Bourne Legacy: Interview with Jeremy Renner
Building on the foundation of the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum, writer/director Tony Gilroy expands the saga with an original story that reveals a larger conspiracy. Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach, Oscar Isaac, Joan Allen, Albert Finney, David Strathairn, Oscar Isaac, and Scott Glenn, “The Bourne Legacy” pulls back the curtain to expose a darker layer of intrigue, a deeper mythology, and a new hero who must battle to stay alive when his program suddenly becomes a liability.
New Directions, Previous Influences
Renner: What Matt Damon did, and what the previous directors have done, was great. For those who love the franchise, I’m not replacing Matt, nor would I want to. It would never have been interesting if I was taking over and playing the same character. Matt is always the face of Jason Bourne and always should be. I liked this script because it was a very interesting way of continuing the story while honoring what came before.
Themes in the Film
Renner: This film has a whole new spin on why these supersoldier spies are the way they are now. I hope I can bring a fresh perspective to it… I t doesn’t veer into the CGI world or massive explosions. It stays authentic. It was important for me to want to find humanity within this character.
Weisz: [My and Renner’s characters] incredibly driven in very different ways. Marta and Aaron come from completely different backgrounds, and they end up relying on one another for different reasons. That’s a really fascinating way to create a story.
Keach: The great thing about this franchise is the amazing balance between action, adventure, intrigue and suspense. You have two very different environments: the outside environment where you follow Cross and his exploits over the world, and then you have the crisis room or the surveillance environment. As an audience member, that combination keeps you on the edge of your seat because you are seeing something at the same time the people in the movie are watching it.
Norton: I see a theme running through all of Tony’s films that I think is timely and smart. He’s been digging into the way that corporations have permeated our culture and threaten to compromise us from different angles. I liked that in this film he was exploring the way that power is exercised in the nexus between corporations and government…questioning who’s working for who.
Weisz: [My character is] at the cutting edge of science, and she thinks she’s contributing to her country. But at the same time, she does secretly know that what she’s doing has great moral ambiguity to it. I would be less interested in her if she were just doing something good and saving the world. What she’s doing is a little dubious…Marta is hesitant to go with [Cross], but she doesn’t have any other alternative. The people who represent law and order in her country just tried to kill her. She is a regular woman who happens to be good at science, but not good at evading the police authorities of the globe.
Keach: [My character is] a patriot and a man whose authority is there.
Isaac: My character has been living in a cabin for a month by himself with zero communication with the outside world…other than the occasional drop by of one of these guys. [Renner’s character and mine are] like these dogs that are circling and sniffing each other. They’re not necessarily posturing so much as they are uncertain. It’s dangerous.
Renner: What matters is that there is believability in everything we do in the film. No matter what the stunt is or the setup, it’s all based in reality, truth and the potential of science. As an actor, that’s easy to grab onto.
Norton: All of the characters in this film are painted in shades of gray. Tony hasn’t woven a web of heroes and villains. Everybody’s made certain compromises and certain rationalizations in and around what they do…my character certainly, but Rachel’s too and even Jeremy’s. He’s digging into how people have their best ideals and impulses co-opted by a system in many different ways. I like that kind of complexity.
Weisz and Renner Working together
Weisz: We’re very different people, and we come from different backgrounds but we have a similar way of working. Jeremy’s very free and loose and pretty wild, and wonderful to work with. I’ve loved every minute opposite him.
Director Tony Gilroy
Weisz: [Gilroy] has a very rock ’n’ roll spirit, which is “Let’s find chaos and abandon, and let’s go,” which is great for acting. He’s an unusual combination in a writer/director, and I’m happy to be in his band.
Keach: Tony is an extraordinary talent because he creates his own language. The “Bourne” franchise… is intelligent, human and very personal. The trick with this kind of dialogue is to make it conversational and just sort of throw it away without making it too melodramatic.
Renner: This was very, very demanding. I was lucky enough because many of the fight coordinators the stunt coordinators and Dan Bradley were on “The Avengers” and the three movies I did back-to-back right before this movie. Working with them was seamless. I had learned hand-to-hand combat on “Avengers,” so I took that over to this and actually used patterns. I had a nice running start.
Weisz: Being on the back of a bike with Jeremy, I felt completely safe. He was doing wheelies, skids and slides—those kind of stunts that he’s very good at.
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