When you think of actor Jeremy Renner, you may initially recall his powerhouse performances in dramas such as "The Hurt Locker" and "The Town." This weekend, Renner takes on a whole new challenge: hosting NBC's "Saturday Night Live" for the first time. The actor spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the butterflies in his stomach before Saturday's performance and stretching his legs in the field of comedy.
Renner's acting chops in comedy haven't really been flexed, but the actor credits a former co-star of heist flick "The Town" with encouraging him to take a chance. "I talked to Jon Hamm about it. He didn’t really go into too much advice. He was just saying, like, 'Dude, you gotta do it. Just go have fun and be a jackass. You’ll be great.' I’m like, 'Okay, that sounds great.' And then I worked with Adam McKay [a producer on Renner's next film, 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'], who was a writer during the Will Ferrell years. We talked, and he gave me a little bit more advice. And then when I got here, everybody’s been so generous with their time, and thoughts, and feelings, just saying like, 'Don’t worry about it. This is what’s gonna happen...' The whole cast has been really wonderful."
The actor sees hosting the show as a rite of passage for many in his profession, a milestone that he is looking forward to attaining. “It’s terrifying, I guess. It’s a great honor. It’s just one of those things where for me, as an actor, I feel like I’ve hit really interesting milestones in life, from just working and doing a movie that people see, to then getting nominated for an Academy Award. And then you do the cover of a magazine, and that’s always kind of an interesting, weird thing. And then you host SNL, and it’s a whole ‘nother interesting plateau. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m glad to be a part of it," Renner said.
Despite being a self-professed huge fan of the sketch comedy series, Renner admits that he didn't come into the show with any particular characters to play in mind. "I think in hindsight, after this is all said and done, I probably would have come in with more specific things, but I don’t know what those are. That’s just not where my head’s been sitting, in sketch world. Maybe if you give me four drinks, I’d have those characters, whatever those little bits are. But it’s not my job. It’s not what I think about. If this were to ever happen again, I’d probably think about those things — like, oh wait, this might be something fun to do. Let’s explore this sort of character," Renner said. "But I’m just wide open to it. See what happens. Let the pros do what they do, and I’ll just follow their lead. During some of the read-throughs Wednesday, I was reading [sketches] for the first time, and I had to stop, like, what are you guys smoking? It’s tremendous. Where do they come up with this stuff? They’re geniuses."
I don't know about geniuses, but usually the first half hour is worth a watch. Don't miss Jeremy Renner on "Saturday Night Live" on NBC!