Jeremy Renner on how his return to acting helped him heal after a near-fatal snow plow accident

Jeremy Renner returns to hit show 'Mayor of Kingstown' after breaking 38 bones and undergoing multiple surgeries following his involvement in an accident involving a 7-ton snow plow on New Year's Day in 2023. The accident left him seriously injured and unable to work for more than a year.

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

“I can't be in pain and recovery all the time,” he said.

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

He said the first few weeks were “very vulnerable and touch and go”, but said he found returning to 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 city dependent on the prison system. The series returns for its third season on June 2.

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

“I feel like I made it more delicate, because I think it is,” he said.

This evolution ties into the show's narrative, in which 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 kinds of feelings anyway, so it just worked out where, what was happening in my life was kind of congruent. What was happening in Mike McLusky's life. And it kind of seeps into the all the time. series too,” he said.

In addition to 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 brings a lot of unity,” he said.

He is also working on a book about his recovery journey, in which he discusses life and death and everything he learned during 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 I was going through. I had to do it and heal my daughter. I redeemed myself from everything I had to go through.”

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

“I had a lot of people to love… and that was a lot of my fuel to get through. I didn't have to focus on myself at all,” he said.

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

“Trust your instincts,” he said. “I don't regret it and that was confirmed in, you know, the accident… I was on my deathbed and I don't regret it.”

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