News

Jeremy Renner Says Mayor of Kingstown Is 'Intense' Compared to Hawkeye

Renner, his Mayor of Kingstown costars and the series creators give us the lowdown on the gritty drama.

by | November 12, 2021 | Comments

(Photo by Emerson Miller/ViacomCBS/Paramount+)

Jeremy Renner is having a busy November. The actor’s long-awaited return to television comes in the form of two different series, both with high-powered pedigrees. Hawkeye, the series spinoff starring his Marvel character, debuts on Disney+ at the end of the month. And on Sunday, November 14, he headlines the Paramount+ drama Mayor of Kingstown, a drama from Taylor Sheridan about a Michigan family of power brokers in a town whose main industry is incarceration.

Co-created by Renner’s Wind River writer/director Sheridan, the man behind Yellowstone (a.k.a. TV’s current No. 1 series), and Mayor of Kingstown costar Hugh Dillon, the series stars Renner, Kyle Chandler, Dianne Wiest, and Taylor Handley as Mike, Mitch, Miriam, and Kyle McLusky — a family who helps negotiate peace in a town filled with for-profit prisons.

The twisted power dynamics between law enforcement, prisoners, townspeople, and other stakeholders are at the center of this series. Below, Renner and his co-stars reveal what to know about the show ahead of its premiere.


1. So, Uh, Who’s the Mayor?

(Photo by Emerson Miller/ViacomCBS/Paramount+)

The mayor of the show’s title is an unofficial honorific — it’s bestowed upon Mike, begrudgingly, at the end of the pilot, when he’s forced to take up the mantle as head of the family business. (So no, this is not a drama about small-town government.) Does he actually want to be the person at the apex of power in a town filled with bad actors?

“The short answer is f— no,” Renner told Rotten Tomatoes when we interviewed the cast. “No, he doesn’t want to f—ing be there. When it’s all you know, there’s a bleakness of the thing. You don’t know what else to do. This is all you know in your life. When you grew up in a town of a prison where everything in the town is about incarceration, it’s like, what else do you do? Where else do you go? Yeah, you go to Florida. What are you gonna do there? All your life is known and built around this environment, and these people are products of that environment. So there’s a sadness and acceptance of this sort of thing. It’s like, I don’t know why these people don’t just get the hell out of there. But they’re in it.”


2. Who’s the Most Powerful McLusky?

(Photo by Emerson Miller/ViacomCBS/Paramount+)

Chandler’s Mitch is a fixer of sorts, while middle brother Mike (Renner) is forging his own relationships in town. Youngest brother Kyle (Handley), meanwhile, is resentful that his brothers (and his father before them) have made such a treacherous job — dealing with dangerous people — the family business. Miriam (Wiest) teaches inmates in the prisons, but holds her own power at home. Sort of. Who is actually the most powerful person in the family?

“I think Miriam would like to think it’s her, but she knows she has no power whatsoever over her sons,” Wiest said. “She can’t save them. She can’t make them do anything — even come to dinner, have a sit-down dinner with them. My youngest, his beautiful wife can’t even get a moment to tell him she’s pregnant. He’s having a son. I have no power. And that gives me a strange kind of power in a way. If you know that you’re powerless. You’re kind of a loose cannon.”


3. Who Are the Other Players?

(Photo by Emerson Miller/ViacomCBS/Paramount+)

Former Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen plays Russian mobster Milo Sunter, who continues running his operation while behind bars, and Emma Laird plays Russian mob associate Iris. Meanwhile, Tobi Bamtefa plays local gang leader Bunny, who has an interesting relationship with Mike. Series co-creator Dillon plays a local cop and longtime friend of the McLuskey family who, Dillon said, “does everything by the book, but it happens to be his book.”


4. What Kinds of Issues Does the Show Tackle?

In case you couldn’t tell, the storylines deal with power, generational trauma, wealth, and the prison industrial complex. You know, light and breezy stuff like that. The series, Bamtefa explained to Rotten Tomatoes and a small group of reporters in a virtual interview, shows how the prison industrial complex affects the society around it, from childhood to adulthood, from generation to generation.

