Jeremy Renner’s smoldering gaze can quite literally stop you in your tracks, and though he may look like the serious type, in person Renner—who has starred in films such as The Hurt Locker and Marvel’s The Avengers—is actually very warm, friendly and down to earth. Read through as Renner discusses becoming a father and the best advice he’s ever received. And swoon appropriately as he admits that women have all the answers—ah, a man after our own hearts.
The New Potato: From start to finish what would be your ideal food day?
JR: I think it’s probably at home on the grill. I’d make New York Strip or KC Prime. Definitely corn on the cob — but it’s all on the grill. Smoked, the whole thing. I’m like a caveman when it comes to food. I like simple – a nice piece of meat and good vegetables, eaten with your hands. I love it.
TNP: This Rémy Martin campaign is about celebrating multiple talents, so how would you say you embody that?
JR: It’s really how I live my life. It’s how I live my life every day. This [campaign] celebrated those lifestyle choices, so it made sense to me.
TNP: In what is now a very ‘slash’ culture when it comes to occupations and talents, why do you think it’s important for people to recognize and celebrate that concept?
JR: I speak to kids about it all the time because just as an actor, I had to fight being pigeonholed or stereotyped by any one thing – and that doesn’t even have to be in your job. You can be stereotyped or pigeonholed on the playground, let alone by what you choose to do for a living. I remember coming out of high school like, ‘Okay, what do you want to do for a living? What’s going to be your job?’ You had to find out all of these things. ‘You’re good with your hands, so maybe you’re going to do this, or you’re going to do that…’ I just sort of refused all that. Ever since I was young, I just felt like I was going to do what I liked to do. I was going to do what my heart told me to do, and not be limited by what capitalism told me I should do, or what society told me I should do. But it takes a lot of sacrifice and a lot of courage and confidence in yourself to be willing to go fail. My Father gave me that advice when I was going to college. My Dad was an educator; he worked in the Cal State system for twenty-five years. He said, “Go fail. Go discover stuff that you never thought you might want to do, or you may be good at.” So I did. I went and tried a bunch of different things, from computer science to criminology, and that’s where I found acting — I just took an elective. Just try. If you don’t try, if you don’t shake the energy of the universe, it’s not going to give back to you. I got a lot of support and I was very blessed with that idea – to go out and take charge of your life. I think that’s a really important thing to teach kids.
TNP: Speaking of the Rémy Martin concept, what is your drink?
JR: With ice. Again, like I like my meal — very simple. Rémy Martin is complex in its flavors but why mess it up with a bunch of other stuff? If you have a good cocktail, keep it with ice. There you go.
TNP: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
JR: I said it already. Be willing to fail. Go fail. And [my Father] still loved me – it didn’t matter what I wanted to be. Go fail, and it’s totally okay. And that means embrace your successes as well.
TNP: What is your personal grooming regimen? What are the products you can’t live without?
JR: (Laughs) Again, I’m a simple guy. A toothbrush? I can’t live without that. I don’t need very much.
TNP: So far in your career, what’s been the most memorable moment that you can think of?
JR: There are a lot of milestones for me as an actor. Dahmer was a big milestone for me; The Hurt Locker obviously was a huge milestone for me; jumping into those big franchise movies was a big learning curve and experience in a global way. The Academy Awards stuff was pretty special.
TNP: Any big milestones outside of acting?
JR: Yeah! I mean, geez, loads of things. Being a Father is the biggest thing ever in my life. It’s made me realize that I’ve done nothing in my life until I’ve become a Father. It’s not even an achievement; it’s just dumb luck. I just kind of fell upon it, and realized, ‘Wow, I should have done this a while ago.’ I mean, there are a thousand things that I guess I’d be proud of, but the most important one is being a Daddy.
It’s made me realize that I’ve done nothing in my life until I’ve become a Father.
TNP: What are some of your favorite workouts?
JR: I’m a pretty active person. Workouts are such a big part of my work as an actor as of late. I have to train sometimes for eight hours a day; it just depends on the job. Right now, I don’t do anything. I’m trying to give my body a break. I’m still pretty active anyway in my life doing whatever it might be, but I’m not actually in the gym training or anything.
TNP: What are some of your favorite food spots in LA and in New York?
JR: In New York — Westville East, because I used to live in East Village. It’s great. Again, it’s very basic stuff. You just get your fresh Brussels sprouts, and I hate Brussels sprouts, but they make Brussels sprouts fantastic. I lived right there, so I went there all the time.
There are a few good steakhouses. I love sushi. In LA I try to avoid the Hollywood hotspots that don’t really have good food. I’ll try to find the smaller places where I can still enjoy the meal and not get bothered while I’m eating. They’re small little cool mom-and-pop places.
TNP: What’s one thing women don’t know about men that they should?
JR: It’s the other way around. It seems like men don’t know anything about women. But wow, I don’t know. That women have all the answers.
TNP: In the same vein as what is the new black, what’s the new potato right now for you?
JR: I try to keep up with stuff. I try to keep up with music, I try to keep up with technology — it changes so fast — so I’m not that old guy, you know. What’s really fascinating to me is this autopilot thing that Tesla has come up with. Not that it’s the new thing, because that’s going to be very difficult to happen for the masses. I own a Tesla actually, but I certainly love the idea of being off fuel. I think that’s a pretty badass thing. I support that. But again, it’s going to take some time for the general public to be a part of that. But I think that’s one of the cooler things that is happening. Technology is really fascinating to me — but it changes so fast. I mean look what we’re doing now; we’re talking on your dang smartphone (recording).
TNP: As soon as you get used to one new thing, there’s something else that’s replaced it already.
JR: I think technology is just fascinating. Half the time it makes life more complicated when it’s supposed to simplify life. It’s interesting to me.
*Jeremy Renner, photographed at Omar’s in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann.