Avengers 2: Jeremy Renner Talks Hawkeye's Loyalties, Tech & Personality

Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye (Costume Test for The Avengers)

Last week we shared an interview with Chris Hemsworth that was conducted from within Stark Tower while he was suited up as Thor. This was during our Avengers: Age of Ultron set visit last summer where we spent two days touring several massive stages and chatting with the cast.

We have to hold back on the details of what we saw for a while, but on day two, where we spoke with Robert Downey Jr. (dressed up in a fine Tony Stark suit) and Mark Ruffalo (wearing a motion capture outfit), we also had a chance to speak with Jeremy Renner who returns in the sequel as the team's marksman, Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye.

As the only character of the core six heroes who didn't appear anywhere during Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we asked Renner about the Avengers 2 script and size of the movie, how writer and director Joss Whedon organizes so many moving parts, and how they're exploring Hawkeye's personality for the first time. We also talk about his thoughts on Hydra and the fall of SHIELD during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, who Barton is really loyal to, why he'd join The Avengers again and the idea of exploring Hawkeye more on TV.

Renner, who also now stars in the Bourne and Mission: Impossible franchises, talks about playing an even more physical character here as well but more importantly, being smart as an Avenger without powers. He shares much of his screen in Age of Ultron with new characters Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but moviegoers will also see more of Black Widow and Hawkeye's history revealed.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron - Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner Poster (High Res)

How has Hawkeye’s role evolved from the first Avengers going to this one?

Jeremy Renner : It’s a lot of the stuff that Joss and I talked about to doing the first one, but it just didn't work out that way. It’s really exciting for me and Joss to kinda dive into the character a little bit more.

There’s some wonderful secrets and relationships deepen. Yeah, there’s a lot more of him to deal with versus like, you know, the hypnotized version of him.

Yesterday, talking with Lizzy Olsen, she started really laughing as she was talking about the relationship that you had at the beginning with Pietro and Wanda - and that you were a delightful grump.

Renner: [laughs]

Can you talk about bringing them into the movie and how it’s been to sort of welcome them into the Avengers fold?

Yeah, those are great characters. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are great characters. And my character and them have a lot to do together. They’re a little blurry on where they stands far as good and bad which I appreciate, I guess. [LAUGHS]

But, yeah, I think I’m sort of policing them to see if they’re worthy or not, I guess, of being, you know, good guys or bad guys. I question them a lot.

One of the biggest questions that came out of Captain America 2 was - because the S.H.I.E.L.D. was falling - where was Hawkeye? Are we going to get a definitive answer to that question.

Yea! You'll know. You’ll know in this movie, yeah. Where he’s been. [LAUGHS] Yeah. [CHUCKLES] Yeah, you’ll know. It’s, uh, it’s actually a really wonderful secret reveal. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron High-Res Photo - Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye

We saw a bunch of gear and diagrams and a table full of Hawkeye arrowheads and weapons. Talk about these new weapons that we saw. I saw photos of his new costume too.

Yeah, he’s got a coat, 'cause we were fighting in the woods. He’s got this pretty cool coat. I can’t move in it, but [LAUGHS] it’s cool looking at least. [CHUCKLES] And, yeah, all the tech - there’s always new tech and different things. I don’t wanna get into any of that sort of stuff either, but yeah, there's some new costumes, new tech - got some new characters and there are good guys; there are bad guys.

There's a lot more of us together in the movie as all Avengers, which I think there’s only once or twice that we had that [in the first movie]. So that’s been quite fun and the long days to shoot, there’s a lot of people to cover in a scene when you have like ten Avengers in a movie, in a scene, but there’s a lot more about what I think worked in the first one. They’ll have that exponentially more in this one.

What was your reaction when you first got the script, and how much has it changed from when you first got it to what you’re actually filming?

The bones of it were always there and the script that we got was really solid and great, and then, as we go along, there’s more things we find and - as in any movie - there’s just a lot! There’s so much to cover. I don’t know how Joss does it. All I have to focus on is like small, little parts. Like I ask - what the heck’s being built over me?

I have no idea [LAUGHS] what’s going on. I mean this world and all the things going on in this movie are just so vast and so many things going on. And I think for the most part the script is what it was when we started, and you know, you make minor adjustments to here and there for clarity and, like I said, it’s a big, big, big movie.

By his nature, Hawkeye’s a very physical role. He was very involved in that final battle sequence of the first movie without having the powers or tech of some of the others.

That’s the fun part.

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron Team Characters Poster (High Res)

How has that changed in this movie? Is it more physical? Does it feel like you have still have to kind of stay up with the other Avengers?

Yeah, I suppose it’s - I’ve done a lot of that stuff already. We still have a couple more sequences to go where it’s, you know, it’s, it’s fun. You have to be a smart fighter when you don’t have the super powers and that’s what makes him [CHUCKLES] sort of super, in a way, I guess. He has to use his mind as much as it his physical ability, and his ability to never miss. Just don't miss [LAUGHS], but yeah, stay at a distance and don’t miss.

Hawkeye seems very cynical and skeptical. How does he react to something like the Vision?

Yeah, that, again, that’s just like Pietro, who’s Quicksilver, and Wanda, who’s Scarlet Watch. I mean he’s always very skeptical of new people, 'cause it’s sort of - it’s military kind of thinking in the sense of like, I have to trust that you have my six or you have my back while I’m trying to manifest something up here.

You have to work as a unit, as a team, otherwise we all fail or I die or somebody else dies. So that’s where the skepticism comes in. It’s not to just to be grumpy or not to like somebody. It’s all there for a reason, and that plays a lot in this movie.

Does he still have a strong connection to Black Window for that reason?

Yeah, yeah, of course! They have a long, long history together and there’s more of that revealed in this as well.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Official Photo - Joss Whedon & Elizabeth Olsen
Joss Whedon directs Elizabeth Olsen & Jeremy Renner

He is particularly skeptical with Scarlet Witch though, because I mean, he has to be kind of burnt after having his mind controlled thanks to Loki...

Yeah, there’s a little bit of that, yeah. I mean 'cause that happens to, uh, to, people in the movie, I guess. You know, it’s [CHUCKLES], uh -- I’m not giving away too much, but yeah. I mean it’s, uh [LAUGHS] -- uhh, he doesn't -- y-- yeah. Yes, there’s animosity, I suppose, with any newcomer, good or bad.

The last few years has been especially kind to Hawkeye in the Comic Books. I think Matt Fraction has brought a whole new take to the character that is amazing. Is there any sense for you, as you’re finished with this, that they’re gonna explore Hawkeye away from the Avengers?

[SIGHS] I don’t know. I mean, no. Well, I mean there’s always opportunity in the Marvel universe to jump into a lot of different scenarios, but only if it makes sense, I think that - just as an outsider - that, you know, Captain America, those sort of things, he fits into that world pretty well because they're similar in their sort of military kind of ideals. Like, Hawkeye’s not in Thor. It’s to really hard to really imagine that but they leave it pretty wide open for a lot of different venues, a lot of different scenarios to have. I do not know the future. I’m just happy to be doing it now.

Do you have a personal favorite Avenger?

I don’t know, I think they all have their own cool things about it. But as an actor, there’s no other part I’d rather play then the one I’m doing. It’s a real human being, and I know how to [CHUCKLES] do real human stuff. [LAUGHS] I don’t know the other guys do that [CHUCKLES] superhuman thing. [LAUGHS]

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