Apr 10, 2023

Jeremy Renner Discusses Road to Recovery After Harrowing Snowplow Accident Transcript

Jeremy Renner Discusses Road to Recovery After Harrowing Snowplow Accident Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsAccidentJeremy Renner Discusses Road to Recovery After Harrowing Snowplow Accident Transcript

In an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer, the Oscar-nominated actor says he refuses to be “haunted” by the memory of being crushed underneath a snowplow on New Year’s Day. Read the transcript here.

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Dianne Sawyer (00:00):

We arrive at Jeremy Renner’s house in Los Angeles, and we expect a quiet sanctuary, a shattered man recovering from a brutal accident. But what’s that? Music is blasting, a hoard of people everywhere, and the patient is dancing. It’s Journey’s Any Way You Want It.

Jeremy Renner (00:20):

It feels good.

Dianne Sawyer (00:27):

Where am I?

Jeremy Renner (00:29):

Easing up on it.

Dianne Sawyer (00:37):

Look at you. Look at you. It is so great to see you in every way.

Jeremy Renner (00:41):

Good to see you.

Dianne Sawyer (00:41):

I don’t want to touch anything that hurts.

Jeremy Renner (00:42):

Oh, everything’s good.

Dianne Sawyer (00:44):

Is this new?

Jeremy Renner (00:45):

Yeah, I just got upright yesterday.

Dianne Sawyer (00:47):


Jeremy Renner (00:47):

I just got on my feet yesterday, yeah.

Dianne Sawyer (00:50):

Impossible that it’s only been 10 weeks since this.

Rich Kovach (00:58):

Someone’s been run over by a Sno-Cat. Hurry.

Dispatcher (01:12):

Okay, tell me exactly what happened.

Rich Kovach (01:15):

I don’t know. Someone’s in front of my house on the ground, they got run over by a Sno-Cat. He’s been crushed.

Dispatcher (01:20):


Rich Kovach (01:20):

Send paramedics, ambulance.

Dispatcher (01:22):

Everyone’s on the way right now, okay.

Rich Kovach (01:25):

Listen to me. You might want to get a life flight out here immediately.

Dispatcher (01:32):

Okay. Are you with him right now?

Rich Kovach (01:35):

Yes. He is in rough shape.

Dianne Sawyer (01:37):

He’s moaning on the ground.

Dispatcher (01:41):

Is he awake?

Rich Kovach (01:43):


Dispatcher (01:44):

Are there any obvious injuries?

Rich Kovach (01:46):

Oh, my God, yes.

Dispatcher (01:47):

I just have to ask the questions. They’re on their way.

Dianne Sawyer (01:50):

This is the voice on that 911, Rich Kovach, who lives in a nearby house.

Rich Kovach (01:56):

It was the blood, the amount of blood, and then he was just in such pain, and the sounds that were coming out of him. There was so much blood in the snow. And then when I looked at his head, it appeared to me to be cracked wide open, and I could see white. I don’t know if that was his skull, maybe it was just my imagination, but that’s what I thought I saw.

Dianne Sawyer (02:15):

Kovach called for his partner, Barb Fletcher, to come help.

Barb Fletcher (02:18):

I didn’t know who it was. I just saw somebody laying there, and just a lot of blood coming from his head. I just grabbed one of the towels that was still folded, and just applied pressure. I could tell he was really struggling to breathe.

Dianne Sawyer (02:35):

The two terrified strangers are not the only ones there, so was a young man named Alex Fries. That’s his uncle on the ground. The nephew lifts his uncle’s arm, it seems to help him breathe.

Alex Fries (02:48):

Just breathe, just breathe, that’s it. I stood over him in this crouched position, holding his arm for the entire time. From seconds after that guy came over, it was just that, and I’m just locked in on him.

Dianne Sawyer (03:03):

The injured man is fighting with the kind of strength you see in superheroes, in the movies.

Jeremy Renner (03:09):

Let’s give them hell.

Dianne Sawyer (03:11):

In fact, he is one. Jeremy Renner, Hawkeye, one of the Avengers.

Do you remember the pain?

Jeremy Renner (03:20):

All of it, yeah. I started to move my legs, and I said, “Oh, that one’s really messed up.” I said, “Oh yeah, that leg’s going to be a problem.” And then, what’s my body look like? Am I just going to be a spine and a brain, like a science experiment? Is that my existence now? What’s my existence going to be like?

Dianne Sawyer (03:43):

And how did you first hear about it, Valerie?

Valerie Cearley (03:45):

The camera coverage. Can we just stop. I don’t know.

Dianne Sawyer (03:54):

This is his mom.

