>• The Modesto, Calif., native, 39, played a serial killer and shared the screen with Brad Pitt before breaking out in The Hurt Locker.

DAHMER (2002)

“I learned a lot as an actor by just going off instincts,” Renner says of taking on the serial killer in this biopic. “I couldn’t go into a bar alone for a couple years after that. It kind of stuck with me in a lot of creepy ways.”

THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007)

Filming “when the Angelina and Brad thing was just beginning,” says Renner, “Brad wanted to come out with us all the time, but he couldn’t. It was chaos.”

THE UNUSUALS (2009)

Renner (with Amber Tamblyn) played a cop in this ABC series. As for buzz that he’ll go hero in a possible Avengers film, “there’s talks,” he says. But “you’re never gonna see me in tights.”

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