This past Friday it was revealed Edward Norton would not reprise his role as Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk, in the highly anticipated comic book-adapted movie The Avengers. Since the news broke, fingers were pointed between the suits over at Marvel and Norton‘s team regarding why the actor was cut.
Find out who is blaming who below!
When the news broke Friday on HitFix, the writer theorized the Marvel‘s decision was financial, and that the suits missed the bigger picture in refusing to pay Norton what he wanted, instead opting for an unknown actor to play The Hulk.
The writer sees their failure to commit to a talented actor with vision as a commitment to the film’s end profit, instead of caring about the quality of the film and pleasing fans — who, ultimately, are actually the ones to shell out the cash to see the movie on the big screen.
The author wrote:
Show us that it matters to you. Tell us that continuity does matter, and that you’re prepared to make one of the biggest movies of all time. Or cheap out. It’s your call. But I promise you… fandom is paying attention. And your next move will say volumes about which way ‘The Avengers’ is heading.
By Saturday, Kevin Feige, President of Production at Marvel Studios, responded to HitFix, 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.
Feige‘s statement leaves many to wonder if the studio’s reason was not financial after all, but due to Norton‘s reputation about being difficult to work with. There was buzz about the Oscar-nominated actor budding heads with the directors and editors on American History X, The Italian Job and The Incredible Hulk.
On Sunday, Norton‘s rep issued a statement to clarify the situation and defend the actor. An excerpt from the statement is as follows:
Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. 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‘s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel‘s fans.
The ultimate question remains: who is telling the truth?
While it is possible that Norton can be difficult to work with, there is no denying he is a talented man. Perhaps it is that “difficulty” that creates a better end product, one that could even bring the movie greater profits.
Plus, as ScreenRant pointed out, Marvel exec’s have their own sour reputation. They were rumored to have low-balled actors in the past, as illustrated by the $250K offer made to Mickey Rourke to reprise his role in Iron Man 2.
As of now, The Avegers is Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (The Black Widow) and Don Cheadle (War Machine).
What do you think — was it for financial reasons or was Norton‘s reputation about being difficult to work with the root of the decision?