Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner is in final negotiations to join “The Avengers,” Marvel Studios’ all-star superhero epic that will be directed by Joss Whedon, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision Blog.
Renner, who was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his starring role in “The Hurt Locker,” lost out to Jeff Bridges’ performance in the recovery drama “Crazy Heart,” but has been in demand ever since. He has reportedly been very interested in Paul Thomas Anderson’s untitled drama, which is still seeking financing, and Universal was very interested in him for its “Battleship” movie, which will now star Taylor Kitsch, who played superhero Gambit in Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
Renner would reportedly play the bow-and-arrow-carrying hero Hawkeye, who, while not one of the original members of The Avengers superhero team when it was created in the 1960s, but became an integral member once the former bad guy switched sides.
In the original Marvel comics, the former circus performer Hawkeye worked with Soviet spy The Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson in “Iron Man 2”) to steal technology from Stark Industries, clashing several times with Stark alter ego Iron Man.
“The Heroic Age” Photo: Courtesy Marvel Entertainment LLC (c) 2010
In “The Avengers,” Renner would join Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Don Cheadle as War Machine, all of whom have appeared in one or both of the first two highly successful “Iron Man” movies.
Jackson is also rumored to be playing Nick Fury in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” which starts shooting under director Joe Johnston this month, which is interesting, as that movie is reported to be set during World War II. (That much was confirmed by Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, to the Capital District Movies Examiner back in September 2009.)
It has been widely rumored that The Incredible Hulk will also appear in “The Avengers,” which Marvel has steadfastly refused to confirm. THR reports, however, that there is no deal in place which would bring back Ed Norton, who was excellent in the part of Dr. Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk, in the 2008 movie of the same name.
An earlier feature adaptation, “Hulk,” which starred Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, directed by Ang Lee, was not generally well-received by fans.
Hawkeye Photo: Marvel Ent. LLC (c) 2010
Marvel has also not confirmed that it’s negotiating with Renner. Dude, they never do. This is one studio that plays its cards very close to its vest. You’re doing well if you get confirmation before the end credits roll.
In any event, as moviegoers already know, Jackson first appeared as Nick Fury in an unbilled cameo following the end credits of “Iron Man,” and made the first reference to a superhero team. Robert Downey, Jr., reprising his Tony Stark role, made a similar cameo at the end of “The Incredible Hulk,” which came out later that same summer.
That movie also made veiled references to a World War II “super soldier project,” which comic fans realized referred to Captain America. “Iron Man 2” introduces The Black Widow character, and a post-end credits scene drops a large hint to “Thor,” which has recently wrapped principal photography and will be released next summer.
“The Avengers” is scheduled to begin principal photography early next year, and will be a tentpole release for the studio in the summer of 2012, a summer that will also see new “Spider-Man” and “Batman” movies.
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