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Q&A: Jeremy Renner on Chris Evans and Hawkeye’s Bigger Role in ‘Avengers 2’

Jeremy Renner started to wield Hawkeye’s bow in 2012’s “Avengers,” a role he reprises in April when filming begins on the sequel “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” With “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opening next weekend, Renner spoke to Variety about working with Chris Evans and joining the Marvel universe.

Do you have any funny Chris Evans stories?
Oh dude, I have the funniest one. I don’t know if I can say. When I think about it every time, I love it. The coda scene that happens at the end of “The Avengers,” we shot it at the premiere, when we were all together. A year had gone by, and Chris was in the middle of doing another movie, where he had a full beard and he couldn’t shave it off.

What happened?
They had to do all these prosthetics over his face. The poor guy, he was in a chair for like four hours just for this three-second scene. He looked awful. He looked like his face was melting. Imagine if you have to put prosthetics over a thick beard, he looked like he got stung by a bee. The names that [Robert] Downey Jr. and everybody came up with. He couldn’t even laugh. It was really quite frustrating, I’m sure.

You don’t see the prosthetics onscreen?
No, it’s a wide shot of the whole group at the Shawarma place. We left the premiere, jumped in costume and Chris had to go into makeup for so long to cover that dang beard.

I heard he rallies the troops on the “Avengers” set.
Oh yeah. He’s the pied-piper of going out and having a good time, for sure. He definitely knows how to have fun while he works. Everybody on that set is that way.

Where would you guys go out?
In Albuquerque, New Mexico? Not a lot of places. We ended up staying in houses. We had to get creative. Everywhere we went, there was a barbeque.

Chris talked about how he almost turn down the role of Captain America. Did you feel pressure when Marvel offered you the role of Hawkeye?
Oh yeah.

Where did that come from?
You know where that leads you, the amount of time and commitment. You start to step into franchise-land and superhero land. It’s kind of terrifying when you’re an actor. It’s a huge commitment. But I’m glad I did it. All the actors are so awesome, I love them. That’s the main reason I want to keep going back. We all go through the same trials together. We’re definitely a “Bad News Bears” team.

Do you have to do a lot of prep for the movie?
A lot of fighting. A lot of getting back in shape for sure.

And Downey told me Hawkeye has a much bigger role in this one.
I can’t give you any details, but yeah, there seems to be more to do this time. I’m excited about that.

Are all the costumes made of the same material?
Kind of and kind of not. It all shifts. Even from “Captain America” to “Avengers,” they worked their way through looking great and functioning great. I have one of the easiest costumes compared to the other guys, Chris Evans being one of the [harder ones]. The cowl on his head, any time you put it on, the thing gave him a migraine. It hit weird pressure points. But you have to work out the details to have it look great and function great. I feel like my costume might be changing a little bit for this “Avengers.” Who knows man? As long as the pants don’t split in the crotch, I’m alright.

Has that actually happened?
I think it’s happened to all of us. You’re like, “Ok, we’ve got to take a break. I’ve got a hole where it shouldn’t be.”

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