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Now that Joss Whedon has made his official public debut as the director of The Avengers, he’s going to spend months fielding questions about the approach to making Marvel’s very ambitious superhero team movie. Some of the first questions have been about casting one new role and recasting one returning character.

MTV talked to Whedon at the EW/SyFy party this past Saturday night at the San Diego Comic Con. Here’s what he had to say about casting Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye:

The thing about Hawkeye, he’s got his bows and arrows, you need somebody who’s very very down to earth, who’s very grounded, and who’s going to be the kind of guy who, you see him, and you understand why he likes to be far away from things and then shoot at them.

The point of all that being: the character has to be real enough that he doesn’t become, as Whedon indicates could happen, “very silly.” When you’ve got Iron Man flying around blowing the hell out of things and additional characters like the Hulk and Thor providing more brute force, how will the far more low-key Hawkeye fit in? Could be silly indeed, but Renner is probably just about the best choice to make the role work.

And with respect to Mark Ruffalo coming on board to play the Hulk:

Mark was my first and only choice for Bruce Banner. I’m stunned that we landed that, just stunned. He has what I remember loving about the show, that quality of, you just look at him and you go through it with him, he invites you in in a way that [no] other performer has since Bill Bixby. He is a guy who’s been beaten up by life, but not defined by that. That’s what I want from Bruce Banner, is a guy who’s still getting it done, even though he has his problem.

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