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With Bale out, Renner eyes David O. Russell pic

'Bourne' thesp in negotiations for Sony's untitled drama

Just weeks before “The Bourne Legacy” hits theaters, star Jeremy Renner is lining up his first project for 2013. Thesp is in negotiations to star alongside Bradley Cooper in David O. Russell’s untitled Sony Pictures drama formerly known as “American Bullshit.”

Christian Bale was originally attached to star, but now that he’s no longer involved with the project, Cooper will take over his role and Renner will tackle the role that Cooper had originally planned to play.

Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures is set to fully finance the Eric Warren Singer-scripted film, which Charles Roven and Richard Suckle of Atlas Entertainment are producing along with Ellison and Annapurna’s Ted Schipper.

Pic is based on the true story of a notorious financial con artist and his mistress who were forced to work with an intense and ambitious FBI agent to turn the tables on other con artists, mobsters and politicians.

Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” star Cooper is in negotiations to play the con artist, Mel Weinberg, who worked with the FBI as the star witness in its far-reaching Abscam corruption case that stretched from Atlantic City all the way to the steps of Congress. Renner is in talks to co-star as Jimmy Boyle, the FBI agent who busts Weinberg and then partners with him in the sting.

Production will start in February, and Panorama has already sold the movie internationally. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has acquired distribution rights in certain international territories, though Columbia Pictures will handle U.S. distribution.

Bale recently wrapped Scott Cooper’s Relativity pic “Out of the Furnace” and will spend the rest of 2012 filming a pair of Terrence Malick movies. He has not yet committed to any projects next year.

Renner, who recently co-starred in Marvel’s “The Avengers,” will next be seen in Universal’s “The Bourne Legacy,” Paramount’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” and an untitled James Gray drama in which he’ll star with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix.

Renner is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.

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