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July 09 2010

Edward Norton out as The Hulk in The Avengers? Hitfix reports that Joss wants him, Norton wants to do it, but Marvel has decided to cheap out and go with an unknown.

The article says that Joss has been meeting with the cast and has met with Ed Norton. The two had a very enthusiastic meeting with Norton making plans to have his schedule open for the film. Marvel Studios have decided however to go cheaper with a unknown actor and have informed the Norton they won't be using him.

Looks like shades of Terrence Howard and Sam Jackson again.

I do recall the press about Norton's comments about the movie--really, if you're going to diss a movie that you star in, you shouldn't be expected back for the sequel. It's just not professional.
Marvel has a reputation of lowballing their casts.That's rumored why Terrence Howard wasn't back for Iron Man 2.It's also almost lost them Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 and Sam Jackson for these Marvel films.
I don't understand the fascination with Norton but for continuities sake I would be very disappointed if he doesn't return.
Norton can be an amazing actor, if he feels motivated. If this was something he was genuinely interested in doing, it will be a shame to lose him.

Lesser-known actors might mean that Joss doesn't have to focus so much on superstar-ego though, I guess. He can utilize the Hulk in the way his story needs to, instead of having to worry about screentime/cool lines/whatever for Norton.
This sort of thing fustrates the hell out of me.I hate when roles are constantly recast.Now I understand that sometimes this can't be helped and I have no problem with it after the actor has played the part for a while or there is a rebooting(and I do have a big problem with rebootings being used too often as well).But this sort of thing drives me crazy.It's one of the things I couldn't stand with the old Batman films.Four Batman films with three different actors as Batman.Now we are going to have three big screen Hulk apperances with three different actors as Banner?This sort of thing always takes me out of the movies because I can never believe in the actor in a role if it's getting recast from film to film.It completly takes me out of the film experience.And for what Marvel is doing with this shared Marvel movie universe,it needs to keep the actors in these roles from film to film.The whole concept of what they are tryting to do falls apart without keeping the continuity of the actors in these roles.

That's one of the things that was terrible about the George Miller Justice League film that was in development a few years ago.They were going to have Bale as Batman in the solo Batman films and Routh as Superman in the solo Superman films(before they decided to reboot) and two different actors in the roles for the Justice League movie.

That sort of thing won't work in this sort of thing.People want to see the same actors playing these parts as they crossover from movie to movie otherwise the magic of believing in these characters as these characters is gone.

It would be like if someone other then SMG and DB played Buffy and Angel when they did a crossover on the shows.Or someone else played Spike when he moved to Angel.

And the circumstances in this case make it even worst.From what it sounds like,both Joss and Norton wanted to work together on the film.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-10 02:53 ]
10-1 Norton won't do it if he doesn't get a shot at the edit and Marvel doesn't want him if they have to give him that. Reportedly that's where the big falling out was with Incredible Hulk.

But that's wild speculation on my part, who knows really.

Buffyfantic, I'm with ya. To be fair, The Hulk and The Incredible Hulk (Bana and Norton) are unrelated films, so that plays into your rebooting concession. There will really only be 2 actors for the role as far as continuity.
True about the rebooting thing although that's my big problems now with reboots.They're done too much.The Hulk shouldn't of needed to be rebooted after one film and only five years apart.They could of made same The Incredible Hulk film as a sequel.I think it's absurd that the Fantastic Four is being rebooted after two films and the second film came out three years ago.

They are rebooting Spider-man after three blockbuster films and were going to do a Spider-Man 4 until creative differences with Sam Raimi delayed the film a year(it was supposed to be out next May).So instead they just decided delay the next Spidey film a year and to reboot it rather then do a proper sequel even if it was with a new creative team and cast.And to be fair,Spidey being recast now doesn't bother me.Tobey Maguire has done the role three times and after three turns I have no problem with the actor being ready to move on then.Plus Spidey is supposed to be a younger character(teens/early 20's depending on what era)and Maguire is getting up there in the age bracket for the role.He could of done the role one more time but after that he probably would of had to be recast anyway.The thing is the new actor they cast,Andrew Garfield is supposed to a pretty good actor.I think he was nominated for a BAFTA.But he's the same age as Maguire(26) was when Maguire did the first Spider-Man film.So why are they even rebooting?Why can't they just do another sequel continuing after the first three films just with a new cast and director?

