Ed Norton Kicked off Avengers flick? Norton and Marvel give their sides.

Ed Norton at the 2009 premiere of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons and David Shankbone.

As the Marvel machine continues to kick into high gear with the massively successful IRON MAN films, the upcoming slate of films that include the in production THOR, Captain America and of course their team up film THE AVENGERS (which they still are claiming will be released on May 4th, 2012).

Pretty much everyone assumes that Joss Whedon will be directing Avengers… even though there has never been a 100% official announcement.

On top of that there’s still a lot of speculation as to what characters will appear in the film other then Iron Man, Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and Captain America (who will be played by Chris Evans). Many people have assumed The Hulk would appear and questioned if they could get Edward Norton, who starred in the reboot of the character on film, to do the film.

Looks like they tried, then they didn’t try and then they sort of dissed him.

On the 10th of July  Kevin Feige, Marvel President of Production,  said in a 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.

“…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.”

Is it me or did Kevin Feige just call Ed Norton a prima donna who doesn’t play well with others? Yeah… I thought so.

Edward Norton’s agent earned his money by blasting back at Feige the next day calling it among other things “offensive,” “purposefully misleading,” “inappropriate,”, “accusatory.” and “mean spirited”.

Norton took the high road it seems and released the following statement on (of all places) his Facebook page:

As most of you know, I don’t like to talk much about the business of making movies because it means a lot to me to protect the audience’s fullest enjoyment of the ‘magic’ that films can have. But I am so appreciative of the outpouring of support from fans of the Hulk and the Avengers that I feel it would be rude not to respond. So here goes: It seems it won’t work out for me to continue playing Bruce Banner for Marvel in “The Avengers.” I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped. I know this is disappointing to many people and that makes me sad. But I am very sincerely grateful to Marvel for extending the offer and even more so for giving me the chance to be a part of the Hulk’s long and excellent history. And I really can’t thank the fans enough for how much enthusiasm you’ve sent me way about what Louis and I tried to do in our turn with the legend. It means a lot to me. I grew up with Banner and Hulk and have been a fan of every incarnation. 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?

Sincerely,
Edward Norton

Score one for Norton on this scuffle but the big question remains: Who will play Bruce Banner in The Avengers but then again, who cares? It will more then likely be some sort of cameo with The Hulk getting most of the screentime along side the other characters in a film that I’m not totally convinced is going to work.  Rumors abound about all the other characters they are going to try and shoehorn into this film (Hawkeye, Giant or Ant man, The Wasp, etc) and with all that it’s got a great chance turning into a flaming turd like X-Men 3.

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