Today, 7th January is two-time Oscar nominated actor Jeremy Renner’s birthday and, on that occasion, this is a Jeremey Renner appreciation post, rather a short biography of one of the most amazing actors Hollywood has, who deserves so much more than what he got. It is a long 9000+ words piece but I’ve given proper headings, so you can skip the parts that don’t interest you and jump to relevant sections. Please don’t forget to share. And follow this blog.
Jeremy Renner’s Biography By Sanjukta Basu. A short biography of two-time Oscar nominated actor Jeremy Renner who plays Hawkeye in the Avenger series and has starred in The Hurt Locker, Mission Impossible, Bourne Legacy, Wind River and more.Tweet
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Before I begin, I must answer some of the questions the demons in my head keep asking, why do you write these appreciation posts for sometimes obscure, sometime underrated, sometimes struggling movie/TV stars in a distant land, who neither know nor care that you exist? How can Jeremy Renner be possibly so important for you? It doesn’t make any sense.
Well, it really does not make any sense but I write because I don’t know whom else to share these thoughts with. It is like meeting a new guy whom I really like, and I want to tell the whole world about him, that’s why I write. I also write for my niece and her generation. Someday, when she’ll grow up, maybe she’ll read my writing and get to know what her aunt was passionate about. Through these pieces, she’ll hopefully get to know the people her aunt liked, the movies she watched, the books she read and so on. I also feel that I bring a unique perspective in the world of literature produced on these movie stars. Most things written on them are just gossip columns, clickbait pieces, or box-office driven analysis where a movie star’s worth is as good as her/his latest film. You would very rarely find deep and poignant biographies of these stars written by a woman in her mid-40s who is otherwise known for her political voice and a PhD thesis in feminist studies. Lastly, specially in case of Jeremy Renner, I wrote this piece because I felt like I am writing about myself. It is uncanny how much I identify with this person, his world view and life’s choices and how much empathy and love I feel for him. The only way to process all that emotion is to write them all down.
Other articles on Jeremy Renner
Tom Cruise and Aamir Khan have been my other favourite stars and my feelings for them is at a higher level than just fangirling. Apart from them, every few years or so I tend to fall for a new man and get obsessed with them. Latest in this series was Patrick J Adams, before him it was Hugh Laurie, before him Johnny Depp. Once I fall for them I start digging them and end up watching/reading everything publicly available about them. But Jeremy Renner now tops Cruise and Khan. I have never felt so passionately for anybody else but Jeremy Renner. Not even Tom Cruise or Aamir Khan. I have not written so many words for any of them. In the last 4-5 months I have invested thousands of hours in browsing through hundreds of web pages to know everything there is to know about Jeremy Renner, from his first high school play to the story of his first audition to the girl he refused to go out with who bit his arm. I have watched all his interviews on YouTube from when he was 24 to 51 today, watched all his films, TV series, read media profiles written by critiques, news pieces. Unless someone knows him personally there is nothing anybody know about Renner better than me. It is a lot like falling in love and getting to know him. How I bump into these stars, and why I fall for them is also a lot like love. It’s like you go to a café and see a pretty face and get attracted, you ask them out, get to know them.
Jeremy Renner caught my attention for the first time in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011). I didn’t know his name then but I registered him in my head as the actor who exuded his own aura even amidst the presence of Tom Cruise. Renner’s intense portrayal of William Brandt, a quiet melancholic intelligence analyst who held a secret of his own in the ruthless and dangerous world of spying and killing, left an indelible mark on my heart.
William Brandt seemed to have nothing to do with all the ‘impossible missions’ that Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) has been going on for decades. He was just supposed to be a guy behind the computers, but got involved in a dangerous mission with Hunt by chance. As the now disavowed ghost team consisting of Ethan, Benji, and Jane embarked upon a dangerous mission on top of Burj Khalifa, Brandt tagged along with them asking, “What am I doing?” “You are the helper,” said Benji, who was super excited to wear a mask for the first time on this mission now that he is “not a technician anymore” and was promoted to a field agent.
‘Helper’ – significant but not that great in the kicking ass department, that is how Brandt was introduced to the Mission Impossible franchise. He remained low key until 50 minutes into the 2 hours 14 minutes long film when the mission went sideways and the natural killer Agent in Brandt suddenly came to fore downing 4 bodies to the ground and standing like a Godly marble statue with a gun in his hand, while an awestruck deeply suspicious Ethan Hunt looked on. Back in their secret hideout, Brandt loses his cool at both Benji and Jane for screwing up. How come a mere analyst suddenly get so much authority to speak like that to the team, is the question on every audience mind. It is the same question on Ethan’s mind. “You are just an analyst, right? Who are you really?” An infuriated Ethan asks Brandt who looks confused. Suddenly, Ethan pulls out his gun and points towards Brandt, who takes the next nano seconds or so to pull the gun out of Ethan’s hand, and point it right back at him, once again standing like a man carved out of marble with a gun in hand. “How does an Agent with skills like that end up as an analyst?” asks Hunt.
