Cobie Smulders Frontrunner for The Avengers Maria Hill Role

‘How I Met Your Mother’ actress Cobie Smulders has emerged as the top choice to play Maria Hill in Marvel’s superhero ensemble project The Avengers, per a Saturday morning report at Deadline.

The existence of the role first came to light last week when Samuel L. Jackson spoke of upcoming auditions for an actress in the coming week who would play a “sidekick” to his Nick Fury character. Shortly thereafter, THR reported a handful of actresses has screen tests scheduled including Smulders and ‘V’s’ Morena Baccarin.

Many, myself included, thought Baccarin would have the inside track given her Firefly and Serenity history with The Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon. With Smulders expected to close the deal by as early as tomorrow, Baccarin remains in contention should Whedon require an actress for The Wasp in The Avengers or a future Marvel film.

In The Avengers comics, Maria Hill rose to a commander position within S.H.I.E.L.D. and for a time became the executive director when the President wanted someone for the post who wasn’t a loyalist to Nick Fury. Tony Stark aka Iron Man would eventually take his role after Hill stepped down following her failed attempt to subdue a non-complaint Captain America during the “Civil War.”

If Whedon follows the comics then Hill’s on-screen portrayal could cause friction with Nick Fury where she will disagree and be opinionated rather than be a “yes woman.”

Smulders would be joining an all-star cast of superheros including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America and Clark Gregg as agent Coulson. Tom Hiddleston has additional been strongly rumored to appear as Loki though Marvel has yet to confirm it.

The Avengers begins shooting in April with a May 4, 2012 release.

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