Ben Affleck Recruited Former Inmates to Help Jeremy Renner With His Boston Accent for ‘The Town’

Ben Affleck Once Recruited Boston Inmates to Help Jeremy Renner With His Accent for The Town
Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner Getty Images; FilmMagic

Jeremy Renner dropped the inside scoop on how he perfected his Boston accent for 2010’s The Town.

“I remember meeting with Ben [Affleck] on that, and that’s the first time I’d met him,” Renner recalled on the Monday, June 24, episode of the “SmartLess” podcast. “My first question to him was, ‘How [are] you gonna direct this thing and act and star in it? You’re kinda an OK actor, how do you expect to act in this thing?’ [I was] kinda f–king with him.”

Renner, a native of Modesto, California, starred in The Town opposite Affleck, who wrote and directed the 2010 crime thriller. The Town follows bank robber Doug MacRay (Affleck) who leads a ruthless band of criminals, including his best friend James (Renner).

“He’s so damn smart,” Renner said of Affleck. “Working with him was so, so great. He gave me so much freedom. I had never been to Boston in my life. Don’t know anything about it. And he’s like, ‘We’re not gonna do any dialect coaches.’ I’m like, ‘OK, great. Well, what the f—k am I gonna do then?’ So, he introduced me to people who just got out of prison. He had a bunch of armed robbers, bank robbers — so, I just hung out with these guys in bars for a couple weeks in town. And then I kinda found the character and what I was gonna do.”

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The Hawkeye actor added, laughing, “If we didn’t shoot in Boston, I would’ve been really screwed.”

Ben Affleck Once Recruited Boston Inmates to Help Jeremy Renner With His Accent for The Town 2
Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner arrive at the 2011 AFI Awards at The Four Seasons Hotel on January 14, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Renner is no stranger to crime dramas, as the actor currently stars as Mike McClusky in Paramount+’s Mayor of Kingstown, which airs new episodes of season 3 every Monday. Created by Taylor Sheridan (Yellowstone), Renner has starred in Mayor of Kingstown since the first season premiered in 2021.

Mayor of Kingstown season 3 marks Renner’s return to television after he was crushed by a snowplow in January 2023. The actor suffered more than 30 broken bones and was concerned he might never walk again after the accident.

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However, Renner shared his plan to reprise his role as Mike McClusky on CNN’s New Year’s Eve special in December 2023, almost a full year after his accident.

“We have a lot to celebrate this year,” he said at the time. “I’m so blessed that I had so many things to live for. I have a giant family, a 10-year-old daughter. I would have disappointed and messed up a lot of people’s lives if I passed. There’s a lot for me to fight for. Recovery is a one-way road in my mind. I still work hard every day.”

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