Success stories in the entertainment industry frequently detail years of labor, determination, and struggle. However, there are times when a celebrity’s life abruptly changes overnight. One such amazing tale is that of Jeremy Renner, whose outstanding performance in David Jacobson’s Dahmer catapulted him into stardom in a matter of just 14 days.
Renner did encounter challenges and struggles early in his acting career, but he never wavered in his unwavering devotion to his work. He honed his abilities in a number of roles before being offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
The role of a lifetime came to Renner in 2002 when he played the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who murdered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1998. Audiences and critics alike were astounded by the actor’s gripping and frightful portrayal of the psychological thriller character.
Looking Back at Jeremy Renner’s Portrayal of Jeffrey Dahmer
Jeremy Renner successfully delivered one of his career-defining performances in Dahmer. It usually helps an actor at the beginning of their career to take on any roles they can. Knowing this, the Hawkeye actor decided to play Jeffrey Dahmer without even being aware of who he was.
The actor, 52, probably came to a very unsettling realization when he finally sat down to read the script.
Renner continued to struggle even after working in Hollywood for about seven years. He admitted to Vanity Fair that he had been booking a lot of commercials to make ends meet because there had been an “actor’s strike around that time”.
He then found it “interesting” when his agent informed him about the role of Jeffrey Dahmer. He was immediately hired after his audition, and three days later, filming started. The actor told Vanity Fair:
“And 14 days after that moment, we were done shooting. So it happened very, very, very quickly. It was a whirlwind of an experience, and the movie did well for me in the sense that a lot of people within the industry saw and noticed it, and how people perceived me shifted in a positive way.”
In 2010, Renner spoke to NPR about his disturbing character in David Jacobson’s film, saying:
“I had to approach that from a very sort of human thing. I couldn’t judge him by what he did. I had to understand again — what fuels a human being to go to these lengths, to do these things. Once I was getting into abandonment issues — once I was getting into abandonment issues and not having his father around, and being a young gay man at 14 who realises — yeah, so I had to come up with very human behaviour for what fuels this individual, and I needed reasons why.”
Why Jeremy Renner’s Life Became ‘Creepy’ After Playing Jeffery Dahmer?
Jeremy Renner did not enjoy every aspect of playing Jeffrey Dahmer, as might be expected from someone who has to spend a few months getting inside the head of a serial killer. When he took on the role, things just got “creepy” in his life, he once claimed in an earlier interview. This included a negative impact on his love life, which he discussed in a 2009 article for Parade:
“After I did the film, playing a guy who was basically a monster, things started getting creepy… …Then some girl bit me in a bar because I wasn’t paying attention to her anymore and I had to go to the hospital. It kept me single for a while, that’s for sure. Lot of people I wanted to date, but people I probably shouldn’t date.”
The actor also admitted to Esquire that he was bitten by a female fan in the arm and had to be taken to the hospital. But his Dahmer role did not bring him just that one fan. Additionally, he talked about having a mysterious man, who followed him home, and later attacked Milo (Renner’s cat):
“He had my cat tucked like a football under his arm.”
Renner pursued the strange man, but he fled the scene by getting into a car with Milo. Both of them were never seen again by the Arrival actor, who told Esquire:
“I hope Milo had a good life. I hope he didn’t end up as that guy’s dinner.”
It took the Academy Award-nominated actor sometime before he was able to let go of the role, as he once shared with Newshub:
“It really messed with me for a couple of years, that role. I couldn’t go into bars alone. I still really can’t.”
The 2002 film also starred Artel Great, Matt Newton, Bruce Davison, and Dion Basco.
Despite being one of the most disturbing films, Dahmer is well worth your time. Stream it on FuboTV.