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Jeremy Renner's Biggest Challenge Was "Not Getting Hurt": 10 Things Learned About 'The Bourne Legacy'

The Playlist By Ryan Gowland | The Playlist August 10, 2012 at 12:04PM

This week will finally see the answer to one of Hollywood's great questions: will audiences watch a 'Bourne' movie without Matt Damon? The answer will be provided by Tony Gilroy's "The Bourne Legacy," the first of what could be a potential franchise starring Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, a similar agent to Jason Bourne, but a product of the Department of Defense's Operation Outcome, a different training program from the CIA's Treadstone. Gilroy is no stranger to the 'Bourne' franchise, having been a writer or co-writer on all three installments, but once Damon and "Bourne Supremacy" and "Bourne Ultimatum" director Paul Greengrass decided against returning, he was tasked with creating what producer Frank Marshall called a "same-time-quel."  

Jeremy Renner Rachel Weisz Bourne Legacy
3. 'Bourne' movies usually involve a trip overseas.
Anyone that's seen the 'Bourne' movies knows that exotic locations often provide a backdrop to the action, and Marshall said that, "One of the things we always do on these movies, or we have done on all four, is Tony takes a trip with Pat to several different places before he starts to write the script. We have sort of an area in mind for where a sequence is going to take place."

For 'Legacy,' that place was Manila, which offered the best situation for some of the movie's action sequences. "In the past we've gone to India, we've been to Moscow, we've been to Morrocco, and, on this one, Tony said, 'You know, we're going to go to Asia this time,' " explained Crowley. "And so we went to Jakarta, and we went to Manila and we went to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, to check those places to see which one would win the competition. And Manila was the winner because they really do have a lot of experience and a good infrastructure that allows us to do the kinds of complicated things that you see in the movie. If you're going to shut down highways and have huge car crashes and do the kind of mayhem that we do, then you need to know that the city government or the national government are going to understand what the filmmakers are asking and that you're going to come up with the best possible solution. That's what sort of made our choice for Manila."

Jeremy Renner, Bourne Legacy
4. Renner was chosen for the movie because he was "unpolished."
"We looked at a number of people when we very first started out and I think we kept coming back to Jeremy," said Crowley when asked what is was about Renner that made him the right actor for the role. "There's an accessibility to him, there's a vulnerability to him which maybe a more polished actor might not communicate to the audience, and his physicality made a huge difference to us. Because that allowed us to be able to put him in situations in which you could see him fight, or you could see him ride a motorcycle, that with other people you just have to do green screen or some kind of face replacement in order to cover up the fact that you didn't have the right guy. And also, audiences haven't formed their opinion about Jeremy Renner. He's still sort of evolving from the audience's perception: 'Who is this guy? What does he bring? I like him, but I don't know why I want to see more of him.' "

Marshall concurred. "Yeah, I also think he brings an intelligence to the role that you just see. And also his physicality. As Tony says, he's sort of a movie athlete. I mean, he's extraordinary. Those moves that he makes, it almost looks like you're speeding the camera up but we weren't."

Jeremy Renner The Bourne Legacy
5. Cold is cold no matter who you are, but especially if you're Tony Gilroy.
Another of the film's locations is Alaska (or Calgary, if you want to get technical), where, in the film's opening sequence, Renner's Cross is seen emerging from icy cold waters. When asked about how he handled the cold conditions, the actor's response was simple. "Cold's cold no matter if you're holding the camera or if you're in front of it," answered Renner. "You don't ask for that kind of physical torture, but it's certainly very telling and makes it easier to play, because it's part of the scene. We weren't shooting in the Rockies and pretending its summer. It was cold because it's supposed to be. The only thing that was really challenging was that I'm supposed to be a tough guy and be able to fake, 'Oh yeah, it's not cold but I'm freezing. I can't be freezing.' It was just another one of those challenges to overcome. It wasn't easy, but it was beautiful and it became a character in itself, I think."

"It slows your brain down," added Gilroy. "It saps you energy over the course of a day. I had to buy all the clothes, I didn't own all that stuff, I'm not a skier."

"You never saw his face, he was [all] wrapped [up]," chided Renner. "He had batteries in his gloves, he had the heated underwear, he had everything that could be powered, on. Asking me to jump into the water naked. He did say, however, that he was willing to do it with me."

"I did say that," said Gilroy. "I didn't mean it..."

This article is related to: Tony Gilroy, Rachel Weisz, Jeremy Renner, Edward Norton, The Bourne Legacy

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