After considering actors such as Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Luke Evans, Taylor Kitsch, Benjamin Walker and Kellan Lutz Universal Pictures has formally offered Jeremy Renner the lead role in The Bourne Legacy.
Renner, who received two Oscar nominations in the last two years for The Hurt Locker and The Town, is already familiar with the spy genre having already completed filming Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which is due for release in December. There was speculation that Paramount hired Renner so he could take over from Tom Cruise in future films, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to lead two spy franchises at once.
Renner recently worked on Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters with Gemma Arterton and will play Hawkeye in The Avengers when cameras roll next month.
Last year director Tony Gilroy (Duplicity, Michael Clayton, writer of previous Bourne films) explained what The Bourne Legacy was actually about and insisted it won’t prevent Matt Damon from returning in the future.
“It’s a completely original screenplay.” Secondly, “This is not a reboot or a recast or a prequel. No one’s replacing Matt Damon. There will be a whole new hero, a whole new chapter…this is a stand-alone project.
“The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal,” Gilroy says. “Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for what happens. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy…the world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s return [down the road].
Universal is targeting an August 2012 release for The Bourne Legacy with filming expected to begin in September. What do you think of Renner being the new face of the Bourne franchise?