BREAKING: The search is over. Universal Pictures has formally offered Jeremy Renner the lead role in the Tony Gilroy-directed The Bourne Legacy. Renner, who has been nominated for Oscars the past two years for his work in The Hurt Locker and The Town, is expected to sign on quickly to play a new character in the spinoff film that begins production in September. Like the Jason Bourne character played by Matt Damon in the first three The Bourne Identity thrillers, Renner will play an operative from a covert government program that is even more dangerous than the Treadstone brainwashing program that hatched Bourne.
Renner was one of the names rumored as the studio went through two cycles of tests over eight weeks to find the right guy. That decision was made today. Even though Renner plays an operative in the upcoming Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol, the studio felt clearly that he was in a position similar to where Damon was when his career took off with Bourne. Renner is not a kid, but he is really hitting his stride and poised to become a big star after numerous strong performances.
The studio looked closely at a number of up and coming stars, and tested the likes of Joel Edgerton (The Thing), Dominic Cooper (The Devil’s Double), Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) and Luke Evans (The Amateur American). Other names in the mix included Taylor Kitsch, Anthony Mackie and Oscar Isaac.