Valerie Cearley (03:56):

He was intubated. He was out. His breathing was so horrible.

Dianne Sawyer (04:10):

I heard that you had, in sign language, you said to your family, “I’m sorry.”

Jeremy Renner (04:19):

Yeah, I was signing that because I am, I’m sorry.

Dianne Sawyer (04:28):

But the mom he says taught him everything about being tough and never giving up, stays by his side. And your mom read to you.

Jeremy Renner (04:37):

Oh, Jesus. So she’s reading Stephen King, some horror thing, but she just wants to read. She’s reading Dr. Seuss to me, like “How now brown cow?”

Valerie Cearley (04:51):

It happened to be what I was reading at the time, but I just wanted him to hear my voice.

Dianne Sawyer (05:00):

Every single day for hours, he deploys his ferocious willpower to push through the pain, knowing how lucky he is to have the privilege of his healthcare and his family cheering him on.

Jeremy Renner (05:13):

Yeah. It’s nice to see my sister light up when I stand up in the little walker.

Yeah, it’s just the left leg has still got three breaks in it.

Speaker 8 (05:23):

How do you feel?

Jeremy Renner (05:25):

My mom’s proud of me for going to the bathroom on my own. I move around a lot. What’s up, brother.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (05:34):

Good man. I like you’re standing.

Jeremy Renner (05:35):

Heck yeah, me too. It feels great.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (05:39):

So let’s just see sort of hip flexion here.

Jeremy Renner (05:47):

I’m going to shower after I work out today and stand up in the shower.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (05:52):


Jeremy Renner (05:52):

That’s going to be awesome. All these wonderful little victories.

Dianne Sawyer (05:55):

He’s with his chiropractic sports physician, Dr. Christopher Vincent.

Jeremy Renner (06:01):

Ah, (beep), that hurts.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (06:02):

Yeah. This is a lot of scar tissue built up in here.

Jeremy Renner (06:05):

It’s all mental. It’s a mental game. Yeah, it hurts like hell.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (06:12):

That’s what makes it fun working with you because it’s like you’re so motivated to heal.

Jeremy Renner (06:18):

Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (06:19):

To get back to your life.

Jeremy Renner (06:21):

Well, what’s the alternative? You know what I mean?

Dr. Christopher Vincent (06:23):

Well, the alternative could be, “Hey, I give up. It’s too much work.” Where is most of the pain now?

Jeremy Renner (06:30):

It’s all in the shin area.

Dianne Sawyer (06:34):

And remember that leg had the spiral break, fixed with a titanium rod and screws.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (06:40):

So that’s the one that is probably going to take exactly the longest.

Jeremy Renner (06:44):

Exactly. Yeah.

Dianne Sawyer (06:48):

Renner says he still doesn’t have sensation in parts of his body, including the actor’s singular face.

Jeremy Renner (06:55):

This whole side of my body, I don’t really feel. Just sensitivity to touch, but it’ll grow. I can feel the change already in two months. The same with my face. I can’t feel hardly any of my teeth on the upper part because they went inside my face to put in two plates because of the orbital crack, because the eye was kind of really … I don’t want to go into it.

Dr. Christopher Vincent (07:17):


Jeremy Renner (07:18):

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Dianne Sawyer (07:20):

But his vision is now fine. Are you amazed by this recovery?

Kym Renner (07:25):

Oh, yeah. Can you believe?

Dianne Sawyer (07:27):

His younger sister, Kym Renner, what do you ascribe it to?

Kym Renner (07:31):

It’s just being stubborn as (beep). Am I going to get bleeped?

Speaker 11 (07:34):

It’s 100% what it is.

Kym Renner (07:36):

He’s so stubborn. The guy is so stubborn. He’s not going to let anything take him down.

Jeremy Renner (07:44):

I’m not like tenacious belief.

Dianne Sawyer (07:48):

I mean, this is like Hawkeye belief.

Jeremy Renner (07:51):

Well, I’m not … I don’t know. It’s just belief, man.

Dianne Sawyer (07:59):

He wants everyone to know that the real superpower is the ability to transform your suffering into your strength.

Jeremy Renner (08:07):

Yeah, Bubba. Yeah. Because I shift the narrative of being victimized or of making a mistake or anything else. I refuse to be (beep) haunted by that memory that way. This is what I talked to my family about, from all their perspectives, which are horrifying, that I put upon them. We just endured. That’s real love. It’s suffering, but that feeds the seeds of what love is.

Speaker 12 (08:45):

Our thanks to Diane. You can see the entire conversation streaming on Hulu and Disney+.

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