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July 11 2010

Edward Norton's agent responds with statement about The Avengers. Things continue to get more ugly with this Edward Norton Situation. Calls Kevin Feige's comments a "purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light." In a further development, Chud reports on a rumour that Joaquin Phoenix could be Norton's replacement.

He also confirms that Norton and Joss met and had a very good meeting that made the actor very enthusiastic about the project.

I'm already totally turned off by the prospect of this movie
This is a poor situation to go into Comic Con on.You know Joss and Marvel are going to be hit left and right by this with questions and stuff by fans and the media there.
They should have just kept Edward. Stupid dumb Marvel!
Wow, this is not the best way to start a project. And that wasn't a very nice way of saying that EN wasn't gonna be involved. Hopefully there'll be something said to make amends before the Joss panel. But after watching his Hulk again last night I'm kinda down with the idea of a new Bruce. Although everyone else in the room at the time want him back!
If he'd kept his mouth shut, I'd have been inclined to believe Norton. The fact he took the bait, tells me that this little spat is entirely based on the fact that both sides hate each other. Or at least, they're both unable to keep civil.

In other words, I'm glad Norton's not in it. That is too much drama from an ensemble cast member. Whedon would have been putting out fires and buffering Norton and the studio during this project. He may have wanted the opportunity (and I don't blame him), but personally I'll be glad he'll be able to concentrate on making the best movie possible rather than actor/studio drama. That said, I might feel different if they find some spare to play the Hulk. Still, they said they wanted a "name" actor.

Lets just call this what it is. A bad relationship, and one that needed to end. We may not like it, but both sides comments suggest it.
Massive own goal from Marvel. Their statement regarding Norton was extremely tasteless and simply not how you behave, even when you are in the right. They have given the project bad PR before a shot is framed. Just rookie.
Blue - I think the idea is that Norton IS a very good actor. And one that most people (myself included) would love to see act in a Joss script.

I think the problem is, many are letting that desire cloud the reality making a good movie. It's very difficult to get a focused movie when there's that much bad blood going around.
I'm certainly not surprised at the quick response to Feige's comments. Whatever the problem was in the negotiations, what amounts to ad hominem attacks reflect poorly on the person making them, not the person being attacked.

While it doesn't matter too much to me who actually appears in the role, I admire Norton's talent tremendously, and I liked his performance in the Hulk film. Since, by all accounts, the meeting with Joss went well, it's really too bad that Joss cannot have the person of his choice (presumably). It looks as though the unresolved salary negotiations may indeed have been the sticking point, as originally announced, but Feige's decision to make the issue personal just sours everybody on the film. What a shame for Joss.
Feige's comments were unprofessional and insulting. If his goal was to make Norton look bad, it backfired. Instead, it reflects poorly on him. And I find Norton's agent completely justified in defending his client's integrity.

I was excited by the prospect of Norton working in a Whedon film. Ah, well.
Azzers I agree, he's an amazing actor, but i can appreciate wanting another actor. I think it's because he's the second Hulk in such a short space of time and his turn as Hulk didn't leave and impression(for me anyway) like RDJ who really brought an incredible energy to Iron Man. So while RDJ is a definite in my books, EN is not. But I'd rather keep him as he's always consistent than see this mess raging and then get some random filler! This could really turn the fans off the project!
Hulk mad!!
Joss unfortunately is caught in the middle of this mess.It sounds like he and Norton had a great meeting and got along.To the point that Norton was enthusiastic enough to clear his schedule as confirmed by his agent now.It sounds like Marvel mucked this up.And I'm inclined to believe that because we know of this happening four times before.Terrence Howard,Mickey Rourke,Samuel L. Jackson and Jon Favreau.They lost Howard and almost lost the other three.When you keep seeing this sort of thing happening over and over than it doesn't appear to be a isolated incident with Marvel Films business practices.Based on what has happened previously with Howard,Rourke,Jackson and Favreau,it makes me more inclined to give Norton the benefit of the doubt and less likely Marvel.
Marvel PR people should start feeling nervous for their jobs. The first word from Marvel regarding Whedon's involvement, after three months of stonewalling, comes via talent negotiations which also reveals Comic Con plans. Unreal.
Marvel need to hire a publicity person with a clue about this. I'm serious, I'm not being bitchy. It was pretty obvious from a mile (or, in fact, several thousand miles away) this was going to blow up in their faces. Before Joss is even officially out there the buzz is already bad -- and it isn't because of something he has done

Seriously. They need to get the hell out in front of this project or it's going to end up with the fanboys thinking it is bad before it's even started shooting.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-12 00:12 ]
I think it was professional of Norton's agent to respond the way they have to what I think was a very unprofessional statement from Marvel. I am sad that Norton's not going to be Hulk (haven't seen his Hulk movie but loved his acting in other things, particularly Fight Club, Keeping the Faith and Primal Fear).

