Jeremy Renner Gives a “Cathartic” Play-by-Play of Snowplow Accident

“Anthony Mackie was actually one of the first people I saw when I woke up,” the Hawkeye actor told Jimmy Fallon in his gripping May 22 interview.

On January 1, 2023, Jeremy Renner was involved in a harrowing snow plow accident that almost took his life. On May 22, the Hawkeye and Mayor of Kingstown actor made his first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since his near-death experience, and shared a play-by-play of what happened that day and in the healing period since.

How to Watch Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC weeknights at 11:35/10:35c and next day on Peacock.

“I thought we we lost you for a second!” Jimmy Fallon told Renner at the top of his interview.

“For a second, we did… but I got some duct tape and got all put back together. It’s all good,” Renner joked.

“You were supposed to come on the show in January,” said Fallon.

“I was kind of tied up last year. I was pretty banged up,” responded Renner, who told the audience how Fallon texted him, ‘Dude, you’re trending!’ while he was recovering in the ICU.

“No, I’m dying,” Renner recalled with a chuckle.

“I wanted to make you laugh! Did it make you laugh?” asked Fallon.

“It did make me laugh,” Renner said. “I wasn’t sure if he was serious.”

The Tonight Show Host asked Renner if it was hard to talk about the accident. “I think it’s pretty cathartic,” he said.

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Jeremy Renner during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Episode 1979, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Photo: Todd Owyoung/NBC

Jeremy Renner describes his “brutal” January 2023 snow plow accident

Renner told Fallon that especially at first, what happened to him “became much more other people’s story as it was mine.”

“It happened to my parents, happened to my poor daughter. It happened to my poor nephew. He was there,” Renner continued. “So, the incident affects everybody, right?”

“But you were helping your nephew,” Fallon chimed in.

Renner was riding a Sno-Cat, which he was used to operating. “They use it in ski resorts… to plow runs and things like that. It’s just one of those error moments and, you know, terrible conditions. I was pulling a lot of things that got stuck in the snow,” Renner explained. “We had like 12 feet of snow in like three days or something. So we were trapped in the house. We had no electricity for like three or four days, and it was like 25 of us.”

“We were having fun, don’t get me wrong. But we had a break in the weather, and so I wanted to get people outside and have fun. And to do that, I had to clear the road,” he continued.

“In doing so, pulling the truck out of the long driveway, got caught up… the machine got out of my hands. And it was running into my nephew and gonna crush him between the truck and the thing,” Renner recounted. “So I jumped back on it — or tried to — and got caught up in the tracks… and it broke 38 bones. It was brutal, dude.”

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Renner revealed that his left leg is metal, along with half of his face and the right side of his back.

The actor’s description got a tad gory, because that’s how it played out. “There was 14 breaks in the ribs and… you see your eye with your other eye, because my eyeball was out,” he share. “So you just have weird things go through your head, right? It’s like, ‘Well, I guess that’s real, but, like, I’ll worry about that later.’ And I looked at my legs. They were all twisted up. ‘I’ll worry about that later,’ because I got to worry about breathing first.”

When Fallon asked The Hurt Locker star if he panicked, Renner said, “No. You can’t. You die then.”

“Anthony Mackie was actually one of the first people I saw when I woke up”

Renner said Avengers cast were among his many visitors soon afterward.

“Anthony Mackie was actually one of the first people I saw when I woke up,” he said. “It’s like a living wake kind of thing. Everyone’s coming to say their goodbyes. But at least Mackie was there. He was really worried! He was in Las Vegas, so he was able to get to Reno pretty quickly.”

While he was grateful for all of the support, “to receive that much love is also, I think, a very difficult thing for anybody to do,” he admitted. “I was terrible at it.”

Jeremy Renner on the “wonderful lessons” his near-death experience taught him

“There’s wonderful lessons in that, right? I can go on and on about what happened, the 45 minutes being on the ice,” Renner told Fallon, saying there are “great gifts” in being tested to your limits.

“I won’t have a bad day for the rest of my life,” he said. “It’s impossible. There’s that gift.”

Renner’s found peace in his healing process, too. “If we get too stressed, or if things get too difficult — or if it’s insurmountable odds or whatever it might be, it’s just put one foot down and then put another foot down and then move towards it,” he added.

“You’re a tough guy, bud. You really are amazing,” said Fallon. Watch Renner’s full Tonight Show interview above.

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