Moving swiftly to counteract Samuel Jackson’s spoilers, Marvel is reportedly close to signing How I Met Your Mother’s whimsically named Cobie Smulders to play that rumored female assistant to Jackson’s Nick Fury in The Avengers—a role that has now been confirmed to be Maria Hill, the interim executive director of S.H.I.E.L.D. whose distaste for superheroes doesn’t prevent her from getting it on with Iron Man. As with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, that the other female lead will be the ruthless, badass, yet thoroughly human Hill—as opposed to, say, The Wasp—suggests that only the boys will get to have the fun superpowers in The Avengers, at least in this first film. Smulders reportedly beat out other contenders on the list like Morena Baccarin and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, aided, no doubt, by having already won over Joss Whedon when he considered her for his scrapped Wonder Woman project. Presumably she also held her own against a yelling Samuel Jackson, which is an audition tape we’d like to see.
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