Authenticity counts for 'Hurt Locker' actor

For Jeremy Renner, the experience of filming “The Hurt Locker” wasn’t nearly as grueling and death-defying as the actual defusing of improvised explosive devices would’ve been.

“I knew before I went in for this role, when I put the script down after reading it for the first time, this was a role I couldn’t wait to do,” says the Modesto, Calif., native. “It meant a lot to me as an actor. That’s why we endure what we endured and went through the difficult challenges we needed to meet to get the film made.

“I think it was tough for everybody, 125 degrees most of the time. Even if you’re on a beach drinking a margarita, that wears you out after a while. But I tried to focus and use all the positive things I could in a difficult situation.”

To prepare for the role of bomb specialist Sgt. William James, Renner consulted with military personnel, and, he says, the experience not only helped him understand the character, it succeeded in inspiring him even more.

“I spent some time with some guys from Fort Irwin (National Training Center, 37 miles northeast of Barstow, Calif.). They were gracious enough to come to L.A. and help me get to know them as individuals,” Renner says. “It was important for me early on to be as accurate as possible.

“In making the film, I kind of wanted to honor them by being accurate, even though this wasn’t a training film, and they knew I wanted to capture the spirit.”

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