Well, Jeremy Renner is almost Jason Bourne in that he’s been offered the role as Matt Damon’s replacement. He’s also almost Jason Bourne because he’ll be playing a new character in the same Bourne-verse. Of course, Jason Bourne isn’t even Jason Bourne so it all evens out.

According to Deadline Barrelsvile, the two-time Academy Award nominee who defused bombs in The Hurt Locker has been offered the starring role of a Bourne spin-off directed by Tony Gilroy. Now, it’s a matter of him accepting it or turning it down.

This, of course, couldn’t make more sense if it had a gun to our foreheads. Renner is set up as an action star that brings acting talent and an intensity cocaine addicts only wish they had to the table.

But there’s still a chance he might pass on the role. Why? For one, a packed work schedule. Both The Bourne Legacy and Avengers are slated for 2012, so they’ll have to make it work. Renner also has Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol coming out later this year as well as Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters filming right now for a 2012 release. For two, it’s a question as to whether Renner would be able to/want to take over as the point man for both the Mission: Impossible and Bourne franchises. That’s a lot of spy work for one man. His star is rising, of course, and while he’d be brilliant in this, the choice also almost seems myopic – as if there weren’t other talented, on-the-rise actors.

It’s still unclear where the direction of the film will go. Robert Ludlum only wrote three entries in the trilogy, and author Eric Van Lustbader (who has the best thriller author name of all time) continued the series with “The Bourne Legacy,” but it’s impossible to see its events playing out on the screen because they focus on Jason Bourne returning to life as David Webb before being drawn back into the game with a frame job. The plot of the novel might still be the framework, just with a new former Treadstone assassin, but those details are long from coming out.

It’s interesting to see them continue with the Bourne brand even if Bourne isn’t involved. How long can they keep naming sequels after a character nowhere to be found? Why not simply recast the role ala Bond? Will Renner be tapped to take over for the Tyler Perry franchises as well? Will it matter when Renner is choking someone to death with a tea pot? Exactly.

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