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How Jeremy Renner Coached Dianne Wiest Through A Rough Scene On Mayor Of Kingstown - Exclusive

Hollywood slaps may be entertaining to watch from an audience perspective, but they're not always fun for the actors partaking in the scene — whether the slapper or the slapee. It's certainly an art form any actor has to spend time perfecting, and it's not as easy as looks.

Iconic actor Dianne Wiest plays Miram McLusky in "Mayor of Kingstown" — on-screen mother to Jeremy Renner (Mike), Kyle Chandler (Mitch), and Taylor Handley (Kyle). While she's most definitely a hardass, she has a hardened kind of compassion that stems from years of loss. Yet Miriam can be a bit callous at times due to her efforts to keep her family from repeating the same deadly mistakes.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Wiest revealed how Jeremy Renner coached her through a Hollywood slap — and how much she hated the violence, even though it wasn't real. She also gushed about working with Renner in the first season of the series.

Working with Jeremy Renner

During our interview, Dianne Wiest reflected on playing Miriam and shared the highlights of working with her on-screen sons. "I think it was Episode 1," she said. "The first scene I do with Jeremy [Renner], who is ... I adore working with him. He's such a great actor."

There's no denying that Renner is in his best acting form on "Mayor of Kingstown," playing his role with a focused intensity. "It's right after my oldest son is shot and killed, and it's a weird thing," Wiest added. "I'm sort of accusing him, but what I'm really trying to do is save him from the same fate. But it's hostile; it's mean because Miriam is a woman that's filled with rage because of her losses."

Miriam isn't all the rage, however. She volunteers at the Kingstown prison, teaching inmates the unabridged and unwatered-down history that's often left out of high school textbooks and curricula.

The infamous slap

Dianne Wiest didn't exactly have the easiest time fake-slapping Jeremy Renner on the show, as she recalled. "I had to have stunt help. There would've been stunt help anyway, but I needed to have a stuntman tell me that I wasn't going to hurt him," she explained. "The camera had to angle a different way so that I was sure I wouldn't hurt him because I am no good at that kind of violence; I'm a failure. I did not enjoy [it]. I was very happy when that scene was over. I don't enjoy hitting people." That's definitely a tough position to be in as a pacifist, but Wiest trudged through with the help of Renner. 

Wiest confirmed that Renner walked her through the scene and told her it was okay — all is fair in love and Hollywood, after all. "He was wonderful, and he didn't flinch. Of course, I'm the least of the violence that happens to him in the show [because] he goes through so much, but he didn't flinch," she added. "I would've gone, 'Oh, don't, don't,' but he stood his ground there."

Wiest found her workaround, though. She noted, "I actually ended up slapping him and then hitting him on the shoulder because that is something I could do more easily." The final product is certainly convincing, and fans would have no idea from watching the scene that Wiest was having any difficulty in the moment. Watching the performances, it's quite easy to ditch reality for 40 minutes and get completely swept up in the TV show.

The first season of "Mayor of Kingstown" is now available for purchase on Blu-ray and DVD. The first season is also streaming in full on Paramount+.