From humble beginnings in Modesto, California, Jeremy Renner has become a household name and one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. His nuanced performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town made him the toast of the town and earned him two Oscar nominations. This praise eventually landed him a lucrative role in the MCU. But there's always a dark side to someone who plays such intense characters so well. What else is there to know about Jeremy Renner? Here’s 25 facts to get you started!
1. A Mixed Bag
Jeremy Renner has a rather long list when it comes to his ancestry. His grandparents and great-grandparents came to America from all over the globe. Renner can trace his roots back to places such as Germany, England, Scotland, Sweden, and Panama! Globetrotters before the Avengers even existed.
2. CSI: Modesto
Before he fell in love with acting, Jeremy Renner had a much different future in mind. In the early 1990s, Renner attended Modesto Junior College in California looking to earn a degree in computer science and criminology. The acting bug came out of nowhere: he needed to take an arts elective and thought the drama class looked fairly interesting. Guess he chose wisely!
3. Perfect Training
Jeremy Renner’s college years in computer science and criminology classrooms might seem pretty distant from acting, but the two did cross over at least once. Early on in his career, Renner landed a small guest role on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. I suppose you could say that his education really helped his *removes sunglasses* chops.
4. Glow Up
It was early days in Jeremy Renner’s career and he was desperate to make ends meet as an actor. He was landing small gigs on shows like Angel and The Time of Your Life, but this hardly paid the bills. So he decided to take up some work that might seem unexpected given his penchant for playing bruised and brooding men of action these days. For a few years in the early-2000s, Renner worked as a makeup artist!
5. I’d Kill for that Role
Jeremy Renner’s big break came in 2002 when he landed the role as Jeffrey Dahmer in the movie Dahmer. The film itself received fairly mixed reviews, but the one common denominator amongst reviewers was that Renner nailed the part. He was even nominated for Best Lead Male at the Independent Spirit Awards. Since then, Renner has admitted that he found it hard to cope with the role after he finished shooting the project.
It was widely rumored that Jeremy Renner had married Sonni Pacheco in secret around 2014. Pacheco was the mother to Renner’s daughter, Ava Berlin, and the two had been in a relationship for some time. But after the news was finally confirmed, the marriage didn’t last long. Sonni filed for divorce from Renner after only 10 months of marriage. The pair just couldn’t get along, and the separation was not all rainbows and sunshine. Pacheco requested that their prenup ought to be considered fraudulent and asked to have them absolved.
7. Easy Money
Before taking an acting class at Modesto Junior College, Jeremy Renner had discovered the acting bug when he was only trying to make some quick cash. He had signed up to role-play a domestic disturbance perpetrator for the Modesto police academy because it paid fifty bucks. But as he was performing the role, he realized that he actually had a bit of a gift for getting into other people’s shoes—even if those people weren't meant to be the nicest in the world!
8. They Should Call it the Unfunny Bone
Given his intense roles in films like The Avengers and The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner probably thought he would get a bit of a nice, relaxing break when shooting the 2018 comedy Tag. Well, turns out he was quite wrong about that assumption. While on set Renner managed to fracture both his left wrist and his right elbow. You’re it!
9. Long Lost Hustle
When Jeremy Renner worked alongside Jennifer Lawrence for the 2013 film American Hustle, two of Hollywood’s hottest stars were teaming up for a much anticipated movie that was getting a lot of Oscar-buzz. It was almost like fate! Perhaps it was—Ancestry.com discovered in 2015 that Renner and Lawrence were actually long-distance cousins. Both actors shared ancestry with a Kentucky farmer named Robert Tague, which makes them fifth cousins.
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10. That House is a Home
You would think Jeremy Renner would feel pretty settled, what with the millions of dollars he makes from the blockbuster films in which he stars. But a part of him is still grounded in the handiwork he was used to growing up. He currently owns and runs a house-renovating business with fellow-actor Kristoffer Ryan Winters, his long-time friend. Talk about getting the framing right.
11. Giving Back
After getting a sense of the trauma that soldiers suffer when filming The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner decided to find a way to give back to those in need in the armed forces. He became an Honorary Board member for TAPS. The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors is a service meant for those who lost a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. The program provides compassion and support to the families of soldiers who died whether or not they were in active service.
12. Jack of All Trades
On top of Jeremy Renner’s acting talents are a whole slew of other skills, especially when it comes to music. Renner is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He’s played guitar, keys, and drums in the band Sons of Ben and has even mixed his careers by showing up in a couple of music videos! You can see him in Pink’s music video for “Trouble,” as well as the video for the Brother Sal tune “Scenes on Sunset.”
