Back in April we learned the amazingly FANTASTIC news that director (and god among men) Joss Whedon has been hired to bring the Marvel comic book series The Avengers to the big screen and since that news came out, there has been some behind the scenes action in regards to who will be cast to play which superheroes in the film. Thus far, we know that Robert Downey, Jr. will reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man for the film and he will be joined by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. Today we learn the not totally surprising news that Edward Norton, who played Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk will NOT be featured in The Avengers movie — a new actor will be hired for the role. Essentially, the studio decided not to work with him again … hinting that he is too problematic to work with:
As HitFix exclusively reported yesterday, Marvel Studios has now confirmed that it is moving forward on development with their summer 2012 blockbuster “The Avengers,” and they have decided not to cast Edward Norton in the key role of Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk. In a statement sent in direct response to yesterday’s story from the set of “Captain America” in London, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige forwarded the following exclusively to HitFix:
“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.”
And that, as they say, appears to be that.
From what I understand, Edward Norton is notoriously difficult to work with … especially when it comes to the Hulk movies. Earlier this year, Edward put the kibosh on plans for a sequel to The Incredible Hulk … which I’m sure pissed off the studio because another Hulk movie could’ve been tied into The Avengers movie. I suppose it’s possible that the studio could go back and rehire Eric Bana who played The Hulk in the disastrous 2003 Ang Lee film Hulk — at least the audience would get a recognizable actor to play the role. Tho, it seems more likely that they will just hire someone new … someone who would be willing to make a new franchise of Hulk films. Welp, it’s goodbye Ed and hello new guy … we’ll just have to wait and see who the new guy will be.