I am also interested to see who Norton gets replaced with - even if it is a 'name actor' presumably if Joss is on board with directing, Joss will get some say in who the next Hulk is.

Buffyfantic - I think you make an excellent point, if what you say is true about Rourke, Jackson, Howard and Favreau (not saying it's not true, I just hadn't heard anything about any difficulties - though I was able to surmise something had happened with Howard as he was replaced!)

I'd be grateful if you (or anyone else) could expand and tell me what you know on why Marvel almost lost Jackson, Rourke and Favreau and why they did lose Howard.

ETF spelling

[ edited by Bluey on 2010-07-12 00:25 ]
If I were at Marvel, I would do one of two things. Either:

a) Realise that the only way to fix this is to make nice, pay the quote for Norton and do whatever else I need to do to placate him (because I would realise that having one of the finest actor's of this or any generation in a superhero ensemble movie is a GET), and then keep schtum until Joss Whedon announces him at Comic Con, turning the whole controversy into a success story and easily blow away all panels for the weekend.

Or

b) Hire Eric Bana, because comic book fans love continuity, and Bana's movie still works in context to the rest of the universe. This unusual move might draw the sting out of the previous gaffes

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2010-07-12 00:25 ]
It's absolutely true that Favreau almost walked from Iron Man 2 because Marvel were very slow in even making an offer. It was an insult to treat him that way. Then yeah, they low-balled Rourke, lost Howard, and pissed around with Jackson.
Andy Dufresne what does low-balled mean in this context? Not offering an actor enough money?
Hiring Bana back would be such a 'WTF?' situation that I pray for it. His movie is so completely outside the universe and would utterly confuse audiences. I say this as someone who liked Hulk more than The Incredible Hulk.
Bringing back Bana would probably turn this into something even more insane! I would love to see that.
What an unfortunate situation. I think very highly of EN but to make a great film you can't have this in-fighting going on. That being said, there sure isn't anything wrong with Eric Bana. And Fillion would be a great Hulk.
All hope that this was just a negotiating tactic--like 20th tried when they announced replacements for the Futurama cast voices--has gone out the window. :(
I don't think it's a negging tactic Jobo. Kevin's statement about Norton was pretty unprofessional, and not something you do when you're trying to get somebody to work for you cheaper.
Bluey,

Yeah essentially it's making an offer, but one which is lower than an expected negotiating process as to be insulting. Pretty much WAY under the market value for Rourke, or in Favreau's case, scant reward for delivering a huge franchise on a previously niche hero by loitering in making the deal.
I think Marvel is using a comic book mentality (read: small time) in a movie world. This kind of sniping happens all the time in the comic world. But in the movie world, you don't make a public statement that basically says Edward Norton can't get along with the producers. Even if it's true, you don't say it.
I agree with the coolness of either a or b, Andy Dufresne. I'd add a third, non-negotiable item:

c) must hire PR folks who can keep Kevin Feige from grabbing the mike. That was lame, lame, lame, and more lame. (Loved the part where they lost control of the ComicCon plans./sarc)

Good statement by Norton's rep. Looking forward to Norton's eventual statement, if it happens.

The really classy fix - which means I don't really expect it from these folks - would be meeting Norton's price & mea culpa'ing all over the place.

*sigh*

I feel bad for the Jossir, though. This crap must kinda suck some of the joy out of the whole gig - hopefully not permanently.
As much as I love Nathan in all that he has done, he would be smart to stay far away from this mess. If he were to play the Hulk, the Internet would explode with conspiracy theories that somehow Joss & Nathan were the ones really responsible for Edward Norton being canned just so Joss could fill all the roles with his friends & alum.
Norton is known to be problematic for some film makers. But look at the guy's body of work, he has consistently delivered interesting movies and never has he sold out (exceptions: studio mandated movies as per contract. Yes you Italian Job).

