Jeremy Renner Recalls Falling Asleep Filming “Mayor of Kingstown”, Being Treated Like a 'Child Actor' After His Accident

After overcoming the health challenges and reframing life as he knows it, Renner said he's "walking through life with a smile on my face" because "it's impossible for me to have a bad day" now

<p>Theo Wargo/Getty</p> Jeremy Renner

Theo Wargo/Getty

Jeremy Renner

When Jeremy Renner returned to film Mayor of Kingstown after his horrific snowmobile accident, he had to accept that some things would never be the same post-recovery.

On January 1, 2023, the Hawkeye star, 53, was involved in a terrifying accident when he was run over by a 14,300-lb. snowplow as he was helping a family member get a stuck vehicle out of the estimated three-feet of snowfall from the night before. He was left with 38 broken bones, a collapsed lung and significant chest trauma from the ordeal.

After Mayor of Kingstown co-creator Hugh Dillion asked his mother for permission for him to return to set, Renner went back to work on the one-year anniversary of his accident with some unexpected restrictions on his physical abilities.

"To try to create some truth and then get the audience to believe it, while I’m just trying to learn to walk again, to put one foot in front of the other and not get up in agony. I’m doing all these things to find my footing on the planet again," he told the Los Angeles Times. "The idea of going into a fictional world — I have to be honest with you, I had to really consider, Is this something I really want to do?"

Once he got in front of the camera, Renner recalled falling asleep during takes on his first week back. "They go, ‘And action!’ And I was out," he said. "We realized they worked me too hard, too many hours, too many days in a row. What I’m willing to do is everything, but what I’m able to do is a different thing.”

Jeremy Renner/instagram Jeremy Renner recovers from his snowplow accident
Jeremy Renner/instagram Jeremy Renner recovers from his snowplow accident

Related: A Timeline of Jeremy Renner's Snowplow Accident and His Ongoing Recovery

As a result, producers had to make some changes to accommodate the actor, including modifying the demanding shoot schedule and allowing him time to stretch and exercise on set, occasionally between takes.

Renner also told the outlet that he remained in Pittsburgh for the duration of the four-month shoot instead of flying back and forth from California to avoid experiencing jet lag and added stress on his body.

"They have to treat me like treat me like I'm a child actor. The mayor of Kingstown is now like a 14-year-old," he quipped of the show's crew.

<p>Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +</p> Jeremy Renner in 'Mayor of Kingstown'

Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +

Jeremy Renner in 'Mayor of Kingstown'

Related: Jeremy Renner Is 'Full of Gratitude and Inflammation' While Out for a Jog: 'Be Better, Get Stronger'

Despite the new changes he's had to overcome and an arduous recovery process — which he said included screaming at a mop and a bucket while on painkillers in the hospital — the actor opened up about keeping a positive outlook on life.

Part of that included using laughter as a remedy. He told the LA Times he tried to "find sobriety through humor. I was always looking for a joke to crack because I know it requires timing and [the ability] to read the room. And it also just feels good to laugh."

Leaning into the support of his family and medical team also helped. “It took the collective of all these people. That’s the power of love. It’s a slow burn. Man, I tell you,” he said, adding that "a divine intervention" likely also helped with his survival and recovery.

“I’m alive. I’m walking through life with a smile on my face," he later said. "And there’s nothing that’s ever going to change that. Nothing. It’s impossible for me to have a bad day.”

<p>Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +</p> Jeremy Renner as Mike McLusky in season 2 of 'Mayor of Kingstown'

Dennis P. Mong Jr./Paramount +

Jeremy Renner as Mike McLusky in season 2 of 'Mayor of Kingstown'

Related: Jeremy Renner Shares What Last Words to Family Would've Been in Note: 'Don't Let Me Live on Tubes'

While on the mend, Renner was visited by many of his Marvel costars including Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr.

In March, the Hurt Locker star told PEOPLE of how the Oppenheimer actor constantly checked in on him as he recovered in his hospital bed.

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“We ended up having really great chats on FaceTime, like we were dating or something,” Renner recalled, sharing how Downey distracted him from “other-worldly pain" by cracking jokes.

“He's like, ‘Dude, the most important thing is you look good. I don't care how you feel, as long as you look good that's all that matters,'" he added. "He’s like, ‘You’ve got to get back to do Mayor, because we need to see what happens.' His ways are very heartwarming.”

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