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Jeremy Renner Forms Production Company, Developing Steve McQueen Biopic (Exclusive)

James Gray is writing the McQueen script, with video director Ivan Zacharias attached to make his directorial debut on the project.

Jeremy Renner
Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner continues his march toward Hollywood domination.

The two-time Oscar nominee, who has been on an upward trajectory since starring in best picture winner The Hurt Locker, has formed The Combine, a production company he will run with partner Don Handfield. And the company is hitting the ground running, developing a Steve McQueen biopic that will serve as a starring vehicle for the actor.

James Gray, who wrote and directed We Own the Night, is attached to write the McQueen screenplay, which will be based on the two books by Marshall Terrill: Portrait of an American Rebel and The Life and Legend of a Hollywood Icon. Video director Ivan Zacharias is attached to make his directorial debut on the project.

Renner and Handfield will produce the McQueen project with Hurt Locker producer Greg Shapiro, Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver (one of the producers of Black Swan), and Zacharias’ producing partner Nick Landon.

CAA packaged the project, repping Renner, Grey, Zacharias and the producers, and will also rep the North American distribution rights.

Renner seems like a great fit for the iconic '70s star, with the right rugged looks and all-man attitude (even if his reputation isn't as messy as McQueen’s). But the project is in the development stage and Renner, who’s become one of the most sought-after and busiest actors in Hollywood since his back-to-back Oscar nominations for Hurt Locker and The Town, has plenty on his plate to keep him occupied until it’s ready.

With Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol already in the can, he is currently in Berlin shooting Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters for Paramount, after which he will segue to Marvel’s The Avengers, which just got under way in New Mexico with Joss Whedon directing. He's also weighing an offer to star in The Bourne Legacy for Universal, which would shoot in the fall, and then he may next go into Sheldon Turner's By Virtue Fall in February. Additionally, he just signed on to lend his voice for Fox’s latest installment of the Ice Age animated franchise.

With Combine, Renner and Handfield, an actor-turned-filmmaker, are trying to create entertainment from an artist-based perspective. According to sources, “the company will provide a framework to create, develop and support the vision of actors, writers and directors across all platforms.”

E-mail: borys.kit@thr.com

E-mail: jay.fernandez@thr.com