A photo showing Jeremy Renner in a black suit and pant, with a tie to match.

Jeremy Renner Talks About His Early Years of Acting

Home / Internet & social media / Jeremy Renner Talks About His Early Years of Acting

By Favour Adegoke on October 16, 2021 at 10:30 PM EDT

Jeremy Renner started his career by acting in independent films like "Dahmer," released in 2002, and "Neo Ned" in 2005.

This American actor also snagged supporting roles in movies like "28 Weeks Later" and "S.W.A.T" released in 2007 and 2003. While Renner has proven to be a capable actor in the numerous films he has starred in, he is perhaps best known for his role as Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

Like most up-and-coming actors, Renner started his acting career with his finances in dire straits.

This low income led to him participating in a movie that, according to him, has had not so pleasant far-reaching effects on him. At the beginning of his acting career, the actor says the movie role took him to very dark places.

Article continues below advertisement

Renner's Early Life

Unlike most budding actors, Renner's finances weren't in the best shape when he started acting. Having dropped out of college to pursue his acting career, he made his movie debut in a 1995 comedy titled "National lampoon's Senior trip" as an underachieving student.

In 2001, Renner landed a small role in an episode of "C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation." He also took up an extra job as a makeup artist to make ends meet.

Renner continued to star in commercials and supporting roles in television movies and series alike until he fully captured the attention of critics with his apt and complex depiction of Jeffery Dahmer in the 2002 film "Dahmer." This performance later earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Article continues below advertisement
A photo of Jeremy Renner in a creme color outfit, with a striped tie.
Instagram | Jeremy Renner
Article continues below advertisement

He took a break from small indie movies to focus on his first commercial movie, "S.W.A.T," alongside Colin Farrell in 2003. He also played a lead role in the film "Neo Ned" in 2005.

Renner's role in "Dahmer" continued to impact his life when it caught the attention of director Kathryn Bigelow, and he was cast as Sergeant First Class William James in "The Hurt Locker" in 2018, one of his most famous roles.

Article continues below advertisement

Renner's 'Dahmer' Role Is The Reason He's Single

While it is one of the most popular movies Renner has been in, he laments his role in "Dahmer." This movie left such a bitter taste in his mouth that he still felt uncomfortable for months to come.

No matter the numerous roles he acted in, his character as Jeffery Dahmer never quite sat right with him. While making a significant mark in the actor's career, this role also extended its reach in leaving an effect that was not as welcomed in the actor's life.

Article continues below advertisement

In his interview with Parade, the actor said, "After I did the film, playing a guy who was basically a monster, things started getting creepy. My cat was stolen. Then some girl bit me in a bar because I wasn't paying attention to her anymore and I had to go to the hospital. It kept me single for a while, that's for sure. Lots of people I wanted to date, but people I probably shouldn't date."

According to Renner, this has made him skeptical about drinking in bars because he thinks his previous Jeffery Dahmer role still haunts him. His refusal to drink in bars stems from the fact that Dahmer's victims were picked up in bars.

Renner Before The Jeffery Dahmer Role

When asked by Anthony Martin what it was like being Jeffery Dahmer and how hard it was to get into his head?

Renner replied saying, "Well, you know it happened so fast…it was the complete opposite of "The Hurt Locker" where I had time to prepare. I mean, I didn't even know who Jeffrey Dahmer was, and then four days later after reading the script, we're shooting principal photography, and two weeks later, we're done."

Article continues below advertisement
A photo showing Jeremy Renner in a black suit and pant, sitting on a rock.
Instagram | Jeremy Renner

"It was such a whirlwind…. I mean to relate to that experience, I had to do a lot of work and allow myself to go places that were a little scary. You know when you play a guy like that it allows you the freedom to explore really weird parts about you. And it's ok. In order to really get it, I've got to allow myself to go there."

Article continues below advertisement

Another Serial Killer Role? Most Definitely Not

Given what Renner has been through after his role as Dahmer, it's no surprise when he declined a role as The Ice Truck Killer in Showtime's hit series "Dexter," when the show's co-executive director sought him out.

While there were conflicting schedules, the actor did not mince words when he told the producer that he could no longer take up serial killer roles in movies or series.

There are speculations that this decision has roots in how the Dahmer role affected the actor after its filming.

Article continues below advertisement