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article imageStar Jeremy Renner talks Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Special

By Earl Dittman     Apr 10, 2012 in Entertainment
For the fourth installment of Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible franchise, Ghost Protocal, two-time Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner was enlisted to join the thrilling actioner. He chats about his time in MI4 plus The Bourne Legacy and The Avengers.
It's only a few short weeks before the December 21, 2011 opening of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the third sequel of producer/leading man/global superstar Tom Cruise's highly successful action franchise (based on the long-running 60's TV series), and selected members of the press have been invited to view a mere 20 minutes of the film. Even with only a short peak at the film, it's obvious the Brad Bird-directed Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is packed with Cruise's trademark, jaw-dropping chases, dazzling special effects and mind-blowing physical stunts.
Once the 20 minute preview is over, Jeremy Renner, the Oscar-nominated star of both The Hurt Locker and The Town, and the newest member of Mission Impossible's fictional IMF espionage team, is ushered into a meeting room to discuss his involvement with the then soon-to-be-released blockbuster. Affable yet intense, the critically-acclaimed actor begins by discussing his new MI character, Will Brandt, Chief Analyst for the IMF, followed by his thoughts and stories of working with Cruise, particularly on the film's most spectacular stunt that had Renner and Cruise filming at the largest building in Dubai and Cruise scaling the outside of the hotel from vomit-inducing heights.
Tom Cruise s death-defying stunt in Dubai
Tom Cruise's death-defying stunt in Dubai
In Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (coming to Blu-ray and DVD) after a terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt is disavowed along with the rest of the agency when the President initiates "Ghost Protocol." Left without any resources or backup, Ethan must find a way to clear his agency’s name and prevent another attack. To complicate matters further, Ethan is forced to embark on this mission with a team of fellow IMF fugitives whose personal motives he does not fully know. Tom Cruise is back, of course, as Ethan Hunt and is joined by an international cast that includes Renner, Simon Pegg (Star Trek) Paula Patton (Precious), Michael Nyqvist (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and Josh Holloway. (Lost).
In addition to his running and jumping in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Renner also previews his slew of upcoming projects, including his leading man recruitment in The Bourne Legacy (sans Matt Damon) and his role as Hawkeye in the highly-anticipated motion picture The Avengers.
Jeremy Renner with Tom Cruise  Paula Patton and Simon Pegg
Jeremy Renner with Tom Cruise, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg
Since your character, Will Brandt is sort of the new team member who thinks all of this IMF stuff is kind of crazy -- is that a fun position to be in?
"Well, I mean, it was fun to play the character. It is a, I guess a little, slightly different approach, because I had no more information than you do at this point. You saw 20 minutes or so, right? Yeah. When you see the movie, there’s these other things. So it was a gray, sort of complex character to jump into. And nothing is as it seems in a spy movie. And this certainly delivers that, I think. So I guess, was that more the appeal, the opportunity to do something duplicitous, that you could go either way."
Do you like playing these kind of characters?
"Yeah. Yeah. I mean, 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 if or whatever it is, but yeah, I mean, I like those parts."
Is it comforting to sort of walk into a franchise that has an established sort of lead? I mean, does that give you an advantage, or is there a challenge in sort of distinguishing yourself, when Tom Cruise is sort of leading the charge, in a way?
"No, 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. So, kind of going into that is pretty exciting. And getting the opportunity to work with Tom is really exciting. And then having a part that is worthy. I don’t know, I thought it was complex enough to go do. I had a lot of fun."
Given the fact that each of these films are kind of independent of one another, and you have a new director with Brad Bird, did you guys feel like you had to take a crash course in what these movies are about -- what’s involved in these movies? Or were you guys sort of creating from the ground up -- your own thing?
"Well, I think that’s...well, a lot of things. (laughs) You know, I was a fan of the franchise to begin with. And so I was very aware of everything. And then re-watching it all again, which was informative, now it’s sort of, now that I know that I’m part of it. But you know, like you said, they’re all very separate movies, you know. Tom never wanted to do a franchise or to do a sequel to any movie, and he hasn’t, except for Mission Impossible, which is his baby. And he’s always had directors come on that had a very specific sort of vision for it that keep them kind of separate, as movies on their own, stand-alone movies -- that if you didn’t see the first two, the third one still all makes sense. And the only through-line is, you know, Tom’s character for the most part. There’s been characters that have trickled in and out, but with this one, having Brad come in and have his sort of slant with the gadgets and the attention to detail and character, which brings tension and cutting tension with comedy. And you have Simon Pegg there for that, which is awesome, you know. Brad Bird is all over this movie. If you’ve seen The Incredibles or any of those movies, you definitely see that in this"
Jeremy Renner with Patton and Pegg
Jeremy Renner with Patton and Pegg
I was only shown about 20 minutes of the film and didn't get to see all of the movie, so what will happen with your character? Can you share anything else about the movie?
