Wind River: Jeremy Renner’s Topical, Personal Film

Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner hopes to do more small-scale, personal films like “Wind River,” he said at the Karlovy Vary Film Fest, which screens the film in  honoring the actor on Saturday with the president’s prize.

He called the wilderness-set thriller’s director, Taylor Sheridan, “super smart,” adding he hopes to work with him again. “He’s sort of a brass tacks kind of guy–get it done, get it done. He comes across like a cowboy but he’s hyper intelligent.”

When Sheridan makes his next film, Renner hopes “to be in it. For a first-time director, he’s an amazing writer.”

Renner found “Wind River,” in its depiction of Native American communities, “topical.”  It shows them at odds with the federal government, represented by Elizabeth Olsen’s FBI agent character, who investigates a legally messy murder on a Wyoming reservation.  But the film is not intended as a polemic against the Trump administration.

“It happens to be something we talk about right now in the media,” Renner said. “We were shooting a character drama on a reservation and about a community on a reservation like many communities on a reservation.”

The appeal for him was the script and the nuances of his role as a hunter-turned-investigator.  “Storytelling, character-driven dramas, there’s a lot of things to attract me.”

Although Renner is now known as action star, with roles in the “Mission: Impossible” and “Avengers” franchises, “I’m doing more things and recognized for things that weren’t the action movies.”

Smaller dramas with more in common with “The Hurt Locker,” his 2008 breakout performance as a conflicted bomb squad expert serving in Iraq: “These are things that I know how to do and love to do and am challenged to do. They’re a great reason to get back to work and learn and grow.”

Renner credits his Oscar-nominated performance as a hard-drinking, troubled soldier to Kathryn Bigelow’s direction, which pushed him into a place where he’d either excel or crash.

He wouldn’t again travel to the Middle East for even a great part, Renner said, because it’s more important now to stay near his four-year-old daughter, a father’s dedication he shares with his character in “Wind River,” a single dad.

Renner said he tries not to focus too far into the future, nor dwell on the past. “I’m a pretty present-thinking kind of guy — at 46.”