Jeremy Renner covers the August issue of Esquire, because dear God he really needs The Bourne Legacy to be a big hit. Even a modest hit would be good, but it really needs to make money. I think it will! I think people still have affection for the Bourne films, and those are the people willing to see Jeremy Renner try to take over the franchise. While I’m not really in love with the Esquire photo shoot, it’s not actively bad or anything. The interview, on the other hand, is a concerto of crazy. And it’s not even Jeremy – Jeremy Renner always strikes me as a nice enough dude. Kind of tough, kind of funny, a loyal friend and only a little bit crazy. Crazy in the way the average person is “a little crazy.” I think Jeremy’s “slight insanity” is that he draws mentally imbalanced people out. Crazy seeks him out. I’m not talking “Twihard crazy” either. I’m talking about a 60-something male stalker who followed Jeremy around (before he was famous!!!) and ended up abducting Jeremy’s cat. FOR REAL.
[Renner] was living in this apartment when he got his first significant part, in 2002, playing the true-life cannibal serial killer in Dahmer. It was a small movie, shot quickly, but people who were drawn to it were really drawn to it. That’s when Renner first started being recognized on the street; unfortunately, it was by the sorts of people who might connect with a murderer who kept the heads of young men in his fridge.
The hot girl who bit Renner deep into his arm, sending him to the hospital for shots, was only his second-weirdest encounter with admirers. The weirdest was an older man, maybe in his sixties, who started popping up a little too often in the places Renner hung out back then: in the coffee shop around the corner, at the record store. The man kept saying, Gee, what a lucky thing this is, running into each other like this, maybe it’s a sign, maybe we should go get a drink, and Renner always demurred, never really thinking all that much more about the guy and his repeated appearances.
It wasn’t until the man showed up outside Renner’s apartment that the truth began to register. Renner was walking his dog, and the man bumped into him: Here we are again, can you believe it? Do you live around here? Renner said, Oh, no, just walking the dog. Once again, the man asked Renner to go for a drink. And this time, when Renner said thanks but no thanks, the man got upset. He started yelling. Renner hustled away, walking his dog all through those streets, around corners and behind hedgerows, blocks out of his way, before he finally decided he had lost the man, and he returned to his home.
He was sitting at his computer when he heard a noise outside on his patio. It was a coffee mug, crashing to the ground. Renner thought his dog or maybe his cat — he had a cat then named Milo — had knocked it over. He went outside to investigate. And there was the man. There was the man, and he had Milo in his hands. “He had my cat tucked like a football, under his arm,” Renner says, sitting in his Porsche all these years later. Renner was stunned, frozen in a kind of low-level shock. The man bolted into the street. Renner gave chase, but before he could catch him, the man jumped into a car and squealed away. The man was gone, and so was Milo. Renner never saw either of them ever again.
“I hope Milo had a good life,” he says today, firing his engine back up. “I hope he didn’t end up as that guy’s dinner.”
What the hell, right? Sure, maybe every celebrity has to deal with some insane stuff, but this is an incident that happened when Jeremy had only appeared in Dahmer. That’s it! And stuffed inside this Esquire piece, there are like a half-dozen more stories of crazy people that Renner interacts with. There’s the tour bus operator that Renner used to do karaoke with (“I used to hang out at karaoke bars all the time. It was the most fun you could have when you had no money. I went right here twice a week from 1995 until, like, 2002. Religiously.”), and my favorite, there’s the “mobile” yoga instructor who taught a class on Renner’s property (“Look, man, I don’t come onto your porch and start doing deep lunges,” Renner told them. “Get the f–k out of here.”)
But the Esquire story is nice, and it is worth a read. There’s a lot about Jeremy’s friendship with Kris Winters – Kris and Jeremy are in business together, renovating houses in LA. They’ve been doing it for more than a decade, and they make a really nice profit of it – so far they’ve renovated more than 15 homes and condos! Crazy. I kind of love Jeremy. I’m not sure if he should be my boyfriend, or if he should just renovate my house.
Photos courtesy of Esquire.