That is sort of the story of Jeremy Renner as an actor and as a man perhaps. You don’t know what is he doing in Avengers franchises until the moment comes. The industry perhaps didn’t know what was this kid from Modesto, California doing until The Hurt Locker came. And if Renner is to be believed he is himself not sure what is he doing in life except that he does what his heart calls for, whatever excites him, whatever challenges him, and wherever he can see a problem he can fix.
“I don’t look forward in life, I don’t look backward in life, I don’t get bothered with anything much, I just live the moment, I just like going to work. I want to do new things, I don’t wanna be bored, I don’t wanna be pigeon holed in any style or category…,” is how Renner described his life’s journey in several of his interviews over the last decade. “If I sat and cried about it, which I probably did once or twice, it doesn’t really move the needle. Changing and shifting your perspective — that’s the only thing we have control of in perpetuity,” he said on his days of living on $10 per month food budget in a house with no gas or electricity or warm water.
Seeing Renner in the Ghost protocol for me was like meeting this guy at a party and I couldn’t stop thinking about him but he wasn’t from the neighbourhood, I didn’t see him much and then forgot about him. Couple of years later, I bumped into him again in the first Avengers film. I was still not familiar with his name but recalled it’s the guy from Ghost Protocol. Notably, Marvel cinematic universe was not a familiar thing for me until the COVID lockdown when I caught up with the decade’s journey of some 20 films. Prior to this, the first and the only Marvel movie I saw was the first Avengers at a cousin’s place only on his insistence. I have also never read any of the Marvel comics so I had no clue what was going on in the film and couldn’t connect with anything at all except Hawkeye.
This guy, Hawkeye, was once again intense and melancholic. A superhero who had no superhuman abilities except being an expert in archery, hand to hand combat, a marksman, who could shoot his arrow without looking, never missed his mark, fought aliens and robots with a bow and arrow, but who walks around with a heavy heart. What is wrong with him? Why is Hawkeye always sad? Why does Natasha owe her life to him? In that massive film that Avengers was, the only thing that got me intrigued was these questions about Hawkeye. He was mind-controlled by Loki that made him a ruthless killer without a heart. As the film progressed I started rooting for him and hoped somebody would snap him out of Loki’s control. Natasha aka Black Widow did that. Next thing we see is Steve Rogers aka Captain America asking if anybody can fly one of the Quinjets. “I can,” says Clint Barton aka Hawkeye. That was the first time Captain America meets Hawkeye. “Suit up,” says Rogers. So, 1 hour 37 minutes into the film we see Hawkeye suiting up as an Avenger.
There are fan made YouTube videos featuring all the first meetings of the avengers but this scene is missing from the list. Because people often forget Hawkeye was there among the six original Avengers who assembled for the first time for the Battle of New York – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain had not met Barton before, they don’t know him but Barton knows them because he is a shield agent first. He knows this team and its strength. He has a long history with Natasha that started in Budapest. He had seen Thor before in New Mexico when Thor’s life was on the tip of Hawkeye’s arrow but the call to shoot was not made and Hawkeye disappeared from that story. He was there always, recruiting, overseeing earth’s mighty heroes but they don’t know him. At 1 hour 52 minutes into the film we see Captain America calling the shots giving each Avengers their role in the battle. “Barton, I want you on the roof, eyes on everything. Call out patterns and strays.” That’s Hawkeye, he watches your back, he keeps the team together, he is the human heart in the team.
Finally, for me came the moment when I truly fell in love with Hawkeye, a scene I have seen a hundred times on repeat and still cannot get enough of.
Barton is shooting arrows at the aliens, he looks at one of them and shoots at the other, his eyes are all over as if he has ten pairs of them. He tells Stark which aliens are sniffing on his tail, where to find a tight corner, what is Thor up to, his eyes follows Natasha who is flying around on one of the alien jets, helps her out by shooting down Loki with his arrow, he keeps eyes on the civilians – who is stuck and where, who needs rescuing – one wonders what would battle of New York be without Hawkeye relaying every details to the team all the while shooting the aliens.
Then, he runs out of arrows. And here is that epic Hawkeye scene that would be etched forever in Hollywood history. He jumps off the roof, spinning his body around in the air to shoot a sling arrow back at the roof edge by which he would swing and crash into the window a few floors down. The Hulk may have smashed the aliens, Rogers can do it (fight) all day, Iron man may have carried a nuke to the galaxy but no other Avengers action has been as visually delightful as Hawkeye’s jump. The agility and flexibility of his body, the immense courage and confidence in his eyes and the pain he experienced when he crashed make him my most favourite Avenger.
