Action superstar Jeremy Renner used to be afraid of guns, but after training for various movies he “found a love for them.”
Renner, who has starred in blockbuster titles like “The Hurt Locker” and the newest installations of the “Mission: Impossible” series, sat down with Playboy to talk about his real-life connections to the fictional characters he plays on-screen.
“Are you anywhere near as fearless as those characters?” Playboy asked.
“Fear is a huge part of most people’s lives,” said Renner. “It’s a very oppressive human emotion, the most powerful human emotion. Every day from when I was 22 to 32, I deliberately and consciously did things to fight fear. Things I was afraid of, like guns, sharks, heights, success, intimacy? I’ve checked those off the list. Even in the beginning of my career, my confidence always came from being fearless. I always went in to auditions with the attitude ‘I dare you not to cast me.’ I went in and did what I thought was honest, truthful and just different. Maybe it was wrong. I didn’t care. Maybe they thought it was the worst. I didn’t care. I just went in, and still go in, with absolute fearlessness. It’s my strength as an actor.”
“You mentioned guns. Many of your characters use them. Are you still afraid?” said Playboy.
“A gun is really easy and terrifying thing to be afraid of,” Renner replied. “I like guns now, but I have only a couple – a couple at this structure and one at another. I got good at them, and then I found a love for them.”
“Do you carry a gun?” said Playboy.
“No. For me it’s for home protection or sport shooting or target practice,” Renner offered. “I’m not a hunter. I spent a lot of time training for movies, shooting and getting comfortable with weapons. There’s no fear for me ever in a weapon now. I also have a few swords, but that’s because of what they mean to me; there’s a lot of history behind them. They’re all tucked away and hidden now that I have a baby.”
While Renner has a love for firearms, he also starred in a PSA called “Demand a Plan,” which came out shortly after Sandy Hook in 2012. Some Second Amendment advocates chastised Renner’s involvement with the PSA, and the actor later released a personal statement on his website.
“We all want to point a finger, to place blame, and look for answers when we feel attacked or afraid, which is a natural human reaction,” Renner wrote. “But I know there is no single solution to remedy what has been done or to prevent any future tragedies. Taking guns from people is no answer. I own guns and want to keep it that way. But guns don’t kill people… people kill people. Blaming movies or video games I no actionable solution.”
Renner’s newest film, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” debuts July 30.
(The following was a submission by freelance writer Brent Rogers, H/T: Joey Clementine)