The loose talk was apparently a bulls eye. In late 2009 "The Hurt Locker" star Jeremy Renner said he and Marvel had been in discussions about playing the archer character Hawkeye in "The Avengers."
That talk cooled slightly when Renner backed away from that claim somewhat and cautioned to fans that those conversations were very early ones. It appears now those discussions went well.
THR is reporting that Renner is in final negotiations to play the archer character in "The Avengers" film that will be directed by Joss Whedon (final negotiations is basically done deal, btw).
As THR notes, Renner's character is a bit rogue and was not initially a team member. In fact his origin ties in closely to Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow character as she tricked him into helping her to steal technology developed by Tony "Iron Man" Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) Whether the movie plays with that same storyline is obviously unknown.
The trade also notes that cast members are all taking paycuts to keep costs down and that all the usual suspects from the Marvel films so far are scheduled to appear, but no deal for Ed Norton as The Hulk exists yet (it's very possible, they just get the CGI monster to appear and they don't need the actor, who could prove to be difficult and pricey).
Renner passed on Universal's "Battleship" earlier this year despite heavy courting by the studio and while he's interested in Paul Thomas Anderson's Untitled Scientology film — and is for all intents and purposes appearing in it, if it finds its financing — the picture has been delayed several times (talk backers on our site now insist the film is scheduled for a year-end shoot at the earliest and we're inclined to believe them)
There's been tons of "Avengers" rumors of late. Recent chatter has pegged actors like Josh Holloway ("Lost"), Nathan Fillion, and TV actor Kevin Pennington ("90210"), to have roles in the super hero team-up picture, but none of this talk has turned into anything other than simple speculation.
"The Avengers" is scheduled to hit theaters May 4, 2012 and last we heard Robert Downey Jr. was talking about a Spring 2011 production start date.