Marvel Studios is giving everyone another major reason to get excited about their upcoming slate of films and his name is Jeremy Renner. You may have heard of the Oscar nominated star and bad-ass character actor from his performance in that little film The Hurt Locker which took the award circuit by storm earlier this year.
While Marvel has not released a confirmation, Heat Vision is reporting that Jeremy Renner is nearing completion of a deal that would see him appear as Hawkeye in The Avengers which begins production early next year.
This is both surprising and unsurprising since Renner's name has been connected with the role for over a year now, originating with him having met with Marvel to talk about the character. On the other hand, it's a tad surprising since it's too good to be true!
While occupied with the aftermath of The Hurt Locker, Renner denied any and all rumors of him having signed to play the character with possible cameos in either Iron Man 2 or Thor but he did drop hints about what we can expect from Marvel's ideas for the live-action adaptation of the Hawkeye character and his costume.
Fast forward a few months to just last week and talk of the subject hit a new high when Harry Knowles at AICN reported from an insider that Renner had actually already signed on to play Hawkeye. As it turns out, Harry's source was pretty close and Renner was definitely in talks with Marvel.
According to this latest report, Renner is signing on for the role as it's a supporting character which still allows him the scheduling time needed to work on other projects, namely Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled drama should it get financed. That and his interest in the character of Hawkeye as emphasized in his words about the character and fondness to the idea that Hawkeye doesn't have special powers, he's a regular man with special skills.
Heat Vision is also reporting that Marvel Studios is doing their best to control costs for their super-ambitious Avengers movie and the key actors are taking serious salary cuts to make it work. We already know Marvel has been very strict on their contracts as we saw with the past issues surrounding the signing of Samuel L. Jackson to a 9-picture contract to play Nick Fury and of Mickey Rourke to play the main villain in Iron Man 2.
Marvel's strategy is a great one for planning long-term and to allow such a high-potential and massive franchise to grow. With Chris Evans also signing a 9-picture deal for The First Avenger: Captain America and other key actors optioned for extra films, Marvel can pump out sequels, cross-overs and other team-up films in the years post-The Avengers.
I couldn't be more excited about Jeremy Renner playing Clint Barton, in a similar character to the Ultimate version of Hawkeye from the comics. It has been no surprise that there exists an overwhelmingly positive response from fans to the frequent rumors over the last year. The response of fans to Renner playing Hawkeye no doubt played a significant factor for Marvel Studios making this happen and I hope it help in them signing Ed Norton to play Bruce Banner as well.
We don't know yet how many movies Renner is signing for but we can expect a standard multi-picture deal which would allow for appearances in the S.H.I.E.L.D. movie, sequel(s) to The Avengers or possible cameos in future films such as Iron Man 3.
What do you think of Jeremy Renner bringing Hawkeye to life?
Iron Man 2 is currently in theaters everywhere; Thor opens May 5, 2011; The First Avenger: Captain America hits July 22, 2011 and The Avengers is scheduled to debut May 4, 2012. We’ll find out what comes next at San Diego Comic-Con this summer!