Some film series should be rebooted.Batman needed to be rebooted.It had been nearly 10 years since the last Batman film and I could buy James Bond and Star Trek getting reboots(and that was more a part prequel/part reboot).But now the reboots are being done because the studios and producers are lazy.It's easier to reboot rather then fix the problems and make a better sequel.

Back on topic though.I think this a bad move on Marvel's part.I know we only have one side of things and this is still just a rumor but since this sort of thing has happened before with Marvel Studios,I certainly wouldn't be surprised if HitFix is accurate.
Replacing Terrence Howard with Don Cheadle didn't seem like such a bad thing to me, but I think it would be better to keep Ed Norton if possible (or, if he must be replaced, get someone who can be awesome in the role). It is nice to have the continuity if possible (like having Sam Jackson and Robert Downey, Jr), it gives the film more legitimacy IMO. But basically I'm just so excited about the possibility that Joss will really be doing this thing (I'm still on pins and needles waiting for the 'official' announcements!) that I don't even care who is cast!
bobw1o, that's my wild speculation as well. Given that history on his Hulk movie, there's no way Marvel would hire someone of Whedon's stature and then give Norton any control. But, as you said, wild speculation.
Is it possible the deal offered to Norton included signing him to multiple Marvel movies and that was part of why he turned it down?

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2010-07-10 06:10 ]
This is a huge strike against this movie for me. I was really looking forward to seeing Norton reprise his role as Banner with Joss at the helm.

-10 points for you, Marvel...
This is very disappointing. I had a few issues with the last Hulk movie, but none of them had to do with Edward Norton. He was great as Bruce Banner. After Fight Club and American History X, I'll always be a fan of Norton. I was so psyched to get to see him work with Joss and Robert Downey Jr... and now it won't happen.

The Avengers should be like the Ocean's 11 films (but, ya know, entertaining). It should be an all-star cast. That's one of the big attractions of the film. The audience gets to see all these characters from different movies interact. If you recast the actors, it totally kills that.

If Marvel wants to cheap out on some of the roles, they should do it for the characters that haven't been in other movies. Cast unknowns for Hawkeye and/or the Wasp. I don't know what Marvel's thinking.
Drew (the author of the linked piece) on Twitter say this: "Simply put, they're lowballing him. They could make the deal right now. And it sounds like he and Whedon loved each other."
They lowballed Terrence Howard and lost him.I agree that Don Cheadle is better in the role just as I think Norton is better in the role of Banner than Eric Bana but it still irks me when there is a recasting one or two films in and when there is a reboot after one or two films and five years or less even if the new actor is better.They tried to lowball Sam Jackson,Mickey Rourke and Jon Favreau.

I'm hoping things can still be worked out like they were with the latter three.I think when it leaked out with Jackson,Rourke and Favreau that they were being lowballed and were on the verge of walking,the fan backlash caused Marvel to come back with better deals and get them signed.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-10 06:25 ]
They just really don't need the big Avengers story heading into Comic-Con to be "Marvel's already f*cked up Whedon's movie".
Drew (the author of the linked piece) on Twitter say this: "Simply put, they're lowballing him. They could make the deal right now. And it sounds like he and Whedon loved each other."

This is killing me.
Agreed.This is poor timing for them with Comic Con coming up in like two weeks.They are going to most certainly be hit with questions about this both from the fans and the press.Assuming Drew's sources are correct or this decision isn't changed between now and Comic Con.

