Jeremy Lee Renner, son of Valerie and Lee, was born in Modesto, California. After a tumultuous yet happy childhood with four younger siblings, Renner graduated from Beyer High School and attended Modesto Junior College. He explored several areas of study, including computer science, criminology, and psychology, before the theater department, with its freedom of emotional expression, drew him in.
However, Renner recognized the potential in acting as much through the local police academy as through drama classes. During his second year at Modesto Junior College, Renner role-played a domestic disturbance perpetrator as part of a police-training exercise for an easy $50. Deciding to shift his focus away from schoolwork, Renner left college and moved to San Francisco to study at the American Conservatory Theater. From there he moved to Hawaii and, in 1993, to Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, Renner devoted himself to theater, most notably starring in and co-directing the critically acclaimed "Search and Destroy." He pursued other projects during this time as well, landing his first film role in 1995's Senior Trip (1995). After several commercials and supporting roles in television movies and series, Renner captured the attention of critics with his gripping, complex portrayal of the infamous serial killer in the 2002 film Dahmer (2002). Renner's performance, which earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination, is especially remarkable for painting a humane and sympathetic, yet deeply disturbing, portrait of the title character.
In 2003, Renner took a break from small indie films to work on his first commercially successful movie, S.W.A.T. (2003), with Colin Farrell. In 2005, he played the leading role in Neo Ned (2005) as an institutionalized white supremacist in love with a black girl, winning the Palm Beach International Film Festival's best actor award. Renner's pivotal supporting roles in 2005's Twelve and Holding (2005) and North Country (2005) earned him accolades from critics, and his 2007 turn in Take (2007) garnered him the best actor award at California's Independent Film Festival. Also in 2007, Renner played a leading role in the horror film 28 Weeks Later (2007) as well as a supporting role in the underrated Western epic The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), with Casey Affleck, Brad Pitt, and Sam Rockwell.
Renner's depiction of Jeffrey Dahmer in 2002 caught the attention of director Kathryn Bigelow, and, in 2008, she cast him in his most famous role as Sergeant First Class William James in The Hurt Locker (2008). Renner's performance as a single-minded bomb specialist scored him an Academy Award nomination for best actor. He also earned best actor nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, and the BAFTA Awards, as well as wins in this category from several film critics groups.
In 2009, Renner starred in the short-lived TV series, "The Unusuals" (2009), and in 2010 he played the chilling but loyal criminal Jem in Ben Affleck bank-heist thriller The Town (2010). In the fall of 2010, Renner began filming Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011), scheduled for release in 2011.
Renner's strengths as an actor derive not only from his expressive eyes but also from his ability to thoroughly embody the characters he portrays. His visceral depiction of these individuals captivates audiences and empowers him to steal scenes in many of his films, even when playing a minor role. Renner gravitates toward flawed, complicated, three-dimensional characters that allow him to explore new territory within himself.
In addition to his work as an actor, Renner continues to cultivate his lifelong love of music. A singer, songwriter, and musician, he performed with the band Sons of Ben early in his career. Scenes in Love Comes to the Executioner (2006), North Country (2005), and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) briefly showcase Renner's singing talents.
Despite traveling the world for film roles and, recently, as a United Nations Goodwill Peace Ambassador to raise awareness for mine-clearing efforts in Afghanistan, Renner remains close to his roots. In 2010, Modesto Junior College presented him the Distinguished Alumnus award in recognition of his body of work as an actor. He also headlined at a benefit for Modesto's Gallo Center for the Arts in the fall of 2010.
Renner maintains a sense of humility and gratitude, even in the wake of his recent successes and recognition. He keeps himself grounded by renovating and restoring old and rundown iconic Hollywood homes, an enterprise he began back in his early days in Los Angeles. He values loyalty and a sense of both age and history, and enjoys the opportunity to help conserve these qualities in a town that favors the young and the new.
Deeply intense understated performances
Intense emotional performances
Gruff yet soft voice
Frequently plays violent or unstable characters
He received the Best Actor Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival for his title role in Neo Ned (2005).
He received the Hollywood Life's "Break Through Performance of the Year" for his role as Brian Gamble in the movie S.W.A.T. (2003).
Was approached to play the role of Derek in Hero Wanted (2008) but couldn't due to prior filming commitments.
One of Variety's Top Ten Actors to Watch (2009).
Graduate of Beyer High School, Modesto, CA.
Good friends with Charlize Theron.
Eldest of 6 children, 2 sisters, 3 brothers. His youngest brother was born in 2011 making Jeremy a new big brother at age 40.
His mother accompanied him to the Oscars in 2010 and 2011.
Good friends with Colin Farrell.
Invited to join AMPAS in 2010.
Has a passion for real estate/buying and renovating properties, with friend and business partner Kristoffer Ryan Winters.
Attended Modesto Junior College in Modesto, CA.
Became a first time father with model Sonni Pacheco to daughter Ava Berlin Renner, born March 28 2013.
'Braveheart' pops into my mind. I like the graphic war element. It takes place in Scotland and England, and I love English history. (Cinematographer) John Toll is amazing. It's a gorgeous film. I've seen it 35 times.
