“I used to get cast and play bad guys because I make them likeable. And I’m not quite sure, maybe you’d like this guy but people usually hate this guy. But you might love to hate him. He’s kind of a despicable character.” Jeremy Renner
Arriving in Los Angeles in 1995, Jeremy Renner made his feature debut in the critically-panned teen comedy National Lampoon's Senior Trip before garnering praise for his turn in the dark comedy Fish in a Barrel (2001). Frequently cast as bad guys, he gained even more recognition while portraying real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Dahmer (2002), Colin Farrell's ex-partner turned bad guy in S.W.A.T. (2003) and the titular role in the indie film Neo Ned (2005). Next, the 5' 10" player, who also appeared in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004) and North Country (2005), will star in the upcoming films 28 Weeks Later, The Assassination of Jesse James, and Snappers.
Childhood and Family:
In Modesto, California, Jeremy Lee Renner was born on January 7, 1971, to parents Lee and Val. The oldest of five children, Jeremy has three younger sisters and one younger brother. When he is not on set, Jeremy enjoys karaoke in local nightspots.
Bitten by the acting bug while playing the scarecrow in his high school production of "Wizard of Oz," Jeremy Renner, a college graduate, made a move to Los Angeles and received good reviews for playing the lead role in the play "Search and Destroy" (1995), which he also co-directed. That same year, he also landed his feature debut in the critically-panned teen comedy National Lampoon's Senior Trip, alongside Matt Frewer, Valerie Mahaffey, Lawrence Dane and Thomas Chong.
Following his big screen debut, Jeremy spent the rest of the decade primarily on television, guest starring in an episode of UPN’s sci-fi show "Deadly Games," the Fox series "Strange Luck," the WB teen sitcom "Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane," USA Network's drama "The Net" and Fox's "Time of Your Life." He also appeared in the made-for-television movies A Friend's Betrayal (1996) and A Nightmare Come True (1997). He only appeared in one film during this time, the low-budget Paper Dragons (1996).
In the new millennium, Jeremy portrayed a memorable guest role as Penn, an ex-Puritan turned menacing vampire, on the popular WB supernatural drama series "Angel." Meanwhile, he appeared on TV commercials for Coors Light Beer, Duracell Ultra Batteries, Aquafina, Kia and 7-Eleven.
Jeremy won a Best Supporting Actor award at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival for his performance in writer-director-actor Kent Dalian's dark comedy Fish in a Barrel (2001). He followed it up in 2002 with his portrayal of real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the biopic helmed by David Jacobson, Dahmer, which earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor.
The subsequent year, he was cast opposite Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson in Clark Johnson's big budget action-crime film adaptation of the 1970s TV series, S.W.A.T. (2003). His performance as former L.A.P.D. officer Brian Gamble, Farrell's ex-partner turned bad guy, in the film later received the Hollywood Life's Break Through Performance of the Year. Also in that year, he appeared as a sheriff in Pink's music video "Trouble."
After collaborating with Italian actress/director Asia Argento in her film version of J.T. LeRoy's novel, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004), Jeremy received the Best Actor Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival for his title role in the indie film Neo Ned (2005), in which a white neo-Nazi falls for a young black woman (played by Gabrielle Union) who believes she is the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler.
2005 also saw Jeremy’s three films screened at that year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Niki Caro's true event-based North Country (2005), Baltasar Kormákur's drama thriller A Little Trip to Heaven (2005; Jeremy co-starred as Julia Stiles’ husband) and Michael Cuesta's sophomore feature Twelve and Holding (2005; with Zoe Weizenbaum and Annabella Sciorra). In the Academy Award-nominated film North Country, based on the case Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co., Jeremy played an iron mine worker named Bobby Sharp, opposite Academy Award winner Charlize Theron.
“I play Bobby Sharp, who works at the iron mine. He works in this area called the Powder Room. It’s pretty much where Charlize comes to work. He becomes her boss and they have a past. They were in high school together and had sort of kind of a fling. They share a secret that they’ve held for maybe 10 years later or so. 15 years later, when they come to work this mine, he kind of inappropriately flirts with her. He thinks it’s harmless, but it’s inappropriate in a verbal, emotional sort of harassment. (It’s) making light of the situation.” Jeremy Renner (on North Country (2005)
Afterward, he was seen in writer-director Kyle Bergersen's dark romantic comedy Love Comes to the Executioner (2006) and starred as a gambling addict (opposite Minnie Driver) in writer-director Charles Oliver's dramatic film, Take (2007). His latest film, 28 Weeks Later..., a British film by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and sequel to Danny Boyle’s 2002 film 28 Days Later, is to be released on May 11, 2007. In the film, he stars as U.S. Army Rangers leader Sergeant Doyle, alongside Harold Perrineau Jr, Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne and Catherine McCormack.
“I knew that Brad (Pitt) was playing Jesse. I knew Dominik was (involved). I loved his movie ‘Chopper’ so I wanted to work with him. I think every actor on it read for every role. It was this huge casting fiasco, really. It finally came together months and months later. They were pulling people off the street to try and find Bob Ford, you know, which is like one of the main characters in the movie. It was an epic sort of casting process and then once everyone got locked in and signed on, it was fine. We can make this thing happen.” Jeremy Renner (on being cast in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
Jeremy has wrapped up an upcoming drama film directed by Australian director Andrew Dominik, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, based on the critically acclaimed and popular novel by Ron Hansen. In the film, which stars Brad Pitt in the title role of America's most notorious outlaw, Jeremy portrays Robert Woodson "Wood" Hite, Frank and Jesse James' first cousin. He said, “I play a character, Wood Hite, who is Jesse James’ cousin. And there’s probably like five guys, six guys in the James gang: the James’ brothers, Dick Liddil and Wood Hite. And, yeah, I think he’s the moral backbone of the piece. Maybe not the most charismatic, he’s kind of like a grumpy old man. Even though he’s an outlaw, he has some moral fiber to him.”
Soon, Jeremy will complete Jeff Balsmeyer's comedy film, Snappers, which also stars Dallas Roberts, Ayelet July Zurer, Marguerite Moreau and Judith Scott.
- Palm Beach International Film Festival: Best Actor, Neo Ned, 2006
- New York International Independent Film & Video Festival: Best Supporting Actor, Fish in a Barrel, 2001