Jeremy Renner On The Roles He Avoids After Surviving Life-Threatening Accident

Jeremy Renner has made major changes in his life after surviving a nearly-fatal snow plow accident last year.

The “Hawkeye” actor appeared on the “Smartless” podcast on Monday, and told hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes that he now avoids certain “challenging” roles now after breaking nearly 40 bones and almost dying when his machinery ran over him.

Renner also said that he was “very terrified” to do “fucking fiction” when he returned to acting after his accident.

“I’m still trying to live in reality, I’m trying to live,” the “Mayor of Kingstown” actor said of his thought process when he was going back to work. “It was a hard line for me to cross ... It was very, very challenging for me mentally to get over that hump.”

“And I still struggle with it sometimes,” Renner said. “I don’t take it super seriously. I’m in a character that I can do very well, and I know the show very well, so it was easy for me to kind of slide back into it,” he said of his current role on the “Kingstown” TV show.

“But if it was a very challenging role, I wouldn’t have ―  I couldn’t have taken it,” he explained. “Not challenging in the sense that — because the show’s challenging ― but it’s that, if I had to go play Dahmer or something, something so far from me, I don’t have the energy for it. I don’t have the fuel.”

Renner attends the Hawkeye Los Angeles launch event at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on Nov. 17, 2021.
Renner attends the Hawkeye Los Angeles launch event at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, on Nov. 17, 2021. Jesse Grant via Getty Images

“I have so much fuel to put into this reality, this body, all this stuff ― I can’t just go play make-believe right now,” the 53-year-old said. “Because it takes a lot of time to get right here every day just so I can have a positive thought, so I can progress, so I can always keep growing.”

Renner recently opened up about what was going through his mind during his gruesome snowplow accident, which occurred near his home in Reno, Nevada, on Jan. 1, 2023.

“I remember my head cracking on the thing and it just pressing on me — it’s exactly like you think it would feel,” he told Men’s Health in an interview published on Tuesday. “An immovable object and a crushing force, and something’s gotta give. But thank God my skull didn’t fully give. And then it kept going. Undulate, undulate, undulate, undulate. Cheekbone broke, eye socket broke, and then from the crushing of getting run over by the machine, my eye bulged out.”

“I could see my left eyeball with my right eyeball,” he added, saying that he was “screaming for a breath.”

In addition to breaking 38 bones in total, Renner also suffered a pierced liver and a collapsed lung. He underwent multiple surgeries and spent months in recovery, and is now even able to talk about the “wonderful lessons” he learned from that experience.

“I can go on and on about what happened, and the 45 minutes being on the ice, but... there’s so many great gifts,” he told Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” last month. “Being tested to your limits. Your physical limits, your spiritual limits, right? Emotional limits.”

“It’s like, I won’t have a bad day for the rest of my life,” he explained. “It’s impossible.”