Joss himself hasn't been offically announced yet.I'm assuming they've been saving that for Comic Con.This news really is bad timing with the excitment Joss being offically confirmed there would bring.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-10 06:32 ]

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-10 06:32 ]
More wild speculation: this got out now precisely because someone who wants it fixed before Comic-Con made sure it did.
Such a shame if this is final. I loved Norton as the Hulk and next to Downey he is the best actor on the roster. While I understand they have a lot of big contracts on this film, it honestly makes no sense to scrimp on one of the key members of the A-Team. (puns!)
I think we fans should all just close our eyes, lube up, and "think of England." This was inevitable.

Norton was always described as "difficult" during the Hulk. He insisted on (awesome and much needed) rewrites that Marvel ended up mostly cutting anyway. He costs more money than an unknown would, and would only be on screen for a handful of non-Hulk scenes anyway. It's a cold but smart business decision for Marvel.

Besides, with RDJ and Joss in the same room, this does not sound like a movie than needs too many divas in the mix. :p I wish Norton was doing the role, but it was always going to be this way.
Yep. Whedon must be officially attached the the movie because now we have crazy casting rumors. Not gonna panic.
I more or less agree with Arsenal. This news only came as a surprise for me because I had assumed for the past 2 years that we would never see Norton as the Hulk again based on what happened with The Incredible Hulk.

Buffyfantic, you sure do get riled up by reboots and recasts! I'm with ya in principle. Seriously, some of my friends might think you were me if they read all that. But in the end there are real-world business decisions made for better or for worse (which ends up being subjective anyway), and eventually i get over them, like the Rhodey switch in Iron Man. I respect Terrance Howard's position and am sorry for him that that happened, but I do prefer Cheadle in the role.

In my opinion, Ang Lee's Hulk was terrible. Marvel didn't so much reboot it as they made their own, and they did a much better job, or at least the people they hired did a much better job. I know a lot of people don't love it, but I thought it was a vast improvement over Ang Lee's movie, so call it a reboot if you must, I'm glad they did. I just figured the recasting fell under your reboot concession is all. Sony is rebooting Spiderman, but with Hulk Marvel just took the license to their property and made their own movie.

Funny aside, I keep capitalizing Reboot, cause I'm a fan of the old cartoon show!
This is sad news indeed.

Expect many pro Norton shirts/rallies at ComicCon this year. Hopefully somebody will ask Joss about his feelings about the casting of Norton.
Yes, because putting Whedon in a position to shill for Marvel or defend the actor is a GOOD thing.

If this is the case, the best thing the fanbase can do is just bite their tongue. Marvel isn't going to "see the light" because of irate fans. Most other actions are just going to add drama that might complicate Whedon's situation.

In reality, they won't. But the only thing I'd be trying to express to marvel is, "no unknowns." I like Norton, but if Marvel has had enough of him, that's their right. Then recast with someone else people might want to see. I'm just saying, throw out someone like DiCaprio (not suggesting they can get him or he's my choice or anything) and people will shut up quickly. The problem with an unknown is they may lack the presence with the general audience (not just the fanboys) to be pulling off scenes with Downey and Jackson. Find another A-list guy and give him some good scenes and the audience will forgive the fact that they didn't get an entire movie to get used to him.
Edward Norton directed by Joss was one of the things I was most looking forward to for the film. It'll be especially disappointing if he's not cast despite them both being enthusiastic about it! Given all the buildup, though, I don't see Marvel wanting to do anything that will get them bad press, so maybe if there's a big enough backlash they'll reconsider. My wishful thinking for the day, anyway. The One True b!X's conspiracy theory about the timing doesn't sound that far-fetched, either.
Is anyone not that bothered by Norton not being in the movie? I'd care more if Iron Man or Fury was getting recast. Oh hell, I've turned into a fanboy.
Um, did the title use to say "Edward Norton out" instead of "uut" or did I just imagine that? Mornings are strange, strange times...

[ edited by alqualond on 2010-07-10 09:36 ]
@Simon - yeah I could care less about casting continuity at this stage. If they were to do Avengers 2 and recast at that point I might get a bit tetchy.

