learning the fight disciplines?
Jeremy Renner: The stunt that took the longest to prepare was all the fighting. There was months and months and months of fighting training, five hours a day to learn different disciplines, to be prepared for any sequence that might be written. Because in itself, this is a very rogue production, in that we didn’t so much learn choreography. We learned as much as we can in the discipline and then they taught us on the day to get it going. For me, that was most of the movie.
How was being high up in the Burj Khalifa and looking out the window?
Jeremy Renner: It’s one of those things, like if you get hit by a bus and you didn’t know it, that’s one thing. But if you see the bus coming and you can’t do anything, you get paralyzed and you can’t move, and you just watch it come at you – it’s one of those things (laughs). Tom is out there, running around, doing his thing all over the building. And we’re just standing there, sort of by the edge, and that is more terrifying. And then once we hung out, thirty seconds of near vomiting almost happened, but then once that went away…. Tom was laughing (laughs). He’s hanging upside down, he’s all red faced and he’s like, “Look at this view!!” I’m like, “What are you talking about?! I’m gonna vomit on you.” (Laughs) But once that went away, he was right. It was like, “This is beautiful.” I mean, it was just fantastic. And once all the fear went away and all that stuff, it became a really amazing experience. But before that, the anticipation of it all was terrifying.
I can imagine all training you done for ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ really helped you with your other projects?
Jeremy Renner: Oh yeah, it helped with all of them. Tom has prepared me for, especially ‘The Bourne Legacy,’ but all of them: ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ and then ‘The Avengers,’ and now ‘The Bourne Legacy,’ for the sort of mental place to be to know when you’re doing an action sequence, that….like in any professional sport, in America at least, if you get injured or you hurt your knee or whatever, second string comes in. But it doesn’t happen on movies so you can’t get injured. So it’s sort of getting on this really great program to really just not be in shape, but just prevent injuries. And Tom Cruise introduced me to some really great physiotherapists and that sort of thing, to prepare my body for that sort of torture.
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