[on shooting The Hurt Locker (2008) in the unbearable heat of Jordan] We were already pushed to the limits. People wanted to quit. All the departments were struggling to get their jobs done, none of them were communicating. There was a lot of fighting going on. The heat does something to your brain, and on top of that I was in this bomb suit and I had explosive diarrhoea, so I was like: 'Get this thing off me!' I wanted to punch people. You could not pay me enough money to do it again.
[2009, on his childhood] My sister was the complete opposite, she had a hard time growing up, and I was just always the happy kid. I played the drums, had my mullet, drove around on my motorcycle making out with chicks, just having a good ol' time. But it just happened while growing up - all these divorces, separations, moving to a different school every year - that things started to take a toll. The stage became a great playground for me to express feelings, and in my household there wasn't a place for me to do that. It was a great venue for me to hide in a character and express rage and sadness, and I created these really disturbed, complicated characters.
 Most people my age - and I'm going to my twenty-year reunion next weekend - they're all three divorces deep, and if they're happy, right on. But that just wasn't the path I wanted to go on. I was just getting into trouble, drinking, and doing stupid things until I stumbled onto acting class my junior year in college. The sense of self, the purpose. It opened this Pandora's box of emotions and it went from there.
[on working with Ben Affleck on The Town] It was a lot of fun. We had a blast. It was like shooting a short film with one of your good buddies. He set a really good tone on the set, just really affable as a human being. He made it very pleasant for everyone...I always knew he was smart, because I'd see him on interviews and he was such a charming dude. And every day, I was surprised by just how smart he is. He's almost autistically smart, the guy is. It's ridiculous. And so experienced in the industry. He's obviously been through a lot, as an actor, as a writer, in good and bad ways. With that experience, he's very wise to a lot of things. And it's invaluable.
[on playing Jeffrey Dahmer] Well you know it happened so fast...it was the complete opposite of the Hurt Locker where I had time to prepare. I mean, I didn't even know who Jeffrey Dahmer was, and then four days later after reading the script we're shooting principal photography, and two weeks later we're done. It was such a whirlwind.... I mean to relate to that experience, I had to do a lot of work and allow myself to go places that were a little scary. You know when you play a guy like that it allows you the freedom to explore really weird parts about you. And it's ok. In order to really get it, I've got to allow myself to go there.
[2009, on his love of music] I started as a young man, as a drummer, then moved to guitar, and piano so I could song-write. I was always a singer. But I was always focused on being an actor as my trade. Music I do just for me. The movie business is very difficult but the music business is just impossible. So I'll play in bands and record and play songs with other people, but for me it's a form of expression that all I need is me. I don't need cameras or agents, I can just have a piano and sing and feel totally verified...I'm actually looking to do a project where I could really try to explore that a little bit more in cinema, a rock star or something. I'd really, really love to do that.
[2009, on studio execs] I think it's standard for the industry, that people aren't that imaginative. And, you know, I understand it. Name an actor...like, you think of Bruce Willis, you think of Die Hard and all those movies and that thousand-yard stare. Well, he's a better actor than that. But you kind of have to prove that to them - what else you can do and what else you are - or they won't think that about you. Nor should they!
[on fear] That emotion even conquers love, and that makes me sad. [on having spent eight years trying to analyze the roots of his own fear(s)] Finding out what I was afraid of, what stops you in your life, what gets in the way. Fear is just not a part of my life - so much so that if it's involved in somebody else's life and they're close to me, I won't be around them.
I want my personal life to be personal ... And I don't care if you're talking about things that are true, you're still talking about my personal life. How about I go peek in your window, take what underwear you wore last night, whose husband you were fucking, and shove that in the megaphone throughout your neighborhood? How does that feel? It's none of your goddamn business.
[on deciding whether or not to do The Bourne Legacy (2012)] It was a game-changer in anonymity, and I like my private life and my family. I had to consider how this was going to affect everyone I love -- especially myself.
[on one Christmas Eve, when he was with his family in a bar] This guy chokes me with the scarf I was wearing. He called me a fag 'cause I was wearing a scarf! Then he shoved my sister and I got behind him and I choked him out - put him to sleep. [without any irony] I'm not violent.
[on filming The Hurt Locker (2008)] People had full-on mental breakdowns; I did. Pure loneliness, that's what it came down to. It was a whole rainbow of good and bad.
The Avengers (2012) was the first big movie I signed on to. It was something Zak Penn was the writer on; he's a friend. Then I met [Marvel Studios president and Avengers producer] Kevin Feige, and Zak was really pushing, saying 'You guys have got to hire Renner.'
|The Hurt Locker (2008)||$65,000|
|The Bourne Legacy (2012)||$5 million|
(January 2005) Currently working on his new movie, North Country.
(April 2007) In Tucson, Arizona, filming Snappers.
(March 2008) Back in Los Angeles after shooting "The Hurt Locker" in Jordan.
(September 2010) Gearing up to begin production on Mission Impossible 4.
(January 2012) Manila, The Philippines: Started filming for "Bourne Legacy".
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