It's not that I don't rate Norton but, as a comic book fan, I am used to different artists and writers working on ongoing serials. So long as the character remains intact I have no problems at all. For me the story is the thing. (Although, in this case, Joss being the director is a major part of my excitement too.)
i think my comment was deleted....?

anyway i hate this.
Don't panic.

We have no idea what is going on, we don't know what Marvel or Joss think, we're just hearing rumours.
I could care less whether Norton is in or out.

Do they actually shout "Avenger's assemble!" in the comics? Who says it? Or is that like an "Elementary my dear Watson" type of thing?
While I didn't think Norton was perfect as Banner, I HATE when they recast people in sequels. I really do. Considering this is pretty much a sequel to Incredible Hulk, Marvel should nut up and work with Norton to get this done. This movie's gonna make ridiculous amounts of money regardless, but if they could do it and still be at least semi-true to the origin movies, the project would be that much better.
Thanks gossi, working on the "don't panic". Because for me, not a fan of comics, Norton is the one and only Hulk. Eric Banna is a good actor but that movie was a disaster, IMO.

Huge egos (Downey Jr. and Norton) have worked out together before. It's not like Norton's absence would spoil everything, but it would be a huge disappointment, to me.
Um...I'm just looking at it as an opportunity for Joss and Jason Dohring to work together. Glass half full and all. ;)
Not happy if Edward doesn't take on The Hulk. I hope Marvel gets hit hard with questions at comic-con and reconsiders.
They do indeed say "Avengers assemble!" quite often. Stan Lee loves his alliteration.
To be honest, it is Marvel's fault for scoping an Avengers movie where The Hulk is a huge part and not having Norton signed up to do it already.

Marvel should probably just suck this one up and pay up for Norton, though. Why? Joss projects sometimes attractive negative press. Certain members of the press will love to paint this project as being driven off a cliff, and the problem is the rest of the media reproduce the reports. Marvel need to get out of in front of AVENGERS and make sure the buzz is positive.
So... Enver for Banner?
So... Enver for Banner?
Matt7325 | July 10, 12:45 CET

That's the first idea I've heard that would take the sting out of losing Norton. :)
But... aren't they the guys who constantly brag about continuity?
I really want Norton as Hulk.

Even though Joss is directing this film, I'm just not that excited, perhaps because I'm a DC guy. Now if Joss were directing a JLA movie, it would be heaven.
No reason to panic, no. But reporting is not the same as rumors.
Norton is one of the greatest actors of his generation and losing him can never be a good thing. Having said that, I have been baffled by his career moves in recent years; maybe there just aren't that any great roles to go around? He goes from Fight Club and Rounders and American History X and The Score to playing the Hulk? Why? Downey (also one of the greatest of his generation) took Iron Man in part because studios were still wary of his past substance abuse problems and he just needed a gig. It went marvelously well and opened doors for him but not all superhero movies go well. The Hulk is a problematic character; when in superhero mode he is basically a mute who smashes things so the movie has to be about Banner. I wish Norton could have picked a superhero more suited to a geat actor, but on the other hand I also wish he hadn't bothered with superheroes at all. In the Score he was cast alongside DeNiro and Brando because he was considered in many circles the heir apparent. Maybe he just needs his own Coppola or Scorcese.
I personally don't have a problem with this at all. Irate fans will only bring negativity to a much antisapated Joss project.

Let's show them that Whedon fans are the best fans. Let's get behind him and support this film.
"Even though Joss is directing this film, I'm just not that excited, perhaps because I'm a DC guy. Now if Joss were directing a JLA movie, it would be heaven."

If this were a DC/WB production of JLA, we'd be talking about how Christian Bale or Ryan Reynolds are too expensive, and complaining about THAT continuity. It's just the state of the business.

