Avengers, assemble! Jeremy Renner’s Marvel costars Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson visited him after his near-fatal snowplow accident — and are grateful he survived.
“I was honestly so f—king happy to see him,” Johansson, 38, told Variety in a cover story interview published on Tuesday, May 9. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to see him again.”
The Hawkeye actor, 52 — who was starred alongside the Black Widow actress in multiple Marvel movies — was nearly killed after being crushed by a snowplow on New Year’s Day in Reno, Nevada. Renner later recalled to Jimmy Kimmel that he broke “35 or so” bones in the January incident, after which he was airlifted to a nearby hospital and underwent surgery for his numerous injuries.
“He’s a very spiritual person in general and a very soulful person. And you can see that in his work. It comes through,” Johansson told Variety about her observations in seeing Renner after the accident, gushing that the Hurt Locker star is “thriving.”
“He has such a depth to him. And I just was so happy to see that he is full of life and light, and he’s also hilarious,” she continued. “We laughed a lot.”
Evans, who was with Johansson as they visited Renner in Los Angeles, agreed. “No tears at all. A lot of laughs and smiles and hugs,” the Captain America star, 41, recalled. “Leave it to Jeremy to take something this potentially tragic and turn it into something so inspiring.”
In the wake of his near-death experience, Renner has been optimistic about his recovery.
“Morning workouts, resolutions all changed this particular new years … Spawned from tragedy for my entire family, and quickly focused into uniting actionable love ❤️,” the two-time Oscar nominee shared via Instagram several weeks after the accident. “I want to thank EVERYONE for their messages and thoughtfulness for my family and I … Much love and appreciation to you all. These 30 plus broken bones will mend, grow stronger, just like the love and bond with family and friends deepens. Love and blessings to you all 🙏❤️🙏.”
The Rennervations star has also maintained his sense of humor — “My eye did pop out, that’s weird,” he later quipped to Kimmel about one of his more gruesome injuries — referring to himself as the “Tin Man” while sharing an update about his recovery on Friday, May 5.
“I’ve decided to push through the pain of progress(this damn shattered tibia) and take the new parts for a tiny test drive,” Renner captioned an Instagram video of himself working out. “The body is miraculous …. Even though I feel like the Tin Man, needing oil for all my new joints (hips, knees, ankles, tibia etc ) . Encouraged after this warm up to press on ( don’t tell my PT). 😂.”
Renner was critically injured in January while using a snowplow after a snowstorm. As he recalled in a sit-down with Diane Sawyer last month, the Town actor was operating a large snowplow in order to help his 27-year-old nephew, Alex Fries, get a car out of the snow in the driveway. In order to make sure his nephew was safe in between the car and the snowplow, Renner leaned halfway out of the vehicle — only to fall underneath it.
“I just happened to be the dummy standing on the dang track a little bit, seeing if my nephew was there,” Renner recalled. “You should be inside the vehicle when you’re operating [it,] you know what I mean? It’s kind of like driving a car with your foot outside the car … It is what it was. And it’s my mistake, and I paid for it.”
Fries remembered seeing his uncle lying in a “pool of blood.” “I didn’t think he was alive,” Renner’s nephew told Sawyer.
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Renner said he owed his life to his nephew and his neighbors, who helped Fries care for his uncle while waiting for an ambulance.