Until recently, I didn’t know Renner did all these stunts on his own. The jump, the turning of the body mid-air, it’s all him. But Jeremy Renner is not Hawkeye, I get that. I am 45. I am not confusing an average American citizen with an acting career with a fictional superhero. So why is Renner the person taking so much of space in my mind and heart that I ended up writing a 4000 words dedication for him?
I used the COVID lockdown to catch up on all the Marvel films starting with Iron Man. I never thought I would appreciate male driven films where hyper-masculine men fight aliens and robots but I was pleasantly surprised how every film except the first Iron Man got strong woman characters, built up the story in a human way to showcase the heroes’ vulnerabilities and flaws and made these films so much more than just action flicks.
Through 2021 Disney also launched the four TV series featuring various Avenger characters who have not yet got their stand-alone films but have become fan favourites. The last in this series was the Hawkeye. It had a slow and underwhelming start but the season finale gave plenty of those epic Hawkeye moments to make up for it. The series finally gives some insights to who Barton really was, why he has always been sad, what Natasha meant to her and how he is still not able to cope up with her loss. We see his self-doubt, that he doesn’t consider himself a role model, even though he clearly is one. The series looked less like an action series and more of a drama but that’s why it made me love Hawkeye so much more. Barton and Natasha are the only Avengers who do not have any super-human abilities and that’s why their love, friendship, grief are much more relatable and the way Renner’s portrayal of this less-understood superhero took those human emotions to newer heights.
When Jeremy Renner grieves, one forgets he is an action hero. When he shoots and kills one forgets he can cry and bleed too. Along side watching Hawkeye I watched or re-watched his other films, The Hurt Locker, Bourne Legacy, Mission Impossible Ghost protocol, Rogue Nation, and all the Avengers movies, I read tons of interviews, profiles, hundreds of his video interviews on YouTube and got to know Jeremy Renner the man. Here’s what I found, and what made me love him:
Renner almost didn’t sign the three Avengers movies, stand-alone Hawkeye movie, Hawkeye TV series deal with Marvel because he thought, “Wait a minute, I will be 50 in tights, who wants to see me in tights at 50?” That humble self-doubt at the verge of his life’s greatest movie deal speaks volumes about the strength of a man’s character. These multi-project deals with a big studio are things Hollywood aspirants kill for. A deal is all they want doesn’t matter what the script is, how it would shape them as person. Who thinks twice before signing a deal like that? Jeremy Renner does because he is a thinking man. That’s why I love him.
Well Renner is 50 now, his Hawkeye series on Disney plus just concluded and has surprised even his critiques, and he has never looked hotter in tights.
Renner was born and grew up in a town called Modesto, California. His parents split up when he was just 7 but he doesn’t tell stories of a difficult childhood with mommy or daddy issues. He is the eldest of 7 siblings and the few times he talks about his family he shows nothing but love. There is a beautiful family video of him with his mother and siblings singing “Stuck in the Middle With you.” The happiness and family bonding in that video cannot be faked, you can see he has a happy family.
He does not have tales of poverty or drug abuse. He just says matter of factly, “I grew up with no money.” As most middleclass kids across the world do. There is no drama in it. What kept him off doing stupid things American kids do is a garage band called “Hot Ice”. “The best thing about the band is that it split up,” he says in one of his interviews. “We didn’t know how to play anything. We were like, ok you play drum, you play the guitar and we learnt it on the go. It kept us from breaking windows and landing up in jail,” he adds.
He went to a community college in Modesto like a regular kid. He could have gone to one of those ivy league colleges like Yale or something but he didn’t want a student loan on him. His father inspired him to go ahead and pick any class and try and fail at anything. “And that, ‘Go fail, son,’ empowered me to go succeed, or try. So, I did. I went and just tried stuff, you know? And one of them was an acting class. Once I tried that acting class, it stuck,” Renner says. He studied computer science, criminology, psychology and took an elective class in acting. Being an actor was an emotional outlet for him since a boy from a small town did not have much avenue to express their emotions.
He does not talk about being a movie fan from childhood, or having any deep connection to the art, he doesn’t talk about any Hollywood biggies like DeNiro or Al Pacino as his inspiration. He does not look or sound like any of those classic actors either. The only person he has been compared to by film critiques is Steve MacQueen not for his looks or acting but for his attitude to life and stardom.
He has created his own path even though it is not epic. There is no epic tale behind his career, just hard work, struggle and determination, but even those stories of struggle are not the stories he likes to tell. He just keeps it simple, to the ground and no melodrama. And that’s a very attractive thing about a man’s character. One who has seen life’s good days and bad days, has a lot of stories to tell, but speaks little about himself.