I say they hire Norton, and then charge $20 a ticket MORE for 4-D glasses to compensate for the money. There, everyone's happy. :)

[ edited by Arsenal on 2010-07-10 18:25 ]
I read that all of the actors were taking a pay cut to do this film.
I read that all of the actors were taking a pay cut to do this film.

I hear it's not so much a pay cut as it is accepting lowball offers. RDJ signed a four-picture contract with Marvel when he agreed to do "Iron Man" (which includes two sequels and "The Avengers"), which means he can't set a high asking price which each successive film. Same with Chris Evans' and SLJ's nine- and six-picture contracts. Heck, Marvel is even lowballing lower than Sony's contract with the new Spider-Man actor (he'll get $500K for the first pic, $1M for a first sequel and $2M for a third pic).

I hear Marvel initially offered a $300K check to Chris Evans for the first Captain America pic. But through his agent, he secured a higher pay (closer to $1M). I hate to see what Marvel offered Norton, since he's a bigger name than Evans.
Reboots are one of the reasons i dont really get that into alot of superhero movies. I love series, and with most superhero movies its a complete rewrite with each one, theres no way to establish a cannon. but i think jsut replacing one actor isnt going to couse that much of a problem, espicially if Norton was causing a bunch of problems on the Hulk set anyway
I dislike the conception that Norton caused problems on TIH. From the way I see it, he was very hands-on throughout the film -- he did an uncredited but hugely beneficial rewrite for the whole film. I think Norton signed on because he liked the story but saw it needed some tinkering.

He and Louis Letterier had a disagreement with Marvel and Universal Pictures over the running length of the movie. That's so far the bulk of the 'problems' Norton caused on TIH. I'm not defending Norton or anything, but is it bad for an actor or set of actors to get really involved with their jobs? If anything, it can improve a movie's overall quality.
Norton is just about my favorite movie actor, so I want him to be in The Avengers too. But what if they got Nathan Fillion or Alan Tudyk instead? Or Enver Gjokaj? Actually, Fran Kranz might make the most sense as Banner. Probably about the only 4 guys I would pick over Norton.
Mcjw_serenity, I agree with you, Norton brought his heart and soul to the role. It was Marvel that *perceived* him to be a problem with the Hulk production.
A lot of shit gets written about Norton (as with almost any high profile actor) - don't believe everything you read.

If you did, the fans made Serenity happen by campaigning for a motion picture and lobbying Universal, Serenity 2 and 3 are secretly in development, Joss is working on a Buffy movie because a Hollywood insider said so, self proclaimed junky rocker Pete Doherty (famous for squirting his blood from a used heroin needle at an MTV cameraman during an interview - that did happen) is working with Joss on Ripper because Joss loves him (as reported by a British tabloid), Joss is working on a Half-Life movie as announced on his Facebook account (which isn't him), @joshwhedon on Twitter is him (erm), @josswhedon on twitter is him (no, it's not), Joss only made Firefly because he had to and he secretly hated it (as was reported at the time) etc

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-10 23:55 ]
True that the difficulties between Ed Norton and Marvel could just be rumors. However, Norton did have a lot of control over the script of the Incredible Hulk and there was a lot of extra footage of the movie taken. It seemed that Norton had it written into his contract that he would have a certain amount of say in a script and it's possible that Marvel didn't want to give Norton that much control on movie like Avengers which such a large cast.

Either way, there's plenty of reasons beyond money on why a studio might not want an actor to work on their film.

That said, I'm disappointed as I thought Ed Norton made a great Bruce Banner and I would have liked to seen him working in the great cast they have so far and working with Joss. I hope that this is either not true, or there might be enough of a negative reaction that Marvel changes their mind.
"I don't understand the fascination with Norton but for continuities sake I would be very disappointed if he doesn't return."

I did not officially become a fan of Norton until I saw him pull off dual roles in Leaves of Grass at the SIFF this year. Norton is a brilliant actor. I am embarrassed by Marvel's decision to replace him.
His agent's reply is pretty interesting.

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