Jeremy Renner Interview For ‘The Bourne Legacy’
The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise, ‘The Bourne Legacy.’ The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. Faced with the public and political fallout from the events of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum,’ the CIA decides to shut down “Operation Outcome,” the successor to “Operation Treadstone.” Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an agent of Operation Outcome, and Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), a research scientist who helped create the Outcome agents, must find a way to escape before CIA agent Byer (Edward Norton) can have them assassinated. For ‘The Bourne Legacy,’ Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton join fellow series newcomers Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles. ‘The Bourne Legacy’ comes to cinemas August 10th in the US and August 13th in the UK. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Jeremy Renner closer to the films release date.
What was the appeal of stepping into this “Bourne” world and bringing this new character to life?
Jeremy Renner: There was so much developed in the three prior movies, as far as the tone and pace, the action, the authenticity….there were so many things I loved about the series. Then to see what Tony Gilroy did with the new material and with this new character, it really opened up the world. For me, it was really exciting. At first I was hesitant, I wasn’t quite sure how they would do it. But once I saw how clever it was I just jumped at the chance. It was a lot for me to play with. And what Matt Damon did, and what the previous directors have done, that was great. For those who love the franchise, I’m not replacing Matt, nor would I want to. It would never have been interesting if I was taking over and playing the same character. Matt is always the face of Jason Bourne and always should be. I liked this script because it was a very interesting way of continuing the story while honouring what came before. And with ‘The Bourne Legacy,‘ there’s a science to it that is very real, and why would it not be? It’s in this franchise where authenticity is its main foundation. There’s no superhero-ness to him, to my character, it’s just advanced science that is very plausible. And I think that’s exciting.
Set in a world that is parallel to Jason Bourne’s, ‘The Bourne Legacy’ also keeps a very similar tone, like you said, it’s steeped in authenticity….
Jeremy Renner: Yeah. Cross and Bourne, they don’t know each other, so this has a whole new spin on why these super soldier spies are the way they are now. I hope I can bring a fresh perspective to it. It doesn’t veer into the CGI world or massive explosions. It stays authentic. It was important for me to want to find humanity within this character. What matters is that there is believability in everything we do in the film. No matter what the stunt is or the setup, it’s all based in reality, truth and the potential of science. As an actor, that’s easy to grab onto.
Like Treadstone, Outcome carries the promise of “perfect agents”, and similarly it presents its own unique bugs and flaws…..
Jeremy Renner: Yeah. Initially being out there in the woods, it’s to keep Aaron Cross busy. That’s what has kind of become the problem of Outcome. They say it so eloquently actually in the script, how each of these programmes came with these flaws. You look at Treadstone and the flaws that came with that and the inconsistencies. And with Outcome, it’s a different sort of leash to control these agents. They’re too smart and you’ve got to keep them busy or they start doing bad things. So Aaron Cross is out in the wilderness, just keeping busy, they have him on a scavenger hunt, essentially, looking for absolutely nothing. But they’re keeping him busy (laughs). Then in the mean time they realise that the programme is out of control and they want to shut it down.
In keeping with the realism, I know you were heavily involved with the stunt work and physicality of the role, working with Dan Bradley?
Jeremy Renner: Very much so, I was wanting and willing to do everything I possibly could. Again, it’s really important to this franchise, to not suspend belief. And Dan Bradley, he’s been apart of the franchise since the beginning, and I got to work with him on ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ so we had a great shorthand. He knew he could push me to a place and he always knows that I can push it. The shorthand was great, because of that we could get a lot done very quickly. And we trust each other too, it’s immense what you can get done when you have trust – and the same with Tony Gilroy on the acting side. You can really go to a lot of places very quickly because of the trust.
‘The Bourne Legacy’ was very, very demanding. I was lucky enough because many of the fight coordinators, the stunt coordinators and Dan Bradley were on the three movies I did back-to-back right before this movie. Working with them was seamless. I had learned hand-to-hand combat on ‘The Avengers,’ so I took that over to this and actually used patterns. I had a nice running start.
How did you find the frozen lake scene
Jeremy Renner: With that, there’s no prep. And that’s why I was so stressed about it, how do you prepare for that (laughs)? Even I can prepare for a jump or a stunt, with that you just go and get cold. You have to mentally go there. But it actually wasn’t so bad – it was so bad up to the moment of going in! But once I did it I was like, “Ok, this is not THAT bad.” My brain made it much worse than I thought it would ever be. I didn’t think I would be able to do it, but I ended up doing it with no wetsuit, I did the shirtless thing. It was all fun….don’t get me wrong, I’m not jumping in freezing water again (laughs). But I’m glad I did it.
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