Renner says he gave himself 11 years to achieve three simple goals. “I don’t know why 11 years. 11 years, I’ll need to be in a movie, a movie big enough that’s gonna play in Modesto, and be in a role that I didn’t have to tell my parents, I’m the guy in the red shirt in the background.’ I just wanted to be, like, ‘You’ll see me in that movie.” That film turned out to be the National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995) which was a silly high school comedy and he is still proud of it. Serious actors who go on to win Oscar nominations playing war heroes or dark characters do not proudly talk about their first silly movie with a bad hairdo, but Jeremy Renner does. “I was proud of it, it was my first job, a lead role in a film that I could show to my family. It was a great moment in my life,” he says.
Renner got his big break in Hollywood stardom with The Hurt Locker after struggling for nearly 20 years doing independent films which got him critical acclaim but little money or fame. At one point he was living on $10 per month food budget. The Hurt Locker earned him an academy nomination and the day he was going to the Oscars he was still living in a house without electricity connection, running water or cooking gas, a house he and his house-flipping business partner cum best friend were renovating at that time. This business was paying his bills. The two of them were living in the house they were renovating and kept personal bills at minimum which meant no electricity.
He said in one of his interviews to CBS, “During The Hurt Locker we were in a house with no electricity, no running water. I was sleeping in a tent. My tuxedo was in that old tent. I had to step over some nails and get my tuxedo on and go in a limo to a Starbuck’s, brush my teeth. I’m, like, ‘All right, I’m ready’. “If I sat and cried about it, which I probably did once or twice, it doesn’t really move the needle. Changing and shifting your perspective — that’s the only thing we have control of in perpetuity,” he told in another interview about five and half years of living like this. He learnt to play the guitar, piano and kept writing music these days and romanticized the idea of candle lights dinners since there was no electricity.
The Hurt Locker is also the first film in Oscar’s history in which a woman, Kathryn Bigelow, won the Best Director award. A war movie directed by a woman, first time woman director winning the award. That’s two landmark events Jeremy Renner is part of. But there is more to this journey. Bigelow only cast Jeremy because she wanted a lesser-known actor to play the lead role. Anybody with a star power would have given away hints towards who would live and would die in the film. So Renner got the role because he was a small actor. Bigelow had seen the independent film Dahmer (2002) where Renner had played a serial killer and had earned a lot of accolades in the independent film circles and she was convinced to cast him for Hurt Locker. Together they made history.
The very next year, Renner got his second Oscar nomination for The Town (2010) a film directed by Ben Afleck starring Afleck in lead role and Jeremy in second lead.
In 2011 he joined Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible franchise as second lead. Industry experts say that he had to be brought in as there were worries that an aging Tom was weakening the franchise and there might be a need for Ethan Hunt to retire and a fresh face to take it over.
There is an epic story behind how Jeremy Renner got the role in Mission Impossible, one that he tells with nonchalance to various chat show hosts from Larry King to Conan. He had gone to meet JJ Abrams to talk about a film Super 8. He basically went to dump Abrams as he was not “quite feeling the part” so he wanted to say, “I cannot do the movie.” And Abrams was like, “Ok I wanna hear everything that you think about it but what do you think of Mission Impossible? You wanna meet Tom and Bard Bird right now?” The next thing he knows is that he is having bro hugs with Cruise, Bird and a few others and talking about “a script that doesn’t exist, a movie I knew nothing about, and they are like ‘do you wanna do it?’ And I am like, ‘I don’t know sounds cool, I like you guys, but why me?’”
So that was that. Man goes to JJ Abrams to dump his movie and comes home with a bigger deal with one of Hollywood’s biggest film franchises with THE biggest star Tom Cruise and all he could think of was, “Why me?” Is it the Hollywood version of Cinderella story or what? If this is not epic, I don’t know what is.
The fairy tale story doesn’t end here. In 2012 he takes over the Bourne franchise filling in a space left vacant by Matt Damon. Same year the first Avengers releases making him a worldwide name. In 2015 comes the next Avengers film Age of Ultron. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation released in 2015, Captain America Civil War in 2016 and Avengers End Game in 2019.
That’s the journey of this man and yet it seems he didn’t quite climb that ladder of success in the movie world. He quite didn’t become a Hollywood star the way Leonardo Di Caprio or Matt Damon is. I am not comparing him with the likes of Tom Cruise or George Cloony but with some of his co-stars who have starred in such big legacy films. They enter a different life altogether. Life makes a lateral unidirectional forward movement for them as they carefully pick up only those kinds of roles that would fit their star image and status. If its intense role they do, they’ll take more of those role and ensure an Oscar nominations. If its hypermasculine action films that’s what they’ll do from the moment they put their first step on that ladder.
But Jeremy, it seemed suddenly got bored of the ladder and got off to do other things. His heart still lies in thought provoking character roles that does not put him in a box. So amidst these mega budget action films he appeared in The Immigrant (2013) and American Hustle (2013), Kill The Messenger (2014), Arrival (2016), Wind River (2017), each of which are intense films with great star cast, and his acting was stuff Oscars are made of but an Oscar nominations did not follow.