"Ha! Well, I can’t; that’s giving away the movie. (laughs) I’m not going to tell you if I live or die, if I’m good or bad. I might create more questions than answers for you. 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 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 sort of 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, like all four characters are very strong archetypes and how they play off each other ends up being really, is 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."
Tom Cruise is known for his enthusiasm for doing his own stunts. Are you that way, as well?
"Umm, I don’t know if I have -- yeah, yeah, I mean, I’m -- yes, I’m enthusiastic about it. I don’t know? Yeah. 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, to go -- the opportunity to do the stunts and to do the things that we were able to do this movie -- people don’t get that opportunity. 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 because -- to have fun -- but it just becomes sort of icing on the cake for, to help, you know, Brad Bird tell the story."
Even though you don’t get to be the guy out on the building in Dubai?
"And happily!" (laughs)
What’s it’s like to be up there in that room in the Dubai hotel, looking out the window and just be involved in that sequence?
"It’s one of those things, like if you 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, you get paralyzed and you can’t move, and you just watch it come at you -- it’s one of those things. 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 it hung out, 30 seconds of near vomiting almost happened, but then once that went away -- and Tom was laughing, 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.' But once that went away -- he was right. It was like, 'This is beautiful.' I mean, it was fantastic. And once all the fear went away and all that stuff, it became, you know a really amazing experience. But before that, the anticipation of it all was terrifying."
Renner and Cruise filming outside the tallest building in Dubai
Renner and Cruise filming outside the tallest building in Dubai
You describe your character, Will, as a desk jockey. I mean, how much physical stuff do you have or get to do? And then how much training do you have to do, even if your character is maybe not supposed to be maybe as physical as Ethan?
"Yeah, I mean, just stretching kind of winded me, starting this movie. So I had a long curve to get ahead. After The Town, I didn’t do anything physical; I didn’t break a sweat for a year, until Mission. And so we had to, I had to make up for lost time and spend like five hours a day learning certain disciplines, like Moi Tai and Filipino stick fighting and all this sort of random stuff that I never thought I’d learn, which was, you know, a blast. And then there’s stuff on a wire, you have to sort of prepare your body for, certain pick points and stuff, and trigger points in your body. I mean, I know much more about my body than I ever wanted to. But, yeah, it’s a very physical thing and you have to treat it like you’re a professional athlete."
Was getting involved in three different franchises part of the plan?
"I don’t know whose plan -- maybe, but not my plan. But it just sort of happened to come that way."
Did doing Mission Impossible kind of prep you for the next Bourne film?
"Oh, yeah, all of them Tom has prepared me for, especially Bourne, but also Hansel and Gretel and then The Avengers. For (The) Bourne (Legacy), I've learned about the sort of mental place to be, to know when you’re doing an action sequence -- 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 to, just prevent injuries. And Tom introduced me to some really great physiotherapists and that sort of thing, to prepare my body for that sort of torture."
Are you are currently filming The Bourne Legacy?
"The Bourne Legacy, I’m currently shooting, yes -- until February."
Tom Cruise scaling the Dubai hotel
Tom Cruise scaling the Dubai hotel
Could you share something about the project?
"Yeah; but I’m going to have to kill you. (laughs) The ending, there’s, you know, because we’re in the middle of shooting it, you know, I can’t say a whole lot about it. But what I can clarify, that there’s been some confusion about, that I was taking over for Matt, and there’s no taking over for Matt. Matt Damon will always be Jason Bourne to that franchise. But the writer is consistent through them all, the same writer, and he’s also our director on this one. And so there’ll be, for the fan base that likes that type of movie, it’ll be -- the continuity of that, the pace of it, the way it’s shot, just everything about it is -- you’ll know it’s a Bourne movie. There’s just going to be different faces. There’s going to be Ed Norton and Rachel Weisz, which are, you know, some of the most talented actors out there. But it’ll be just a different program and different spies, essentially. But it has that same sort of pace to it."
Have you spoken to Matt?
"Oh, yeah. Yeah."
And what did he say? What advice did he give you?