Don't use him if you just want an actor to hit his mark. but what you say is "We value Edward's contribution to the Marvel universe and regret we couldn't make the schedules work". That's what you do when you're a movie studio. The other thing is for the playground.
Andy - thanks.

While I am not sure that having a previous Joss collaborator as the Hulk is a good plan (too many fans crying 'favouritism!), I think the suggestions made above for the casting of Enver or Nathan are inspired - they would both be brilliant!
It is rumoured (elsewhere) that Nathan has a part which isn't The Hulk.

By the way, just to cheer everybody up, if you're not reading Feminist Hulk, you should be.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-12 00:42 ]
Doesn't Joss get accused of that anyway? The point is to make a good movie. I'm sure they'll find the right actor, no matter which way it goes.
Hmm. We need someone who has to convincingly play a monster within.

Michael C Hall!
QuoterGal-

Yes, c) is a must,
The only problem with the give-Norton-whatever-he-wants plan is that presumably, this other actor would have to get screwed over now for that to work out. Marvel is damned if they do, etc.
Kevin Feige's statement (and I like him, for the record) reminds me a little of Steve Jobs emailing his customers back at 2am. Apple's PR department probably wish he never invented his iPhone.
Purposeful use of the words "clearly defamatory" near the end of the statement.

I still suspect this film will be ridiculous -- Joss isn't a good action director (at least not in what we've seen -- maybe with a larger budget he could be), and I'm not familiar enough with all these cartoon characters to be excited about them being in live-action.

[ edited by will.bueche on 2010-07-12 01:06 ]
I see no problem with Norton's people defending him against something which is a not-too-subtle-hint about his lack of professionalism. I don't understand the 'doing it cheap' mentality since they are likely to make gazillions of $$ on this. Let's hope that the tight-fisted and bitchy attitude doesn't permeate the whole project or Joss may rue the day he was hired! And please keep Fillion out of this; much as I loved him as the Captain, he doesn't fit the role nearly as well as Ed Norton and I don't think Bruce Banner would be well-served by that casting choice.
LA Times has what seems like a good overview to me.
Thanks Sunfire. I'm absolutely tickled by the Hugh Grant reference. I'm imagining his character in 4W&AF turning into the Hulk.
Yeah, I'm on Norton's side. Maybe he's difficult, so what? He doesn't backstab people in public at least. Feige's outburst reminds me a lot of the incident between SMG and her management about five years back, when the president of the agency repping her publicly humiliated her in a magazine interview. That guy was the obvious jerk in that situation and Feige is the obvious jerk here. And Norton's better than a superhero project, frankly. I thought Hulk was slumming for an actor of his caliber and I hope he returns to making movies with the power of Fight Club and American History X.
Buffyfantic - I think you make an excellent point, if what you say is true about Rourke, Jackson, Howard and Favreau (not saying it's not true, I just hadn't heard anything about any difficulties - though I was able to surmise something had happened with Howard as he was replaced!)

I'd be grateful if you (or anyone else) could expand and tell me what you know on why Marvel almost lost Jackson, Rourke and Favreau and why they did lose Howard.

ETF spelling

[ edited by Bluey on 2010-07-12 00:25 ]
Bluey | July 12, 00:23 CET


Andy Dufresne hitted on some of it.

Terrence Howard:Wanted to pay him less for future Marvel films after he already had a contract.When he refused to re-negotiate,he was fired.Also rumors were thrown out that he was hard to work with on Iron Man(shades of the Norton thing although not so public like Feige did here).

Howard's comments when it happened.

http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/10/18/even-terrence-howard-was-shocked-about-iron-man-2-recast/


When the announcement hit that Don Cheadle was replacing Terrence Howard as Col. James Rhodes in Iron Man 2, the reaction was severe - most people seemed to really like Howard. Not only was it shocking to all of us, but apparently Howard himself didn't even know until he read the news. "Yeah, I found that out, too," he said in an interview with NPR recently. "It was the surprise of a lifetime. There was no explanation. But it was gone… just up and vanished."

