It looks like Jeremy Renner will actually be playing Hawkeye in Joss Whedon's The Avengers! The last we heard there was an unconfirmed rumor that he already had signed on, but it looks like that wasn't the case because today we found out that he is in final negotiations, which is just as good as being cast. This is a role Renner himself expressed interest if, and something he would want to do if he was offered the role. In an interview awhile back he said,
I know they're interested, I'm interested, so we'll see if it works out....They sold me on the idea, too, because I love the idea that Hawkeye's really not a superhero. He's just a man with a high skill set, so I can relate to (that). The Marvel guys are great for how they made Iron Man to be, 'Oh, that's actually plausible' so I bought it and I love that. They're really, really smart guys and I'd love to work for 'em, and we'll see if it works out.
He also described what they would be doing with the character saying,
It's going to be modernized, it's not going to be the guy with the big purple (mask), it's not going to be a guy in tights. It's going to be a guy in sunglasses and a vest. He's going to be more modernized and I'm gonna say, 'A cooler-looking version' and not the big weird costume he had on. I don't think they're going that route.
Renner will join Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Don Cheadle as War Machine. No word yet on if Ed Norton will return as The Hulk.
Here's a little background info on the character.
Clint Barton was an orphan, and ran away from the orphanage as a pre-teen to join the circus as a carnival performer, where he was trained in the use of the bow and arrow by the Swordsman and Trickshot. When he discovered that his mentors were both criminals he rejected them, leading to a beating by Swordsman which left Barton badly injured and hospitalized. Years later, he saw Iron Man in action, and was inspired and decided to become a costumed hero called Hawkeye. However, there is a misunderstanding on Hawkeye's first outing and he is believed to be a criminal, accused of theft.
On the run, the naive Hawkeye meets the Black Widow, a spy for the Soviet Union, whom he falls in love with. She tricks him into helping her to steal technology developed by Tony Stark, Iron Man's alter ego. After several battles with Iron Man — who defeats the pair on every occasion — the Black Widow is injured and Hawkeye flees with her, deciding to go "straight" from then on. Hawkeye later "applies" for membership in the superhero team the Avengers, by breaking into Avengers Mansion and binding and gagging the team's butler, Edwin Jarvis. Hawkeye is accepted, and together with leader Captain America and mutant siblings Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch become the new team when the original members take a leave of absence.
If you want to learn more about the character Hawkeye Click Here for his detailed history.