Playing at war

The actor who plays Staff Sergeant William James, a skilled bomb detonator in Iraq in The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner, says he "trained with EOD for over a year to accurately portray these guys".

Shooting the film, on location in Jordan in 46degC summer heat, was "hell," Renner says.

"Every film has its own obstacles. This film happened to be in the Middle East," he says.

"It wasn't any one thing that made it difficult. It was 1000 things compiled on each other. How we got it done, I have no idea, but we couldn't have gotten it done without being there."

He wore a real bomb-suit that weighed around 40kg in the heat.

"[Director Kathryn] Bigelow told actors to be prepared because your trailer will be a rock. If you don't want to do that, if you don't want to invest yourself in that way, don't do this movie. No-one balked at that," says producer Greg Shapiro.

Renner, in turn, doesn't confuse his film portrayal of a soldier with the real deal. And he says what matters most to him is the response of real military members to the movie.

"I couldn't believe I didn't know what EOD was - and that's our warfare. Hopefully there's a greater understanding of these guys' lives and what they're doing," Renner says.

"Wow, what an amazing gift it's been. EOD can pick [the movie apart]. We're trying to make it as honest and truthful as we could, but it's still cinema. We're trying to tell a story. But you get an idea of what these guys go through - a fraction of that, at least."


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