In fact, he had a long chat with Sheridan before filming began about the prison industrial complex and what issues Mayor of Kingstown would highlight.

“For starters, you have to question why it’s even called a business, because then now we’re delving into the into the realm of what are the ethics of the people who are running these organizations? And what are they interested in,” Bamtefa said. “Are they actually interested in corrections or are they interested in punishment for money and are trying to profit off that? And then you start delving into the conversation of is that good or bad? Or is that beneficial?”


5. Was It Weird for Renner to Film Mayor of Kingstown and Hawkeye Back to Back?

Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner in Hawkeye

(Photo by Disney+)

In a word, no. Renner said that even though the subject matter of both series is vastly different — in fact, Hawkeye has a fun Christmas theme running throughout — it’s all the same when you’re on set. It’s only after when he was able to realize just how tonally different the shows actually are.

“Once you’re on set and you get the understanding of it, you fall right into it and fall right into place. You’re surrounded by different actors and different sets and costumes and all these things, and I didn’t really realize the difference until I saw the first or second episode [of Mayor of Kingstown] early on in the process. I’m like, wow, this is pretty intense compared to the Hawkeye show and the lighter fare and the happiness and the Christmas music. This is the harrowing storytelling of Taylor Sheridan, but blessed to be able to do both. Very, very, very happy to be able to do both.”

Mayor of Kingstown premieres Sunday November 14 on Paramount+.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

