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Norton No Play Hulk? HULK WRITE BLOG.

Fashion tip: the skinny tie is always a good choice.

It sure seems like things got heated over the weekend between Marvel and Ed Norton. For quite some time, geeks had been stressing over whether Ed Norton would join the rest of the star-heavy cast for “The Avengers” and now, in a complete turn of events, Marvel released a statement saying that Norton will not be playing Bruce Banner a.k.a. The Hulk in the superhero team-up. Not only did they tell Norton to hit the bricks, Marvel exec Kevin Feige took a shot at him:

“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. 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.”

Ouch. That’s fairly rough stuff. Norton’s reputation for being rough on directors and demanding nonstop rewrites is legendary, but isn’t it worth it after his pretty damn good turn as Bruce Banner? Being a fan of him and his Hulk movie, I sure thought so. There is also the rumor out there that Marvel loves to get actors in on the cheap…which makes this next statement seem to ring true.

“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light.  Here are the facts:  two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers.  He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at ComiCon and make it the event of the convention.  When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project.  Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast.  Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith.  This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part.  This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings.

We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige’s mean spirited, accusatory comments.  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.  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.”

That would be counter fire courtesy of Norton’s agent in response to Marvel’s initial bombing run. To be honest, I am buying what Norton’s agent, Brian Swardstrom, is selling. I think I’ve read about Marvel’s cheapness as much as I’ve read about Norton’s control freak mentality.

Man…can’t we all just get together, work this stuff out, and make a silly comic book movie?

So who do you believe? Are you saddened that Norton is out? Certainly I am. Do you even care?

  1. July 12, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    As I tweeted to ya’, we’ve had a million Supermans (Reeves, Reeve, Routh, Welling) and Batmans (Keaton, Clooney, Kilmer, Bale).

    What’s another Hulk?

    Heck, the guy who played Human Torch is now gonna play Captain America.

    Superhero musical chairs, huh?

  2. July 12, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    I just want them to make the damn movie. To be honest, there should be more Hulk than Bruce Banner in the film so it may end up being ok.

  3. July 12, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Yeah, I’m fairly convinced that The Avengers can’t possibly go wrong with Joss Whedon running the show. In fact, Marvel should just put him in charge of everything.

    The only bummer is that I kind of dug Norton as Bruce Banner. He’s just seemed so bored in movies lately & he seemed like he had fun in that one.

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