Ac­tion hero Ren­ner bounces back af­ter get­ting in­jured — while mak­ing a com­edy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Green Sheet - Brian Truitt

You wouldn’t know it by Jeremy Ren­ner’s plethora of big-bud­get movie ve­hi­cles, but the role of cine­matic man of ac­tion came about or­gan­i­cally rather than con­sciously.

“I had an abil­ity as an ath­lete to per­form stunts and do that type of stuff,” yet it was im­por­tant to “still al­ways have a great char­ac­ter,” Ren­ner said.

The vet­eran of two “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble films” with Tom Cruise (“Ghost Pro­to­col,” “Rogue Na­tion”), “The Bourne Legacy” and Marvel’s “Avengers” movies leans into more phys­i­cal com­edy with his new­est project, “Tag,” which opens in the­aters Fri­day.

In “Tag,” he plays Jerry Pierce, part of a group of friends (played by Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson and Han­ni­bal Buress) who’ve been play­ing the same game of tag every May for three decades. Al­though you’d think he’d be more likely to hurt him­self in one of his ac­tion roles, Ren­ner broke both arms while film­ing this new com­edy, af­ter fall­ing 20 feet from a large stack of chairs while his char­ac­ter is evad­ing a cof­fee splash and toss­ing dough­nuts like ninja stars.

Ques­tion: Jerry’s an in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter — he isn’t as close as the other friends be­cause he’s so good, he’s never been tagged.

An­swer: I love the idea of this guy just be­ing uber-com­pet­i­tive and great at it, whether he’s more head­strong or ath­letic or what­ever the heck it is. The irony is he dis­tances him­self from the gang, and the whole point of the game is to get to­gether and love on each other. It be­came much more of a poignant thing.

Q: When you see the “Tag” scene where you break your arms, do you wince?

A: Af­ter pro­duc­tion, they said, “Hey, do you want to ac­tu­ally see the fall?” And I’m like, “Uh, no. I’m good.” I have that at­ti­tude of you fall down seven times and you stand up eight. I don’t know about 20 feet seven times

(laughs). It was just one time I had to do that.

Q: A lot of fans were very wor­ried about Hawk­eye af­ter he was miss­ing from the “In­fin­ity War” mar­ket­ing, and then when he wasn’t in the movie. Was it cool for you to see how many won­dered if he was OK?

A: It’s a nice feel­ing, I sup­pose. I think the Russo brothers (An­thony and Joe, who di­rected) got way too many death threats. I’m like, “Wow, dude, that’s in­tense. I’m sorry!”

Q: Any­thing you can say about “Avengers 4,” which comes out next May?

A: Ev­ery­body’s got to bite their tongue. But if you like “In­fin­ity War,” there’s some stuff to come. What I do know is it’s go­ing to be awe­some.


Jeremy Ren­ner (left) and Jon Hamm co-star in the new com­edy “Tag,” open­ing in the­aters Fri­day.

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