Spike Arrowverse Spring TV Avengers Rocketman political drama fast and furious VOD indiana jones legend Netflix heist movie slashers scary king kong Valentine's Day child's play hist TruTV Discovery Channel kids A&E Comedy Central Broadway Endgame finale Election Spectrum Originals Nominations Year in Review razzies Best Director name the review dc BBC America sequels tv talk critic resources X-Men mob GLAAD spider-man Marathons asian-american Star Wars Black History Month 1990s A24 werewolf Elton John Tumblr Cannes Holiday Fox Searchlight italian doctor who Dark Horse Comics canceled Sci-Fi new zealand First Reviews rt labs critics edition TBS pirates of the caribbean romantic comedy Disney Plus Nat Geo Sneak Peek TNT blockbuster Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BAFTA FX on Hulu screen actors guild BBC One 2016 cops worst franchise Drama Disney Channel Emmy Nominations Marvel Television Critics Association archives cars FXX young adult spinoff WGN game show gangster Superheroe adventure Kids & Family Trivia art house disaster mission: impossible comic book movies dramedy Ellie Kemper TV Land Peacock TV One singing competition rotten movies we love james bond 24 frames Hollywood Foreign Press Association action-comedy animated scene in color Pop SundanceTV Best Actress trailers Warner Bros. boxing aliens Fargo Emmys obi wan Rock Winners mockumentary MSNBC 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Black Mirror independent Pop TV TCM festival TCA Winter 2020 comedies live action slasher Amazon Prime LGBTQ PBS CW Seed Comic Book hidden camera Opinion cooking elevated horror black comedy Paramount Plus Turner Countdown Brie Larson television jamie lee curtis scary movies true crime football Apple Ovation Musical zombies hollywood Apple TV Plus Comic-Con@Home 2021 Character Guide Mudbound documentaries streaming movies SXSW space Podcast latino stop motion anime Neflix robots 93rd Oscars Calendar lord of the rings IFC Women's History Month ratings all-time Polls and Games Fantasy FX 4/20 Epix theme song Martial Arts First Look ViacomCBS Mary poppins Food Network transformers Adult Swim universal monsters 007 scorecard Pixar NBC police drama technology Disney+ Disney Plus cancelled television critics thriller psycho Academy Awards Universal psychological thriller cartoon japanese fresh SXSW 2022 blaxploitation spain Ghostbusters Western PaleyFest GIFs MTV Pacific Islander Song of Ice and Fire AMC Plus Watching Series VH1 Animation CBS All Access best Bravo stoner nfl Christmas Cartoon Network boxoffice batman criterion kong TV renewals See It Skip It supernatural E3 Esquire APB Pride Month crime thriller Columbia Pictures richard e. Grant DGA unscripted Tags: Comedy docudrama Mindy Kaling french cancelled Fox News 2018 The CW news Chernobyl 20th Century Fox versus harry potter USA period drama screenings Showtime Mary Tyler Moore deadpool zombie TIFF sopranos directors Amazon Prime Video strong female leads cancelled TV shows cults Mary Poppins Returns The Walking Dead comics halloween tv Turner Classic Movies Holidays movie CMT women binge ABC Signature TLC christmas movies adaptation Stephen King 45 American Society of Cinematographers Biopics USA Network vs. sag awards sequel The Purge Interview cats target saw canceled TV shows comic books a nightmare on elm street vampires streaming VICE laika WarnerMedia Winter TV YouTube Red jurassic park Paramount Network witnail Thanksgiving hispanic cancelled TV series Reality The Walt Disney Company Oscars Grammys twilight Disney streaming service IMDb TV biopic die hard Best Picture Apple TV+ Nickelodeon Acorn TV telelvision breaking bad NYCC Awards Tour docuseries game of thrones HBO Go Sony Pictures OWN TV composers ghosts serial killer Tomatazos Britbox comic australia rotten Syfy Amazon Image Comics historical drama Vudu spanish nbcuniversal dogs Tarantino Sundance teaser Shudder Logo foreign DC Universe BET Awards summer TV Pet Sematary El Rey MCU based on movie streamig Oscar halloween BET 2020 San Diego Comic-Con concert MGM Rocky Exclusive Video Crunchyroll rt archives parents genre prank LGBT wonder woman renewed TV shows Musicals japan Alien Schedule trophy Lifetime Christmas movies CBS Sundance Now Tokyo Olympics obituary TCA Awards Creative Arts Emmys crime Music superman hispanic heritage month south america Comics on TV Star Trek marvel cinematic universe 2015 romance dreamworks Summer Binge Guide YouTube 90s The Arrangement documentary OneApp BBC summer preview Tubi dexter reviews mcc Action politics History new star wars movies 2021 science fiction Quiz Instagram Live crossover Wes Anderson Certified Fresh green book Trailer 79th Golden Globes Awards satire Horror spy thriller chucky adenture Red Carpet emmy awards Writers Guild of America dragons ID Freeform Television Academy revenge Mystery Travel Channel Cosplay worst movies debate comic book movie live event HBO Max golden globe awards Pirates basketball festivals RT21 PlayStation rt labs E! biography NBA crime drama 71st Emmy Awards Film Reality Competition Premiere Dates ESPN 72 Emmy Awards book Lifetime GoT mutant video on demand DC streaming service DirecTV Country Crackle Starz remakes HBO Hallmark AMC CNN Set visit diversity Universal Pictures black justice league high school comiccon Legendary toy story TV movies 21st Century Fox Netflix Christmas movies Box Office classics Super Bowl The Witch Prime Video FOX dark The Academy ABC Family natural history DC Comics superhero ABC cinemax king arthur award winner HFPA leaderboard book adaptation war Amazon Studios Heroines SDCC Captain marvel New York Comic Con 73rd Emmy Awards Paramount monster movies international venice YouTube Premium Superheroes Rom-Com Fall TV joker kaiju talk show dceu Best Actor RT History video toronto Walt Disney Pictures ITV Lucasfilm summer TV preview Comedy feel good Masterpiece marvel comics 2019 zero dark thirty Family YA stand-up comedy rom-coms Teen know your critic medical drama what to watch Hear Us Out Marvel Studios Infographic discovery National Geographic 2017 Video Games Film Festival quibi children's TV IFC Films nature Extras olympics free movies series travel 94th Oscars Hallmark Christmas movies Classic Film TCA popular Marvel Television Toys TCA 2017 godzilla miniseries blockbusters suspense Sundance TV golden globes Shondaland facebook posters Anna Paquin Trophy Talk movies President anthology Hulu Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sports films 99% Disney spanish language aapi new york royal family Funimation indie Photos Lionsgate sitcom spider-verse Awards social media reboot casting Baby Yoda South by Southwest Film Festival Best and Worst