I am not a Hollywood insider but I know that an Oscar nomination comes two ways (as do most awards or recognition for that matter) 1) You might be small and unknown but too incredibly good to be ignored and nominating or awarding you will enhance the value of that award; 2) You are good but not the best, so you must lobby with pressure groups and focus groups to get there and keep the peers happy.
Renner fell in the first category with The Hurt Locker and The Town.
But soon, as it became clear to Hollywood that he is not your typical movie star, he likes to keep his private life private, he doesn’t get into drunk public brawls, doesn’t give enough fodder to the gossip columns or the paparazzi and most importantly he is not a member of the mutual admiration society they started ignoring him.
Someone who started off with critical success then commercial success and two back-to-back Oscar nominations was suddenly a nobody even though these films were really good. It seems so odd that Katey Rich of Vanity Fair magazine even wonders whether some of the deleted scenes from American Hustle could have given Renner another Oscar nominations. On YouTube fans claim that Bradely Cooper pushed for the deletion of those scenes owing to his insecurity that Renner would take away his glory. Renner also did a low budget comedy film Tag (2018) during which shooting he broke both of his arms and didn’t even notice until lunch time.
The things that usually follow as people keep walking the same path for a long distance, like a Star on Hollywood Wall Of Fame, being named among the top 50, top 100 lists of sexist people alive or bankable stars, gigs as award hosts, award presenter etc. did not follow for Jeremy Renner. The two franchises he took over also eventually left his door. He could not be part of Mission Impossible Fallout because of his commitment to Avengers End Game. And the Bourne franchise saw Matt Damon coming back (and flop miserably). It remains unknown what’s in store for this series since Matt Damon failed to revive it while Renner actually delivered a box office hit even though he was deliberately pulled down by the media claiming that he cannot replace Damon or that he is a pale imitation etc.
At the 2012 CinemaCon Award ceremony where Jeremy Renner received the Male Star of the Year award he was asked whether there are more Bourne films in the offing. He said, “I don’t know, I am signed up on papers but it depends upon how the movie performs. The audience have to show up in theatres and say yeah we like this, we want more.”
Nobody can claim that Renner’s career doesn’t exactly follow the same pattern as that of say Leonardo DiCaprio or Matt Damon because he is less talented than them or less hardworking or failed to perform at the Box Office. None of the logic works.
Only thing I can think of, given how I understand my own life and identity, is that there is a certain song and dance you need to learn to stay relevant in the world or to please the Goddess of fame. That song and dance is something people like Jeremy Renner does not do.
It is like Jeremy came in for a bit, had a blast in Hollywood, caught everybody’s attention and the he got bored and left (getting bored easily and getting bored with dumb or unintelligent things or people is another characteristics of Jeremy Renner that I can really identify with and love him for that). He did not fade away, he left, like he didn’t care.
4.5 Jeremy Renner Is Multi-Talented and Does Not Like To Be Pigeon Holed
One of the reasons I can think of to explain Renner’s career path is that he does not like doing the same thing for too long and keeps looking for something new to try his hands on. “I am a quick learner. I am a problem solver and like to fix things.” This is a curse that most creative and intelligent people have they are good at too many things and are often unsure which one to chose as their life’s true calling and keep going at. I have written on this blog and on my Twitter about this dilemma about myself many times. Am I a lawyer, a photographer, an author, a feminist scholar, I can’t be sure. I have achieved so many things in so many different paths I walked only to leave that path and take a new one. Each time it seems I start from the scratch, get a bit of success and then move on to do something else. I do not keep digging the same hole just to make it deeper. I believe that is exactly how Jeremy Renner feels and he has said as much in many of his interviews. During the Bourne Legacy promo tours an interviewer quoted producer Patrick Crowley and asked, “Pat Crowley said people don’t have an opinion about you yet, they say who is this guy. Do you think perhaps this film would change that and people will be like, I know that guy…”
“I hope not,” pat came the unusual answer from Renner. “The idea of being pinned down? Umm…meh. I guess I sort of interpret that (being identified with one big movie) as being pigeon holed. Like, oh yeah you wanna see an action movie, go see that guy, I hope it (his career) not to be that limiting,” he said surprising the interviewer.
I believe this makes Jeremy Renner a very strong willed and confident person. One big film or one big break is all a star looks for and then they make that their path but braver souls keep finding new path to explore. It is not always advisable from a career point of view. But that’s what some of us do.
A big film that can solidify his image as a star and firmly secure his place in Hollywood is also what can potentially typecast him and that’s the last thing he likes to be. I obviously do not know Renner personally but I can tell you how my entire life engine is driven by a singular factor, to find my niche and to keep doing something new. I hate familiar patterns and deliberately break out of it even if it means taking new riskier journeys.
