Well, not only did we finally receive confirmation that the Incredible Hulk would indeed be a part of the upcoming Avengers movie, but we also learned the unfortunate news that Edward Norton (who portrayed Bruce Banner, aka Hulk, in the most recent Incredible Hulk movie) would not be reprising the role in the multi-superhero movie.
Edward Norton Not Playing Hulk in ‘The Avengers’
The whole thing is sort of a mess, too, as apparently Marvel did want Norton – and Norton did want to do it, going so far as to meet with probable Avengers director Joss Whedon – but something went wrong, and if you believe Marvel’s Kevin Feige, Norton’s non-involvement has more to do with the fact that he’s an on-set “problem child” than it does with money. Feige issued a statement shortly after the Norton rumor began making the rounds, saying, “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.”
Not long after Feige’s remarks, Norton’s agent replied with a nasty message accusing Marvel of shady business practices. He says, in part: “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.”
Yuck, awkward breakup. Meanwhile, now that Norton is out, folks have begun speculating as to who will replace him. CHUD reports an offer has gone out to Joaquin Phoenix, who’s been missing in action from Hollywood for the past year after he decided to become a rapper and make a lewd documentary (or is it a mockumentary?) about the whole thing.
Is Phoenix the right one for the gig? Does it really matter all that much, since most of his screen time will probably be spent as the Hulk? What do you think? Are you pissed about Norton not getting the part, or do you think someone else can do better things with it?
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Erik DavisFandango Bloggers
Erik is a leading movie commentator who has worked for outlets such as AOL Moviefone and Movies.com.