Edward Norton no longer the Hulk

July 12, 2010

Marvel and Edward norton have decided to part ways, depending on who you ask.

On Friday HitFix reported on a rumor that Marvel had decided to recast the role of Bruce Banner/Hulk for the Avengers with an unknown actor. This came as a surprise as Norton had been stating for the past few months that he would love to reprise the role. He even had a meeting with all but confirmed director Joss Whedon, that by all reports went extremely well, with norton and Whedon excited to work to work with each other.

Then on Saturday Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige confirmed the rumor to HitFix with the following statement.

"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. 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."

 

The above statement from Feige didn’t really paint Edward Norton in a positive light, at all. So on Sunday, HitFix got a statement from Brian Swardstrom, Edward Norton’s agent, which follows.

"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.
Brian Swardstrom
WME"

So, on Sunday, what started as a rumor has become a shouting match between two people. We then all wondered when Edward Norton, himself, would respond. Well, today he responded, with which may be he most civil and courteous response of anyone invovled, on his Facebook Fan Page.

norton respond

Now the question is, Who will play Bruce Banner in the Avengers? The current rumor swirling around is Joaquin Phoenix according to CHUD, where you can read about Phoenix’s recent trip to Crazy Town.

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