Jeremy Renner on target to play Hawkeye?

Long rumored for the role, Jeremy Renner is close to singing a deal to pick up a bow, arrow and Avengers membership card as Hawkeye, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

THR claims Renner, the Academy Award nominated actor from last year’s The Hurt Locker, is in final negotiations to join the cast of The Avengers, Marvel Studios’ upcoming film which is rumored to be directed by Joss Whedon and would unite several of comics’ most popular superheroes.

Renner’s character, Hawkeye, is a bow-and-arrow wielding hotshot whose comic book persona has oftentimes matched the devil-may-care suicidal tendencies of Renner’s Hurt Locker character.

Other actors currently signed on to appear in The Avengers include Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, 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.

In other Marvel casting news, Deadline is reporting that Neal McDonough (who, in addition to appearing in such movies as Minority Report and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li, was a star of the vastly underrated television show Boomtown) is in talks to join the ever expanding cast of Captain America.

McDonoguh, if rumors are to believed, would play Dum Dum Dugan, the World War II sidekick to future S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury.

The Pulse: Marvel certainly seems to be assembling a top-notch cast for their upcoming slate of films. What’s really interesting about all of this, though, is the reportedly low salaries being offered to the actors. I imagine some type of back-end deal is involved — and I don’t mean that the actors are being threatened with rape courtesy of the Hulk if they don’t accept their offers.

While I realize money isn’t everything and some actors may want to appear in a Marvel movie purely out of the desire to impress children — either their own or the inner child who grew up reading Marvel comics. Whatever the reason, I could care less what Marvel is offering the actors they’ve managed to sign onboard their films (the souls of virgins, notwithstanding), as long as it means we’re going to get some well-acted Marvel Universe movies in the future.

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