"I read something in the trades implicating that it was about money or something. But apparently the contracts that we write and sign aren't worth the paper that they're printed on, sometimes." If you think that's a brutal way to cut off an actor, just listen to Howard's semi-emotional response. "Promises aren't kept, and good faith negotiations aren't always held up.


Mickey Rourke:Wanted to pay him way below what he was worth.He almost walked until Marvel made a better offer.

Rourke's comments at the time.

http://splashpage.mtv.com/2009/02/18/no-iron-man-2-for-mickey-rourke-actor-says-hes-not-doing-sequel/

Put on the spot at Fashion Week in New York City, Rourke and his agent David Unger gave a crystal clear assessment of the Wrestler and Sin City star's casting status in Marvel Studios's rumor-magnet Iron Man sequel.

Right now, we're not doing Iron Man 2, Rourke told New York Magazine.

Previously, various outlets reported that Rourke received a bargain basement offer of $250,000 to appear in the film a relatively low sum, given the likelihood that the actor will receive a Best Actor Academy Award next Sunday.


Samuel L. Jackson:Wanted him to sign a nine picture deal for very little money.Almost walked until a deal was worked out.

Jackson's comments at the time.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/herocomplex/2009/01/nick-fury-no-mo.html

"There was a huge kind of negotiation that broke down. I don't know. Maybe I won't be Nick Fury. Maybe somebody else will be Nick Fury or maybe Nick Fury won't be in it. There seems to be an economic crisis in the Marvel Comics world so [they're saying to me], 'We're not making that deal.'"


Andy Dufresne addressed Jon Favreau.
Really, you'd think *creative differences* would have been proffered and that would be that. Shows animosity strong enough to overrule professionalism. I don't blame ENs agent for the response. And I love the word apoplectic.
I still see how not hiring Norton was the smart business decision. But turning their choices into tacky emotional jabs is not only revealing of their bad management, but puts a spotlight on their financial limitations.

If they don't watch out, they're going to turn into MGM. No one wants to hear that Marvel can't afford to make Marvel movies.
I think the warning signs were already there.

That's all I'll say on the subject.
In fairness, Iron Man 2 made them a truck of money. They aren't MGM. I imagine they're trying to keep costs on The Avengers down, and, you know, I'm a fan of budgets not running away from themselves.

At the end of the day I don't know anybody who fully understands negotiation for actors fees. It's a minefield because it involves money and emotion. It also happens all the time - I know several Firefly people turned down Universal's Serenity offer, for example, and it took a while to get them on board.

If Marvel wanted to go with a different direction for The Hulk casting, when they told Norton this they probably should have also publicly released the information themselves, to put their own spin on it, keep it professional and keep Norton's camp happy.
In counter fairness, Lord of the Rings and Bond made MGM a lot o' money too.
Yeah, but that's a very different situation. MGM has been in financial trouble for a long time - we're talking decades. They owe $4bn. They have $200m in interest payments alone (before loan payments) due next week. Marvel aren't in that position, they're kicking arse and have been for a long time - that's why they can afford to spend $150m on The Hulk and Iron Man films.
Tonya J: That being said, there sure isn't anything wrong with Eric Bana. And Fillion would be a great Hulk.

I dunno about casting Fillion. After ILM made a decent CGI Hulk, it would be a bit weird to see Bana morph into a green-painted Fillion.
Fillion is rumored up for Ant Man/Hank Pym.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-12 02:44 ]
Why the negativity about NF? I'd love to see him play someone sort of nebbish and reserved, then watch him explode, because he's got talent as an actor I don't think we've even seen yet. Chris Reeve was tall and built, and he did wonders with Clark Kent.
Tonya, it isn't the body size but the acting chops. NF does the Cary Grant stuff quite well; just don't think he has a Bruce Banner in him.
Tonya, was a joke.
Fillion as Banner is an interesting idea ('though I agree with baxter about the Cary Grant stuff).
Fillion as Hulk (like Lou Ferrigno) is a whole 'nother matter.
Well hell, if we're going to cast Whedonverse actors, let's get some Alexis Denisof action going. He'd be all over it, and I've seen him do self-loathing before.