Yet another really attractive character Jeremy Renner has is that he is not attached to his success as an actor. He doesn’t want to settle down at one thing. Jeremy Renner and his best friend cum business partner continue to do their house flipping business and has completed 27 such house renovations. These are old vintage houses which they buy, renovate and resell at a much higher price. They started the business after Renner got some money in hand after doing the film S.W.A.T. and are still doing it so that he can remain financially viable so that he could say “Fuck you to your movies” to anybody and not worry about money. It takes uber confidence and courage to be able to have that attitude in life where you can be detached from your greatest achievements, things that sort of gave you identity, name and fame and suddenly go do something totally else.
An Oscar nominated movie star who does a house-flipping business. Who does that? Jeremy Renner.
We talk about the life lesson Krishna gave to Arjuna in Gita, “Karm kar, phal ki chinta na kar” meaning you do your job, don’t worry about the results. It is one of the most important and difficult lessons to learn in life because we are wired to constantly worry about the results, the returns on the investments, the success.
Looking at Jeremy Renner’s life’s journey and reading / watching his interviews, you can see that he really follows this mantra. In an interview at the BAFTA Awards 2010 he was asked, “Did you know hurt locker would be such a success?” Jeremy says, “No. If I knew those kinds of things I would have done it a long time ago, right?” It was a short answer but speaks volumes about how he does what feels right without worrying about commercial success. He has done so many independent films on such wide topics which tells that he takes up projects that excites him and doesn’t really care about box office or stardom. He is an accidental star it seems.
In multiple interviews during the Hurt Locker success days, promo tours, award ceremonies he kept saying the same thing. Speaking to Hollywood Reporter on how his life have been after Hurt Locker he said he was absolutely surprised by all the attention and how it kept getting bigger. “After you do a thing, you wash your hands off and alright, we are done. But then some awards, and it’s like it doesn’t get any bigger than this. Alright, now go back to work (probably next thing). Then theatre releases, then more theatres, then the award (Oscar) came along, oh my goodness…” It speaks volumes about his grounded upbringing where a little success seems a lot to him and big success doesn’t get into his head. Where he has no fear of losing it all because he never really had it all.
There is very little information available on Jeremy Renner’s love life. He has never been a part of those Hollywood celebrity couples. He never dated any famous female co-star. He said in one of the interviews that he didn’t have the money for dating and that work always took priority. In the world of entertainment and art your worth increases with the men or women you go out with but in the 30-years of his career he has rarely been linked with his female co-stars. To be precise, he has not done any big romantic movies to get entangled with any speculations anyway. No hot nude scene or passionate kiss in any movie (except one obscure film Monkey Love nobody saw). The few women with whom his name gets associated with are Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron, Amy Adams and Elizabeth Olsen – all being his co-stars in non-romantic or character roles. Inarguably, these are some of the hottest ladies and biggest stars of Hollywood and one would imagine that a masculine straight man and an action star would instantly be rumoured to be involved with such ladies but it seems Renner has friend-zoned them or they friend-zoned him.
Social media is rife with Renner’s friendship with these leading ladies. Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson is a ship to die for according to dozens of fan videos on YouTube. Fans just want them to get married and have babies. On their part both Jeremy and Scarlett have spoken publicly about their close friendship. Also, who gives the intro speeches at the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony or who presents a special award is marked by who the recipient is closest to in the industry. At Scarlett’s ceremony that person was Jeremy Renner. He also presented the other big award at 35th annual American Cinematheque, celebrating 30 years of Scarlett’s career. Similarly, Charlize Theron presented Jeremy Renner with the Hollywood Breakthrough Award giving a speech about her special friendship with him. During Arrival’s promotions Renner said it at several venues / interviews that apart from the script the key reason he took that film was because of his friendship with Amy Adams.
Such friendships without any scandalous sexual affair gives rise to the speculation that Jeremy Renner is gay. The fact that for 20-30 years he has been living in with his best friend cum business partner also adds to the speculation. Even during the 11 months of his marriage to an obscure Canadian model Sonni Pacheco his friend continued to live in with them.
But, Renner gains my respect by the way he shot down these speculations.
“As a general rule I don’t respond to questions about my personal life. I’m not going to try to prove what I am or am not. It’s silly, right? When you Google yourself and the first thing that comes up is ‘Jeremy Renner gay,’ it’s like, ‘Oh, now you’ve arrived. You’re now a giant movie star.’ So I just had a big laugh about it. I don’t care, ultimately, if that’s what people want to think, read and care about. F–king say whatever the hell you want about me. Look at where we’re at socially—leaps and bounds ahead of where we started. That’s an amazing thing. To suggest that it’s negative, that being gay is a terrible thing, a perversion or whatever—I just don’t get it. Don’t you wish we were in a world where we’re not shaming, judging and boxing people in?” he said in an interview with Playboy magazine.
