Jeremy Renner's Reality Check

'For most of my career I was in movies where nobody saw them,' the 'Hansel and Gretel' star says of his pre-blockbuster work.

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Jeremy Renner Facts
8 things to know about the two-time Oscar nominee. Read More »

It was a long time in the wilderness before Jeremy Renner’s career took off.

Guest starring on series TV like The Net, followed by movies like zombie thriller 28 Weeks Later, Renner made his break in the sleeper hit The Hurt Locker, and later, The Town, both of which garnered him Oscar nods.

“For most of my career I was in movies where nobody saw them or had the opportunity,” Renner told reporters. “It’s really great because you put in this much hard work on any movie - they’re not easy, y’know."

"So it’s a really, really wonderful feeling to have people be with you and see all the hard work you’ve put into them.”

Coming soon are dramatic roles in James Gray’s Lowlife and David O. Russell’s planned Abscam movie, about a congressional corruption scandal. But it’s not just prestige films Renner has been chasing in recent years. He also has The Avengers 2, Mission: Impossible 4 (and possibly 5) and this week, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. A twist on the classic fairytale, the brother and sister duo have grown up to form a team bent on eradicating villages of witches, ogres and other paranormal undesirables.

Joining Renner is Gemma Atherton as Gretel, and Famke Janssen as uber-witch, Muriel, who employs all her supernatural strengths against their crossbows, knuckle-dusters and six shooters.

“She’s our number one villain,” Renner said of Janssen, who played a memorable ass kicker as Jean Grey/ Phoenix in X-Men and Bond girl Xenia Onatopp in Goldeneye. “It’s a bit more western in its sort of fighting tactics and that sort of thing.”

A graduate of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, Renner first gained attention for his portrayal of serial killer Jeffery Dahmer in 2002’s Dahmer, but has since made a name for himself in action movies.

“I like the idea of being challenged physically, for sure, but there’s got to be some emotional complexities to the character as well,” he explained. “But yeah, there seems to be a through-line to the last handful of movies that are physical but I don’t necessarily look for a job that’s physical.”

Renner loves actions scenes just as much as the next guy, but the most important elements to any project are director, costar and script. A great director and cast have little chance of salvaging a mediocre screenplay. And a great script in the wrong hands can make a terrible movie. And if by chance a compelling script lands in the hands of a great director, an egocentric costar can easily compound the difficulties on an arduous shoot.

“It takes it all to have a chance to make a good movie. To make something people want to see, something compelling, thoughtful, it takes something real,” he said.

“But the main thing to me is yes, the director, the story, the characters, it’s very important - then actors I can learn from. It’s all really important.”

Watch the trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters below, and then let us know in the comments section: what do you think of Renner as a movie star? Is he cut out to join Hollywood's A-list?

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