John Shearer/WireImage.com
Adam B. Vary
April 21, 2011 AT 12:00 PM EDT

After an exhaustive search for the right leading man, EW has confirmed that the lead role in The Bourne Legacy has been offered to Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Town). Written and directed by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), the film is not a reboot of the Bourne franchise; Renner would play a new character within the Bourne universe, an agent in a different covert government program than the one that ensnared and pursued Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne. While Damon will not appear in The Bourne Legacy, his character will be a presence in the new film as the title suggests. (Deadline first reported the story.)

Renner will next appear this December alongside Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, and will play Hawkeye in Marvel Studios’ The Avengers, due to begin shooting later this year. The Bourne Legacy will likely start production in September.

Read more:

‘Bourne Legacy’ could star Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire, or…Paul Dano?! A casting agent weighs in.

Tony Gilroy in final negotiations to direct ‘Bourne Identity 4’

Matt Damon on ‘Bourne 4′: ‘I wouldn’t do it without Paul Greengrass’

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