Seriously though, I don't see Fillion as Banner. That's not a talent or acting comment, I just don't see him as that guy.
That's okay, guys. I guess I see something in him that you don't. Alexis would be great, but it feels like it would playing to type. For NF, it would be a chance to do something totally different (yes, sorry for my faux pas, I meant Banner, not actually becoming the Hulk).
Nathan's a very good actor - with acting chops to spare. He can play subtle and big and that ain't easy.

He's also got charm for days and a big presence. I couldn't say if that's what Bruce Banner needs or not.

Just that: not all actors are right for all jobs.

I'm still kinda astounded by the Feige/Marvel remarks. If an actor said that crap, he'd get the old, "You'll never work in this town again..." reaction.
Wow! thanks so much for going above and beyond in answering my question Buffyfantic (with quotes and references, very thorough and impressive!).

I can really see why you suggested there seems to be a pattern emerging with Marvel's relationship with actors, as Andy Dufresne said, they seem to be consistently low-balling actors! I think it might lead to them getting a reputation and thus make it difficult to recruit other 'names'.

TonyaJ I totally see Nathan being able to play the Hulk (even if it's unlikely given that he's touted for a different character).
Apologies, gossi, I totally misphrased that. :o They're starting to LOOK like MGM. They have way too much bad press based on their reputation of frugality. This week, they've proven that they don't have the class or PR might to stop an obvious, inevitable decision (not hiring Norton) from again soiling their reputation. Now they're on the verge of losing the Comic con news cycle to this malarkey.
Alexis Denisof
People complain endlessly about the crazy ass budgets of out of control Hollywood and the insane salaries that actors make. People not me, btw. Now that a studio is trying to make quality entertainment without having to borrow from other investors and put themselves into the situation that MGM was stupid enough to get themselves into, they're the bad guy?

The whole thing was handled poorly in the press, but Marvel's reasoning seems sound to me. They are keeping the biggest controllable expense (talent salaries) down and making sure a movie that could spiral out of control with the second biggest expense (production time) isn't derailed by egos. Bravo. Bring it on. I'm first in line. Norton is completely replaceable and won't be missed once this very little kerfuffle blows over.

My only caveat is that this won't blow over unless Marvel starts to take a very different tack on their PR strategies. They are royally fucking up there.
Fillion's a bit too big to be Bruce Banner. It'd be like a big guy just getting bigger when he hulked out. The perfect Banner is, probably, around average height, and can project that sort of nice-guy-getting-pushed-until-he-finally-blows aura... hey, you know who would be perfect for that? Edward Norton!

Fillion as Ant Man, on the other hand, is genius. Besides being funny, he's a big guy whose power is to become tiny. Too perfect. I really hope that pans out.
Agree with dispatch, Norton was perfect.
TamaraC, in their comment about not hiring Edward Norton, they said money wasn't the reason. So them trying to make a quality movie without spending gobs of money isn't what I get from all of this. What I get is someone making a statement that although may or may not be true was a pretty crappy thing to say out loud about an actor a lot of people were looking forward to seeing in the roll and just causing a lot of unneccesary trouble for a movie that hasn't even begun to be made.
NYPinTA, part of this thread and some of the discussion on twitter is talking about Marvel "lowballing" actors. That is what I'm addressing. I also stated that this was handled poorly from a PR perspective and they need to get their shit together. They did handle it badly, but they were right to get rid of Norton for more than one reason. It also sends the right fiscal message to the rest of what will end up being a very large ensemble. Don't believe for a second (no matter what anyone says) that this isn't about money. Norton's (alleged) behavior on the the last flick cost Marvel money in production time. Lots and lots of money. They don't want to see that happen again. Good for them. I wish them happy profits. Oodles and oodles of profits. :)

Hugely profitable movies directed by Joss Whedon get us more movies directed (and hopefully written) by Joss Whedon. I'm all for that.
The fact that Norton is out? No big deal.

The fact that a ton of fans are also currently put out about the fact that Norton is out? Also, no big deal.

I'm going to go see it, as are most are all the rest of the people complaining, because everything will have blown over by the time the teaser trailer ever hits the Web.

