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Jeremy Renner on His Character Becoming the ‘Mayor of Kingstown’ — ‘No, He Doesn’t Want to F***ing Be There’

Jeremy Renner is hitting the small screen in ‘Yellowstone’ creator Taylor Sheridan’s newest project for Paramount+, ‘Mayor of Kingstown.’ After a decade playing Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Renner is playing Mike McLusky – alongside Kyle Chandler and Diane Wiest -- a big time power player in the town of Kingston, Michigan.


  • Jeremy Renner is coming to the small screen after more than a decade playing Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Mayor of Kingstown follows Renner’s Mike McLusky and his family — Kyle Chandler and Diane Wiest.
  • The McLusky family are big time power brokers in the town of Kingstown, Michigan and the corrupt world of the prison industry.
Jeremy Renner of Mayor of Kingstown at the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" Press Conference at Walt Disney Studios on April 11, 2015 in Burbank, California
‘Mayor of Kingstown’ star Jeremy Renner | Vera Anderson/WireImage

Jeremy Renner has two major TV projects premiering this November — Hawkeye and Mayor of Kingstown. While fans are very familiar with Hawkeye — a character Renner has played in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a decade — they will be meeting Renner’s Mike McLusky in the Mayor of Kingstown pilot for the very first time.

The two characters couldn’t be more different. And Renner says that Mike “doesn’t want to f****ing be there.”

Jeremy Renner transitions to a lead TV role in ‘Mayor of Kingstown’

In Mayor of Kingstown, Renner plays Mike McLusky, the titular mayor and the series lead. The 50-year-old actor says that transitioning from film to TV had a bit of a learning curve. And building the character of Mike in the corrupt world of the prison industry wasn’t easy.

Renner said that trying to find “some sort of grounded stand on the world that was pretty foreign” to him was the first challenge.

“Once I got a grasp of that, then it was all the more emotional sort of context of the character that was very complex,” Renner told Parade Magazine. “With his fortitude and strength and his fearlessness and his actionability, all those types of things were, you know, all assets and characteristics that I like to play.”

The McLuskys are major power brokers in ‘Mayor of Kingstown’

Mayor of Kingstown follows Renner’s Mike and his McLusky family – featuring Kyle Chandler and Diane Wiest — who are big time power brokers in the town of Kingstown, Michigan. The only thriving industry in town is the Kingstown Penitentiary — which the McLusky family runs. And the business of incarceration is the world that this series will explore.

The series will follow Mike and his family as they try to bring order and justice to the Michigan town, which is devoid of both. The drama will tackle themes of systemic racism, corruption, and inequality.

Jeremy Renner says his character ‘doesn’t want to f***ing be there’

While discussing his character’s reluctance to enter into a position of power, Renner said that the prison industry is all Mike knows. The possibility of escaping that life isn’t even a thought. But he doesn’t know what else to do.

“He doesn’t want to f***ing be there. [But] there’s the bleakness of the thing, and you don’t know what else to do. This is all you know, in your life, right?” Renner said.

“When you grew up in a town of prisons where everything in the town is about incarceration… you know, it’s like what else do you do? Where else do you go? Yeah, go to Florida. All your life is known and built around this sort of environment. And these people are products of that environment. So there’s a sadness and acceptance of this sort of thing.”

The prison is the center of everything in ‘Mayor of Kingstown’

Renner notes that everyone in Kingstown is “either inside the prison, or you’re outside the prison, work for the prison, or waiting for someone to come out of that prison.” Even though this is a whole new world for creator Taylor Sheridan to explore (after a string of westerns), Renner says the Oscar nominee really challenged himself with this project.

“That’s the world, and that world exists. And I think it’s captivating what he’s [Sheridan] written, and to challenge himself to understand the issues and associations that happen just inside the prisons and outside the prisons. It’s fascinating to me. And I can’t wait for people to watch it.”

Jeremy Renner says Taylor Sheridan’s writing is ‘wonderfully honest’

Renner previously collaborated with Sheridan on 2018’s Wind River. The actor says the one thing that stands out about the Yellowstone creator’s writing is how “wonderfully honest” it is.

“It comes with the ferocity of his words, and the actions that he uses the words against him. “You know, violent [but] as equally beautifully thematically poetic and timely and important with social issues,” Renner explained.


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“And when you have that sort of yin and yang of dialogue, let alone storytelling, it just creates a wonderful smash of drama. And it’s always purposeful. Everything is purposeful, there’s no fat in it. It’s just like a David and Goliath. It’s just like Greek mythology.”

Mayor of Kingstown premieres Sunday, November 14 on Paramount+.