Jeremy Renner has revealed new details about the role Hawkeye plays at the beginning of The Avengers. Despite the fact that he’s had the least screen time in comparison to the rest of the team (a brief cameo in THOR) his part in the superhero ensemble is no less important. “Barton has been monitoring Dr. Selvig to make sure he isn’t doing anything to the Tesseract. He is an intense guy and takes his duties very seriously, but things start to go horribly wrong with the Tesseract and suddenly Barton is face to face with Loki, which is not a great place to be. Kevin Feige showed me images of Hawkeye from ‘The Ultimates’ and they were very cool, but what I liked more then anything was the idea that he’s a human being with a high skill set who is a bit of a rogue agent. I’ve played a few snipers before and there’s a really interesting mentality that comes along with being a sharp shooter, so I thought it was a pretty fun character to play.”
“We wanted Hawkeye on the team because he was a fan favorite and adds a little bit of an X-factor,” says director Joss Whedon. “To have a character who’s not necessarily a mainstream hero that everybody knows about is very cool. The thing about archery is at first you go, ‘All he uses is a bow and arrow?’ People love archery because it’s very primal and deadly, but at the same time it can be very elegant and lovely to watch.” The director continues, “Shooting a bow and arrow is a very specific movement and it informed the way Jeremy Renner moved as well. Jeremy is very athletic and can work like a stuntman, but at the same time he is extremely balletic and precise in his movements, which was perfect for Hawkeye. I loved the idea of shooting one way while looking another way because he’s gauging the wind and the trajectory of his target. Action-wise Hawkeye is as fascinating a character as there is in the film.”
However, there was one aspect of Hawkeye that Whedon was more than happy to leave in the comic books. In order to ground the character in reality, he knew that the bright purple costume just wouldn’t cut it. Let’s just say it, the purple mask Hawkeye wears in the comics is just not a good idea,” he laughs. “As much as possible with The Avengers, you want to see their faces and Jeremy Renner’s face is incredibly compelling, so I said, ‘Here’s an idea…don’t put cloth over it.’ We ended up going with Bryan Hitch’s vision of the costume from ‘Ultimates’ and Mark Miller’s vision of the idea that he’s not a super hero; he is a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Hawkeye also likes to sneak off by himself to the highest and darkest part of the room and he’s not much of a team player.”
Costume designer Alexandra Byrne was then faced with the challenge of bringing the ‘Ultimate’ costume to life on the big screen for Jeremy Renner to wear. “Hawkeye’s weapons and fighting style were big influences in the costume design of the character. Jeremy is extremely agile and I wanted to achieve a clean silhouette. Jeremy’s stance for drawing the bowstring threw his neck tall and straight, but in a crouch position his neck came forward, so we developed a center back detail in the stand collar made with woven elastics. This meant the collar could stretch back with Jeremy as he drew the bow and would not be left poking out as he bent forward.”
“We wanted to make sure that S.H.I.E.L.D was a grounded place because in the Marvel Universe it’s a real organization with agents, missions and operatives,” adds executive producer Jeremy Latcham. “Hawkeye seemed like a logical extension of that, as he is a guy who is a master assassin who is very proficient at what he does, but he also is a bit of a wild card as well. I feel like we won the lottery when we were able to cast Jeremy Renner in the role. The guy is an incredibly talented actor, who was nominated for an Oscar® two years in a row, and we were lucky that he happened to be in a moment where he wanted to go do something big and fun. He really brings it every single day and he’s constantly upping the ante in every scene.” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says, “Hawkeye is introduced and is the largest new character in this film. Hawkeye has one of the coolest and most iconic of all of the weapons in the Marvel Universe and we were all very happy to be able to finally bring it to life in ‘The Avengers.’”
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