What REALLY has the potential to tank the Avengers movie is one of three things:
1) Thor sucks,
2) Captain America sucks, or
3) Thor sucks.
Pardon me for saying so, but it seems to me that much of people's concern over this whole casting kerfuffle - apart from the obvious lack of tact on both sides in the PR realm - fairly reeks of Fan Myopia. Last I checked Edward Norton's portrayal of the Incredible Hulk was not exactly the crowning highlight of his acting career, and I think it's fair to say that the fans out there for whom this is a make or break issue are a) very few in number and b) not the kinds of fans you'd want around anyway. Further, the film at hand is not even supposed to be about the Hulk in the first place; it's about the Avengers - of whom the Hulk is just a member - and should be geared towards getting the Avengers as a whole right, not hang ups over individual characters.

And, for what it's worth, the same can be said for the whole irrational fear far too many people seem to have about Joss Whedon possibly making use of his Production Posse. Yes, there will be those prone towards wild and wacky accusations and conspiracy theories, but the fact remains that the only thing which really matters is the end result - whether the final film is suitably entertaining or not. All this other stuff is just background noise and should be treated as such.

ETA: jclemens FTW!

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-12 06:21 ]
I didn't know if another thread should be started or not but Devin at Chud is reporting that Joaquin Phoenix is on Marvel's radar to replace Edward Norton as The Hulk in The Avengers and a offer has been made.The actor is mulling it over.Interesting that according to this, he would be the lowest paid actor on the totem pole even though he's a bigger name than Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans although he's had some issues in recent years.That sure makes it look like it was a lowballing thing on Marvel's part though,IMO

http://chud.com/articles/articles/24388/1/WILL-THE-NEW-HULK-RISE-LIKE-A-PHOENIX/Page1.html

If this deserves a new thread,by all means.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-12 07:17 ]
If this deserves a new thread,by all means.


I don't think I could take a fourth thread in as many days on this subject. Wait till it gets officially confirmed.

Also Marvel are the new Fox. Everybody wins.
I don't think I could take a fourth thread in as many days on this subject. Wait till it gets officially confirmed.


I know what you mean.It seems everyday another thing breaks on this.

Friday:Rumor breaks.

Saturday:Marvel confirms rumor.

Sunday:Norton's agent respondes.

Monday:The actor who is rumored to replace Norton breaks.

So on Tuesday should we expect to hear if Joaquin Phoenix supossedly accepted or turned down the offer?Or do we get a day of rest from all this?

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-12 07:36 ]
Well tell you what, I'll add the Joaquin rumour to this entry. Chud is one of the more reliable fanboy sites out there.
Cool,atleast that way someone won't start a new thread.

Like you said,Chud is one of the reliable sites but you know how this casting stuff can go.Whether Chud is right and whether Phoenix accepts or rejects,we won't know anything for real until Comic Con in two weeks.As Devin says,if Phoenix turns the role down,they'll quickly move on to someone else since they're on a time frame to make San Diego.

I mean even Joss himself hasn't been offically confirmed as director yet even though everybody knows that he is.Again,Comic Con should be where that word is confirmed.

I'm hoping this is the last breaking news on the Hulk situation for a bit.
To be honest all of the other casting news has leaked when they got to final negotiations so I don't see this one being different Buffyfantic. Of course, if Marvel is leaking it they could stop now and make it a Comic-Con surprise.
#Dohring4Hulk
TamaraC | July 12, 08:59 CET


That's the only suggestion I've seen so far that would get me totally on board and enthused. Dohring would be perfect. And as anyone who saw his recent guest star turn on Lie To Me knows, he definitely has the acting chops.

Joaquin Phoenix doesn't seem like a good fit to me, but he is an excellent actor and if high profile is what Marvel wants, maybe he would work out.

I didn't really like the tone of the Times article, it seemed to add insult to injury to Norton, who is definitely the injured party here.
A "surprisingly pointed statement" (from Feige)? more like mean spirited and shockingly unprofessional. And Norton's agent didn't sound "apologetic" to me. He sounded properly pissed off but deliverd his statement with the class so lacking from Feige.

I personally wouldn't care a fig for this movie, if Joss wasn't attached - I've never found the "ensemble" superhero movies appealing. I just hope it blows over and Joss doesn't get tarred with the same brush as Marvel studios. And that it's a monster hit, for Joss's sake.
Also Marvel are the new Fox. Everybody wins.


