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The Bourne franchise set to continue with new character and leading man

The Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner has been offered the lead role in The Bourne Legacy.

The Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner has been offered the lead role in The Bourne Legacy, although not the title role of the super spy Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon in the first three instalments.

Renner is set to play a government undercover spy from the agency trailing Jason Bourne in the previous films.

Bourne's character, who retired at the end of the 2007's Bourne Ultimatum, will only be mentioned in the plot.

Adapted from Eric Van Lustbader's novel, The Bourne Legacy is to be written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who wrote the previous three films.

Renner, who went through two rounds of auditions for the role, triumphed over a strong acting field including Shia LaBeouf, Jake Gyllenhaal, Toby Maguire and Joel Edgerton.

Renner has been in considerable demand since his Oscar nominations for The Hurt Locker and The Town.

He is currently shooting Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunter before joining the cast of The Avengers as Hawkeye.

He is also due to star alongside Eric Bana in the revenge thriller By Virtue Fall.

But those wondering whether Renner can cut it in a big action franchise will have to wait until December, when he co-stars in Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

The Bourne Legacy is due to start shooting in September with its release set for August of next year.

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