Confirming months-long rumors, Heat Vision reports that The Hurt Locker star Jeremy Renner is in final negotiations to play Hawkeye in The Avengers.
Renner will join Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle in the Marvel Studios adaptation that's all but guaranteed to be directed by Joss Whedon. The Avengers is set to premiere on May 4, 2012.
Word of Renner's involvement began circulating as far back as November, when the actor was quoted as saying he'd spoken to Marvel about playing Hawkeye in Thor. However, a month later, Renner said the reports were "blown way out of proportion," and that the role was simply "an idea."
"The only reason it came out this early, because Avengers is two years away, is that they’re thinking OK, we may throw him in Thor, we may not, as a cameo," Renner told Movieline in December. "You know what I mean? So there’s truth that we talked about it, but there’s no truth to me doing it."
Apparently something changed in six months; Heat Vision chalks it up to delays with an untitled project by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood).
While Renner is best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in The Hurt Locker, he also co-starred in such films as 28 Weeks Later, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and S.W.A.T.
In other Marvel movie news, Deadline reports that Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives, Tin Man) is in talks to play Dum Dum Dugan in Captain America: The First Avenger. He'll join Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, Sebastian Stan and Hayley Atwell in the Joe Johnston-directed film.