That made me LOL, Simon.
So they got rid of Ed Norton because he's difficult to work with and now they're after Joaquin Phoenix! Sorry, but this is all about money.
Joaquin Phoenix... Oh, has he given up performance art on talk shows and his rapping career? Seems like he would be a far worse and erratic bet than Norton.
I'm thinking all of this will become a lot clearer once we see a script or the final film. I bet Bruce's role is minimal, and Marvel didn't want that to change.
Joaquin Phoenix. The guy who used the platform provided by hardworking PR people for the moderately budgeted "Two Lovers" to promote a faux documentary of his own creation.

THAT's the guy who will embody the collaborative spitir of your movie? I don't think so.
Joaquin Phoenix is a gifted actor, and a small/weakish guy, so he could really do a good job as Bruce Banner (besides he may be wanting to erase the talk show and rapping from the public mind and improve his image). But I can't imagine that he'll be much easier to work with than Ed Norton would have been, poor Joss: it will be like herding cats.
Hopefully Joss will make it his mission to avoid having Thor suck. Unless it is called for.
Ed Norton didn't play The Hulk. Ed Norton played Bruce Banner. The Hulk was a cartoon.
Redeem that's a great point! I wouldn't mind Banner being in it brief without him hulking out! But someone on another thread suggested Adrian Brody for the role and I gotta say he'd be great! Much better than Phoenix who seems to have his own thing outside of acting going on right now. And that moumentary might bring anther shade of inappropriate attention to the film.
.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-12 15:49 ]
Adrian Brody is a good shout as is Eric Bana for some continuity. Though to be honest, I'm not that keen on the Hulk being in the movie at all. After two not particularly successful attempts, I'm not sure that he's a character that works well in a live-action film. The CGI Hulk is really hard to get right - it's very cartoon-y.

I also don't really get how you can do a story of the Avengers v The Hulk as that seems ridiculously unbalanced. I am completely ignorant about the Avengers though, so hopefully I'm just missing something huge.
NotaViking, you mean with The Hulk as the enemy of The Avengers? That's wrong - The Hulk is apart of The Avengers.
I believe Hulk as a common Avengers threat is well-worn territory, and if it's not, it should be.
Why is it so hard to get good PR for Whedon projects? Why?? That poor guy, getting shot before he's even out of the gate.

I read in Rolling Stone that RDJ created a shrine for Iron Man (before he got the role) so that he could relay all of his positive energy & focus there. That may not be a bad idea.
Dr Horrible had great PR. Nobody knew it even existed until a few days before shooting. Then nobody knew what it was really about. Then a teaser trailer got leaked. It was really well done, and a credit to all involved.

I still believe good publicity is about carefully telling a story about why you'd want to sleep with something. If you give too much information, you put people off. This is the frickin' Avengers man, it's a huge gig, you have jw directing - it's not a hard publicity sell. You can market the shit out of this, and I hope they do.
"Ultimate Avengers" (especially the animated movie) had Hulk as the enemy. But I hope Joss goes old school.

korkster: If there is a Joss shrine, I'm betting the most common prayer will be "Dear Buddha, please bring me a pony and a plastic rocket."
Stay classy, Marvel! I loved Edward Norton's Banner, I can't even put into words how mad I am at these... gentlemen.
Very true, OneTeV. :)
Why is it so hard to get good PR for Whedon projects? Why?? That poor guy, getting shot before he's even out of the gate.

Good publicity is no publicity. Bad stuff happening is a staple of every project where people are actually trying to accomplish something. It's just a question of how inclined/capable people on the outside are of calling attention to the inevitable hiccups.


ETA: It's not that Whedon projects are necessarily prone to more bad PR than anyone else's - it's just that the closer you follow something like this the more the production problems which will inevitably crop up are going to seem like they're actually important in the grand scheme of things - which they most certainly aren't.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-12 18:28 ]
Good publicity is a very clear message as to why something is awesome. That's where it fell apart with Dollhouse. Everybody was hearing reasons why things weren't right, and the actual official publicity information being released was random photos, random video clips, and a complete barrage of interviews. People only absorb so much when it comes to finding out about a new project before they judge it, so you have to really control what is out there.

When we did the promos and such for Dollhouse in the second season, the fan made ones, the one people most responded to was the "Belonging" promo. Which is available to watch here. It says almost nothing about the episode, and doesn't have any moving images.