It is possible that he is bisexual or asexual or pan sexual. It is even possible that he doesn’t know himself what his sexuality is. The fact is, why should there be one label? Why should he be one or the other and why should the world talk about it?
Jeremy Renner entire life now revolves around his 8-year-old daughter Ava. He talks about her every time he is in front of a camera and microphone. During the Avengers End Game shooting he told Marvel Studios that Ava should be allowed to accompany him otherwise he will not do the role. Fine, recast me if you want, he said. At a press conference during Wind River film somebody asked him if he would continue his association with the NGOs in Middle East working towards bomb disposal or if he would do another movie set in middle east he said, “I would love to but I cannot, because I have to be with my daughter. I cannot just take off and go live in mid-East for months (which is what he did for The Hurt Locker).”
His daughter is now his priority much more than his career. He did not want to do the film Wind River (2017) and his agents, friends kept insisting him to read the script and give it a shot. He kept saying, “I don’t care if it’s a good script, I am a daddy now, I am retired.” Finally, he took up the part because it was so good. He talks about packing his daughter’s lunch and dropping her to school. He not only has love and care for his daughter as any father would, what is special is his great enthusiasm to raise his daughter the right way. Make her strong, independent, give her a good life but not an easy life. He says, “I would give her challenges, she will learn to overcome the challenges.” In one of his interviews, he narrates how one day when Ava had barely learnt to crawl, she spent some 40 minutes to reach a pacifier kept on the table. “Just when she was about to reach it, I moved it further away. My Mom hit me saying, ‘Jeremy you are so mean, why you do that, she was trying to get it for so long.’ And I said ‘yes she was. Wait and see. She went around the table and got it from another side. She overcame a challenge,” Jeremy said.
It is very rare that we see a celebrity dad talk so much about raising their children traditionally considered a woman’s job. It perhaps makes Jeremy Renner one of the most vocal and proud single-dads in the industry and it should inspire more men to step up in the parenting department.
While having a wife and kids and a functional heteronormative Christian family is considered a hallmark of American nationhood, being a strong, independent and proud single mother is also quite appreciated. Single motherhood used to be a taboo but more and more films and TV series and other pop-culture are being produced nowadays where single-mothers are celebrated. But a single-dad is still not a thing. It is not something they make movies on or talk about in Comicons or film festivals or magazines. I hope someday it becomes a thing and Jeremy Renner is recognized in this area as one of the first.
The society does not understand people who live life without fear or shame or regrets. Such people shake the foundation of the unequal world we live in and that’s why they get hate no matter what they do. Jeremy Renner is one such person.
People hate Jeremy Renner just for the heck of it. He is simultaneously both mocked for being a nobody who could not really crack in Hollywood and envied for being a privileged prick who made it too big in Hollywood despite being undeserving and untalented.
Obviously both the scenarios cannot be true, but that’s the kind of post-truth world we are living in where these conflicting narratives are floated on the internet by people who just want to hate. You maybe one person but different groups would hate you for different reason just because you are your own person without apologies. Jeremy Renner is one of those people who are super confident of their work, talent, honesty, integrity and do not give a damn about approval of their peers or those above them. The community would label such people as rude and arrogant. But when you see how they behave with those below them or their fans that’s when you know how truly humble they are. Renner often says that he gives zero fuck about how he is perceived by others. That does not mean he is reckless or irresponsible. On the contrary such people are immensely responsible and hold their own actions to account but refuse to get bogged down by other people’s judgments. That’s why they are hated.
Strong headlines are made about him, “Why Jeremy Renner Is One of the Most Disliked Actors in Hollywood” “Why Is Jeremy Renner and His Movies Hated” are made without any substance. If you read the articles, you’ll see that from his entire 30 years of career, these post-truth cancel culture ninjas have found all of 3 baseless frivolous reasons to target him: 1) He called Black Widow a Slut; 2) His ex-wife threw wild allegations at him of deadly threats and abuse without an iota of evidence 3) He has a app in his name.
Despite several Google searches nothing else controversial comes up about Renner’s personal life compared to the bizarre murky and dangerous life of Hollywood celebs full of sex, drugs and rock and roll. He is rather boring in that sense. But headlines are made about his non-existent controversies.
Calling Black Widow, a fictional character, was a sarcastic joke. How can people lose their mind over it? A mass outrage ensued after that video clip went viral but I am glad he never apologized for it. He got more hate for not apologizing and brazening it out on a Conan show.
His ex-wife’s allegations are just the staple content every lesser known woman going through a custody battle with a rich ex-husband will throw and in turn there are a ton of allegations thrown at her by Renner’s lawyers too. It is a ‘he said she said’ situation and there is no reason to assume Sonni Pacheco is telling the truth.
