Marvel Films announced Edward Norton will not be reprising his role as the Incredible Hulk in the upcoming Joss Whedon directed Avengers movie.
Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige has shot down original reports stating there was a snag in financial negotiations.
“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers,” Feige confirmed in a statement. “Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”
This comment brings many connotations to anyone knowledgeable about Edward Norton’s career.
Edward Norton made a name for himself quickly with a powerful performance as an altar boy accused of murdering a priest in the 1996 hit movie Primal Fear. Norton earned an Academy Award nomination for this debut role and never looked back.
Things got a little shaky when he developed a reputation as a prima donna during his starring role in American History X. Norton maneuvered his weight on the project to have director Tony Kaye locked out of the editing room and finished the movie himself. Kaye left directing for eight years after the experience before returning to helm the 2006 documentary Lake of Fire.
Norton seemed to have left that reputation behind him until he once again threw his weight around on The Incredible Hulk. Not only did Norton demand to rewrite the script himself but he allegedly attempted a coup on director Louis Leterrier as well.
Whether or not the Incredible Hulk stories are true, there is something about Edward Norton that did not set right for Marvel Films.
“Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his,” said Brian Swardstrom, who represents Norton through WME. “Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.”
Norton took the high road and expressed disappointment in Marvel dismissing him from The Avengers.
“I grew up with Banner and Hulk and have been a fan of every incarnation,” Norton posted on his Facebook page. “I’m really proud, and very blessed, to have been one of them and will be thrilled to see him live on through other actors. Hulk is bigger than all of us, that’s why we love him, right?”
It is rumored Marvel Films has offered Joaquin Phoenix the role of Hulk in The Avengers movie.
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