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-12 18:32 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2010-07-12 18:33 ]
Good publicity is that which reflects the true nature of the source material without coloring it in a negative (bad pr) or positive (false advertising) light - ie. the best publicity is transparent, or - in other words - virtually non-existent.

Good publicity is a very clear message as to why something is awesome.

!!Nitpick Alert!! technically that would be positive publicity.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-12 18:57 ]
I disagree with the notion publicity can't be positive. Of course, I also think the commonly repeated idea internet video should be short is bullshit. In other words, I probably view things different to the way it's taught professionally. I have no idea about the business level of thing, I just like those moments of showing somebody something and them going 'Oh my God. That looks so cool'.
Anyone here read the Avengers, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America or any other comic for more than a year or two? If so, you probably saw a change in the guys writing, drawing and creating the comics. The appearance of the characters changed, the way they 'spoke' changed, and their direction in life changed.

Changing actors is no different than changing a portion of the creative team for a comic book. In other words, this is nothing new for comics.

Marvel is focused on making the Marvel movie universe into something that is sustainable. To that end, they must look at it as an ongoing process rather than look at each movie as a separate beast. This requires different negotiation strategy. If you're planning on having a name actor do a movie that *might* get two sequels, you can stomach a pay raise in each sequel that does more than account for inflation. However, in a serial, if you jack that actor's salary up dramatically after each of 12 movies - and you have a bunch of named actors in each movie - you're going to destroy the franchises before they begin. If you bring in a guy that doesn't play a team approach to movie making and demands more power, you're not going to be doing that movie series a favor, either.

My guess: Marvel has been on the fence on Norton since IH. They wanted continutity, but they had first hand experience that said he wasn't the right type of actor to be a team member in the Marvel universe. They held off on making a decision and gave him space between IH and now to allow them to start fresh. They spoke with him and had someone with a reputation for building ensemble casts speak with him - Joss. In the end, the decision was made that they were better off with a new Hulk.

Marvel movies are something kind of new. They have the fraternal bonds that are common to TV shows. In my eyes, this just seemed to be a side effect of transitioning from the 'movie' view to the new view on movies.
I also don't really get how you can do a story of the Avengers v The Hulk as that seems ridiculously unbalanced.


See the recent World War Hulk storyline. Hulk vs. Everyone (including Iron Man).

He's one of those rare good guys who can realistically fight with all the other good guys and still be a good guy, so yeah, I can totally see it.
I disagree with the notion publicity can't be positive.

I never said publicity can't be positive, just that truly good publicity is that which serves the best interest of the potential viewer by not coloring the nature of the thing being advertised (ie. the whole positive/negative perception component should be a sole function of the source material itself.)

There are cases where "positive" or even "negative" forms of publicity have a valid use (namely, counteracting each other) but, when you get down to it, any kind of publicity/advertising where quality connotations take precedence over honest, balanced assessments of source material can't really be seen as dwelling in the realm of the viewer's best interest (I should note that probably less than 5% of publicity/advertising ends up being truly representative of the thing being advertised - after all - if you're in pr/marketing and you've got careers and livelihoods at stake, if your options are spin positive, spin negative, or be accurate who's gonna blame you for erring on the side of continued employment?)

ETA: Case in point.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-12 22:10 ]
Joaquin Phoenix may have been a good Bruce Banner 15 years ago. Now? Crazy bearded rapper Joaquin? Not so much.
And ten years ago you would have been laughed out of the room for thinking that a crazy, no-career, druggie like RDJ would be playing an iconic superhero in multiple films. No town is more forgiving and more redemptive than this one.
Maybe Joaquin Phoenix can rap his lines as Banner. That would be entertaining... and Joss hasn't directed a rap number yet.
Or Mickey Rourke for that matter.
Mickey Rourke raps?
Tamara, there is a big difference between druggie RDJ and batshit crazy Joaquin. No comparison.
Yeah - one has issues and attempts to suppress them through the use of hallucinogenic substances; the other has issues and successfully expresses them by acting like a loon.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2010-07-13 06:05 ]
Right that's enough actor bashing. If you want sling terms like druggie and batshit crazy about the place then do it elsewhere.
Apologies, Simon. I was (very poorly) trying to represent how far RDJ has come and how well he is doing now.
I see, Simon. I'm sure Joaquin visits Whedonesque daily and now his feelings are hurt. Oopsies!

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