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Jeremy Renner on how returning to acting helped him heal after a near-fatal snowplow accident

Jeremy Renner on "Mayor of Kingstown" return
Jeremy Renner on returning to "Mayor of Kingstown" following near-death snowplow accident 07:24

Jeremy Renner is making his return to the hit show "Mayor of Kingstown" after breaking 38 bones and undergoing multiple surgeries after he was involved in an accident involving a 7-ton snowplow on New Year's Day in 2023. The accident left him critically injured and unable to work for over a year. 

Despite the severe physical and emotional toll from the accident, Renner — an Oscar nominee best known for his role as the superhero Hawkeye in the Marvel cinematic universe — said he found solace in returning to work.

"I can't just be in my pain and recovery all the time," he said.

Renner admitted that the transition back to acting was challenging, especially given the heightened reality of his own life. Renner had a pierced liver and collapsed lung after the accident.

He said the first weeks were "very fragile and touch and go," but said he found that returning to the set helped him cope.

Renner stars as Mike McLusky in the Paramount+ crime drama that follows a family of power brokers trying to bring order and justice to a town reliant on the prison system. It returns for its third season on June 2.

Renner said his personal experiences have influenced his portrayal of McLusky, adding a layer of vulnerability to the tough character. 

"I feel like I've made him more delicate because I think I am," he said.

This evolution aligns with the show's narrative, where McLusky faces significant personal losses. Renner noted that the parallels between his real life and McLusky's storylines helped him bring authenticity to the role.

"I was personally dealing with a lot of those type of feelings anyways, so it just kind of worked where, what was happening in my life was kind of congruent. What was happening in Mike McLusky's life. And it kind of bleeds in throughout the series, too," he said.

Beyond his acting career, Renner has been involved in music and writing as part of his healing process.

"You know, music is very healing. It's very emotional, and it's very unifying," he said.

He's also working on a book about his recovery journey, highlighting life and death and everything he learned in recovery.

Renner said his daughter, Ava, also played an important role in his recovery. 

"She was my driving force," he said. "I wasn't focused on my pain. I wasn't focused on anything that I was going through. I had to do it and heal my daughter. I relieved myself of whatever I had to go through."

Along with Ava, Renner said he wanted to heal for his mother and his nephew, who was with him during the accident.

"I had a lot of people to love… and that that's was a huge part of my fuel to get through. I didn't have to focus on me at all," he said.

Reflecting on his career and near-death experience, Renner offered advice to his younger self. 

"Trust your instinct," he said. "I have zero regrets and that was also confirmed upon, you know, the accident ... I was in on my deathbed and I have zero regrets."

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