"I don’t know? I mean, he’s such a cool, grounded guy that he’s, you know, it’s sort of like how do you give advice to somebody on something? If anything, he said, 'Just listen to your guys that know what they’re doing.' You know? He’s worked with Dan Bradley, who did all the action on all the Bourne movies. He’s actually our Second Unit Director on Mission. And so I was, you know, happy to know that he was part of this Bourne movie. And so he’s the guy with, you know, if you’re doing action, you’re working with Dan Bradley. 'So,' he says, 'like, just trust that guy.' I’m like, 'Oh, yeah, perfect. You don’t have to tell me. I’ve already worked with him. He’s awesome.' So, yeah. Because he’s going to ask you to do some really terrifying things. And you can just trust that it’s all, all right."
Are you filming The Bourne Legacy in L.A.?
"Oh, wow, no, I haven’t filmed in L.A. in geez since 2002. No, we’re in New York, we just finished. We go to Calgary, and then we go to the Philippines."
And how do you feel playing one of the superheroes -- Hawkeye -- in sure to be mega-hit The Avengers?
"You know, it’s a great -- like, it’s an amazing cast. And I wish I got to do more with them. But you know, I had fun with the people I did get to work with."
Tom Cruise s death-defying stunt in Dubai
Tom Cruise's death-defying stunt in Dubai
With The Avengers, it seems like Marvel (Comics Films) has afforded a somewhat unique opportunity where you got to set up a character in someone else’s movie for a brief scene, and then really establish your own character. Is that a unique opportunity for an actor?
"Umm, yeah, but it’s actually difficult because, you know, there’s not a lot to do, like in Thor, it’s like, you know, just stand in a bucket and hold my bow and arrow. That guy, 'Well, what’s the character?' I have no idea. I was thrown into that, you know, very quickly. Am I trapping myself by anything? I don’t know? So, yeah, it’s a little strange. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. I mean, I don’t think I’d go about it normally that way, but it was certainly a different way to kind of go about taking on a role."
Did it end up trapping you in anything?
"No, no, it was so small and miniscule, that it was just, you know, saying a few lines. And I think, I felt like it would be hard to screw up, you know."
After playing in The Hurt Locker and The Town, both of those characters are very sort of unpredictable, spontaneous characters. Do you have to be careful to not choose that similar kind of role, even if it’s going to be sort of different -- to make sure that you’re not, say, typecast or people don’t just look at you?
"I think that’s where, you know, real life and cinema kind of blend for me. I like to play unpredictable characters, and I like to be unpredictable in what movie I’ll do. I want to skip to work. I don’t want to repeat anything. So yeah, what the future holds, I don’t know? But that’s what I like. I’ll take any risks there is, so I’m not concerned about what people think or what they want. And what matters to me is, you know, learning and growing and getting to skip to work and do what I love to do. As long as I can do that, I’m happy."
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol Limited Edition 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Bonus Features:
Documentaries and featurettes -- "Mission Accepted," "Suiting Up In Prague," "Heating Up In Dubai," "Vancouver Fisticuffs," "Impossible Missions," "The Russian Prison," "Shooting in IMAX," "Art Department," "A Roll of Film," "Life Masks," "Stepping into the Storm," "The Sandstorm," "Dubai Car Crash," "Lens on the Burj," "Props" and "Composer"; Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by director Brad Bird; An Alternate Opening and Trailers. (Available April 17, 2012)
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Official You Tube clips - and * Official WB Shop Link - * Official Facebook -
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Freed from his exile on Earth, the third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) takes Jo (Katy Manning) on a test flight in the TARDIS, landing aboard SS Bernice, a cargo ship that appears to be crossing the Indian Ocean in 1926. As events take a dangerous and unexpected twist, it seems that their fate lies in the hands of a traveling showman named Vorg and his assistant Shirna, who have just arrived on the distant planet of Inter Minor with an amazing intergalactic peepshow called the Miniscope. This digitally remastered special edition of the Doctor Who classic includes several Bonus Features: Audio Commentary by Actor Katy Manning and Producer Barry Letts; Audio Commentary By Actors Peter Halliday, Cheryl Hall, Jenny McCracken and Special Sounds Creator Brian Hodgson; Episode Two - Early Edit Longer; Un-restored Version; “Destroy All Monsters!” - Making Of With Katy Manning, Cheryl Hall, Peter Halliday Barry Letts, Terrance Dicks, Karilyn Collier and Colin Mapson; “On Target With Ian Marter” - Retrospective of the Actor and Novelist; The A-Z Of Gadgets And Gizmos; Mary Celeste - Experts Discuss Historical Disappearances; Behind The Scenes; Visual Effects Models; Trailer; Director's Amended Ending; CSO Demo; TARDIS Cam2; Photo Gallery; PDF Materials: Radio Times Listings and Production Notes.
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