Jeremy Renner started a mobile app The Jeremy Renner Official in 2017 to create a community of his fans and be closer to them. It is something several other celebrities have done including Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and back home Narendra Modi. But Renner got the hate for having too much vanity and for charging money from fans for certain products or services. The internet trolls created such mess on the app that he was forced to shut it down. He was the victim of trolling but they hate the victim. His now defunct app is often made a butt of joke even when the situation has nothing to do with him. For example he started trending on Twitter when Elon Musk announced his decision to buy Twitter. The joke was that Musk will ruin Twitter so much that it is rather better to migrate to Jeremy Renner app which apparently was the worst.
On Twitter, #RIPJeremyRenner trended sometime earlier this year because of the ‘cancel culture’ ninja trolls found something offensive in something he said at some Comicon about Hawkeye being a hero with hearing disability. During the release of the film Arrival trolls started saying that Amy Adams should be given an award for pretending to like Renner. “Why Amy Adams did not vomit in trying to pretend she loves Jeremy Renner or wishes to make baby with him” is the kind of nasty stuff written for him in relation to this film.
Which is even more unfortunate and ironic because he took this film to support Amy Adams in leading a movie. During the promos he said that Hollywood needs movies with strong woman lead. “I did it cause I love Amy, and also cause I loved the script. But mainly for Amy. I wanted to support her, having strong woman leads in films is always an important thing for me,” he said.
How many male stars will ever accept that they only took a film role because they loved or admired the female star who was leading the script? It takes a lot of courage for a male action stars to take a role which is a second fiddle to a female star, where he does not have to save the woman rather she saves the world. Renner had that courage, he took that role, only to get hate from stupid internet trolls. He has also been targeted for not having the most perfect woke answer to questions on gender pay gap.
These are sad culture and the trolls should be ashamed not Jeremy Renner.
The things I listed above are mostly about how I can relate to Jeremy Renner’s personality and feel love and respect for him. It was at a philosophical level so to speak. Nothing I said so far was about physical aspects. Except this last point I want to make. His unusual looks, his death stare, smile and his heavenly voice.
Long before his intense acting I liked Jeremy Renner’s voice. I heard him in Mission Impossible and kept thinking, that is a voice I have not heard anywhere else. He does not sound like anybody else. Even if 50 people spoke together I would be able to identify his voice. Even in my personal life when it comes to people around me I am always attracted to intense men with unique voices.
Then comes his unusually rugged look which is not exactly a charming handsome face. On several of his chats including one on the Graham Norton Show he talks about his resting face which seems like he is going to kill you. “It’s my resting face, that I was born with. I build a career around it so its awesome,” Renner tells.
“So, right now you kind of look twinkly,” says Graham. “Well that’s cause I am smiling. But if I was just thinking like, Hey that’s a nice piece of suit,” says Renner and goes silent for a while and then says, “it looks like I might wanna hurt you.”
In another interview he said, “People ask me all the time, is something wrong? And I will be like, no, I was just thinking you have beautiful eyes, and they be like, oh I thought you are going to kill me.”
The whole thing is quite hilarious and I am sure he says it as a joke. Perhaps he is conscious of it which is why he also said at certain interviews that he will not be a good fit for a romantic comedy. But to me what he refers to as his ‘resting murder face’ is actually a deep and intense emotional face. It is because of this face that Hawkeye and Agent Brandt appear so melancholic when they are not fighting. But it is wrong to say that his face cannot portray other emotions. His scenes with Natasha Romanoff in Avengers carried a range of emotions from playful to romantic.
Renner is definitely capable of conveying soft and tender romance as he did in some really obscure movies which do not even have a wiki page. He is also superb in comedy and his smile can really make him twinkly and brighten up the world. One can get to see a beautiful tender and charming Jeremy Renner during his promotional tours with Scarlett Johanson or Elizabeth Olsen, two women he seemed to be in love with, perhaps in a platonic way.
To conclude, one of internet’s most popular GIF for blushing emotions is a Jeremy Renner GIF where he looks at a woman who might be trying to ask him out.
5 Sources and explanations:
Everything I wrote here in this Jeremy Renner short biography is from a personal perspective where I really like him because I can identify with him. It is based on extensive web research during which I read countless articles, interviews and watched almost everything on him available on YouTube.
One may think that all these characteristics I drew could be based on a carefully created image by Renner himself because that’s what movie stars do, and I do not personally know him. I would disagree. Jeremy Renner does not create a fake image. I can tell because I have some experience in life to know which movie star is faking an image and who is being genuine. Secondly, many of these things are said by Renner at multiple events, times and places with amazing clarity and consistency. Thirdly, even the industry experts have written columns where they mentioned Renner as someone who speaks from his heart and has skipped the self-editing classes. He is just raw and pure like gold.