Jeremy Renner recalls being 'awake through every moment' of snowplow accident in 1st interview
Jeremy Renner says he's a "lucky man" in his first interview since his near-fatal snowplow accident.
The Avengers star, 52, talked to ABC News's Diane Sawyer about being crushed by his 14,330-pound PistenBully or snowcat on New Year's Day for a news special airing on April 6. His nephew, whom the actor was trying to save as the snowcat started to roll on Renner's Reno, Nev., property, also speaks out for the first time.
Asked if he remembers the pain — of being pulled under the vehicle by its track and run over — the actor who plays Hawkeye in Marvel films and series replied, "All of it. I was awake through every moment."
His nephew recalled seeing him "in a pool of blood" that was "coming from his head." When he ran to him, "I didn’t think he was alive."
The Mayor of Kingstown star broke 30-plus bones in the accident. The 911 call was played in the preview and Renner can be heard moaning in pain. A voice urged to "keep fighting." He was airlifted to the hospital in critical, but stable condition, and recovered in the ICU.
Sawyer listed some of Renner's many injuries as he sat in a chair across from her amid his remarkable recovery.
"Eight ribs broken in 14 places," she began. "Right knee. Right ankle broken. Left leg tibia broken. The left ankle broken. Right clavicle broken. Right shoulder broken. Face eye socket, the jaw, the mandible broken. Lung collapsed. Pierced from the rib bone, your liver, which sounds terrible."
Renner, who underwent two surgeries after the accident, recalled thinking, "What’s my body going to look like? Am I just going to be a spine and a brain like a science experiment?" Footage of his recovery showed the great strides he's made. Over the weekend, he shared a video of himself walking on an anti-gravity treadmill. He's been documenting the journey, step by step, on Instagram.
"I chose to survive," he said of his battle back. "You're not going to kill me. No way." Sawyer asked if he dreams of doing his superhero stunts again and he said, "I've lost a lot of flesh and bone in this experience, but I've been refueled and refilled with love and titanium." He said when he looks in the mirror, "I see a lucky man."
Despite his injuries, Renner said he'd "do it again," meaning try to jump back into the moving snowcat to stop it, "cause it was going right at my nephew." However, he teared up being reminded that he used sign language in the hospital before he could speak to tell his family, "I'm sorry."
The interview airs on ABC at 10 p.m. ET/PT on April 6 — five days before Renner is expected to appear in person at the Rennervations world premiere in L.A. on April 11. The actor will do a Q&A for the Disney+ show — which is about renovating vehicles — after the screening.
The snowplow that ran over Renner was initially taken by authorities after the accident to be examined — and it was returned last week. According to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office incident report released in January, "mechanical issues may have been a factor in this accident." Renner was clearing snow so he could free a family member's "stuck" vehicle when the incident occurred.
"The Pistenbully snow groomer began sliding, causing Renner to exit the vehicle without setting the emergency brake," the sheriff's report stated. "Although the Pistenbully had some mechanical issues, it is believed based on our mechanical inspection that the parking brake would keep the Pistenbully from moving forward. When Renner attempted to stop or divert the Pistenbully to avoid injury to [his nephew], he was pulled under the vehicle by the track and run over."
Renner is a father of one and posted a tribute to his daughter, Ava, this week, as she turned 10. He said her "hugs [and] love have healed me so incredibly fast."