Could Jeremy Renner Play Hawkeye?

Exclusive: Actor reveals Marvel talks

With just three short years to go before Marvel unveils the most ambitious superhero movie of all time, The Avengers, we already know most of the line-up. You’ve got Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and we’d be astonished if Scarlett Johansson didn’t find a place in the team as Black Widow.

Which leaves, pretty much, Captain America and the supergroup’s can’t miss/won’t miss archer, Hawkeye. But, as exclusively revealed in this month’s issue of Empire (now on sale in all good newsagents), Jeremy Renner may well be the man to fill the purple tights of the latter Avenger. Which is ironic, because when Empire asked him about The Avengers, we were enquiring about the blue tights of the former.

“I don’t know if I’d be right for Captain America,” said the 38 year old actor, who’d previously been linked with the role of Cap on that there internet. “I met with the Marvel guys, actually, but we didn’t talk about Captain America. But one of the writers, Zak Penn, we’ve become friends over time and he was thinking maybe Hawkeye could be interesting. He sounds like an interesting character.”

True enough. Not to be confused with Alan Alda’s character from MASH, or indeed the hi-tech camera system that comes part and parcel with Wimbledon coverage, Hawkeye – aka Clint Barton – is a master archer, more than making up for his lack of superpowers with a keen eye, a steady hand and a never-ending quiver of tricksy arrows.

An Avenger since 1965, he’s long been an integral part of the team. So it’s pretty much a given that he’d crop up in The Avengers movie. But Marvel isn’t going to just pitch him into the action – the company is aiming to introduce him gently first, in a cameo.

But Empire’s conversation with Renner took place after Iron Man 2 wrapped so, unless they go back and add him in reshoots, all sneaky like, it seems more likely that he’ll crop up in Thor or The First Avenger: Captain America. Does Renner have inside info? “If I was a betting man, I would bet that Hawkeye would probably show up in Thor, and then be in The Avengers,” he said. “But do I know for sure? I can’t say. But I’d love for that to happen. It’d be fun.”

Marvel’s interest in Renner is further proof that the Californian native has finally punched through, thanks to his wonderful turn in Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker. But let’s sound a note of caution: it’s by no means confirmed that Renner will actually turn out to be Hawkeye. “No offer has been made,” he confirmed. “I think there’s a little ways from that.”

For one thing, Marvel may well be talking to a whole raft of young, blond actors and decide to go in another direction (say, Bradley Cooper). And for another, Renner’s been here before, and recently, having spent three months testing and chatting with George Miller about the role of Mad Max in Fury Road, only to lose out, seemingly, to Tom Hardy. But he’s surprisingly stoic about the whole thing.

“I’m just happy to get considered for big franchise roles like that,” he said. “I’m not [doing the] casting. If they see me that way, right on. If they don’t, I’m ok with it.”

So, what do you think, readers? If Marvel bring Renner on board, is he the perfect Hawkeye? And if not, who else might be able to pick up Barton’s big bow?

For more from Renner, and more on Iron Man 2, pick up the new issue of Empire, now on sale.