13. Background Vocals
Jeremy Renner’s musical talents have managed to land him some extra credits for a few of the films that he has worked on. He wrote and performed the song “I Drink Alone” for the 2005 Oscar-winning film North Country, he provided a rendition of “American Pie” for 2006’s Love Comes to the Executioner, and he sang “Good Ole Rebel” for critical darling The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in the same year.
For celebrities, one of the biggest benefits to stardom can be newfound access to your favorite sports teams. In Jeremy Renner’s case, that means providing a voice for the San Francisco 49ers. Having grown up in Modesto, California, Renner has always been a huge 49ers fan and when the NFL Network approached him to narrate an episode on the team for their series The Timeline, he jumped at the chance. Renner can be heard narrating the episode entitled “A Tale of Two Cities.”
15. Art Imitates Life
During a car-chase scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Renner’s character, Hawkeye, goes on a long rant to Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow about wanting to remodel his house. The scene is a bit of an in-joke about Renner’s own renovation company, through which he maintains his hobby of renovating the homes of other celebrities in Hollywood!
16. A Bourne Fighter
Jeremy Renner really likes to make sure he’s prepared for the demands of any role that comes his way, and for the Mission Impossible and Avengers films that meant getting into fighting shape. As a way of mentally and physically preparing for the films, Renner decided to study two types of martial arts. First, he took up Arnis, which is a Filipino martial arts style, before learning Muay Thai. Not someone you want to pick a fight with!
17. Desert Island Film
Jeremy Renner has gone on record that Mel Gibson’s 1995 Oscar-winning epic Braveheart is his favorite movie of all time. “I like the graphic war element,” he remarked in an interview, “It takes place in Scotland and England, and I love English history.” He also cites the lush cinematography of John Toll as a standout for the film and admits he’s watched it over 30 times!
18. Out of the Frying Pan
While Jeremy Renner will always be grateful for the boost to his career that The Hurt Locker gave him, he isn’t so keen on replicating the experience of actually shooting the film. In interviews after the completion of the film, Renner has spoken about the brutal temperatures and conditions of filming in Jordan, especially since he had to walk around in a heavy bomb suit most of the time! He still has a fondness for the cast and crew, but said that the heat could sometimes bring things to a boil on set.
19. Getting Started
Jeremy Renner’s first major role in a film was not exactly an award-winner nor was it a blockbuster, which have both become synonymous with his name nowadays. Instead, he found his way onto the cast of a National Lampoon farce. In 1995, Renner made his film debut on Senior Trip, a….not very good movie, if we’re being honest.
20. Award Winner
Jeremy Renner got his first taste of award season success when he starred in the 2002 indie film Neo Ned alongside Gabrielle Union. In the film, Renner played a reforming skinhead and received heaps of praise for his performance. Neo Ned swept the awards that it was nominated for along the film festival circuit and it was really the first time that Hollywood started to take notice of Renner’s budding talents. It became a major starting point for some of his bigger roles in films like S.W.A.T. in the next few years.
21. Always a Bridesmaid
For his intense yet understated performances, Jeremy Renner has garnered a lot of critical attention in his career. He’s even been nominated twice for the Oscars. His first nomination was for Best Actor, which he received for his work on The Hurt Locker in 2008, his second was for a supporting role in the brooding crime thriller, The Town, in 2010. He missed out on both statues, though, but if he keeps up his track record, he’s bound to snag Oscar one of these days!
22. Super Alumni
For many, especially for Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker was the springboard for a blockbuster career in Hollywood. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that the film features so many of the same actors that went on to play roles in the biggest film franchise in history! Renner, along with co-stars Guy Pierce, Anthony Mackie, and Evangeline Lilly, have all gone on to take up roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Hurt Locker is considerably more…realistic with its action, that’s for sure!
23. To the Bone
In order to properly portray the tense, real-life situations of American bomb disposal units deployed in Iraq, Kathryn Bigelow tried to make The Hurt Locker as authentic as possible. That included suiting up star-man Jeremy Renner in a real bomb disposal suit. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the filming process, Renner frequently faced heat exhaustion thanks to the labor of walking around in the suit for days on end. Grueling!
24. One Last Job?
Having already become used to working towards authentic recreations in The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner felt he needed to do the same for Ben Affleck’s heist film The Town. So, naturally, Renner turned to some primary sources when researching his role. He decided to live for a short while in Charlestown where he met frequently with real convicted bank robbers. He wanted to get some real-life insight into the tensions of the crime while also getting a good grip on the Boston accent. It worked! He received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
25. Custody Nightmare
Renner and his ex-wife have been locked in a brutal custody battle for the better part of the decade. The messy legal snafu has led to some truly disturbing revelations. According to legal documents, Pachecho has alleged that Renner would throw wild, debaucherous parties while he was looking after their daughter. This included a specific night in which their daughter came downstairs to look for her father—while Renner was passed out with two women in a hot tub.