Edward Norton’s Agent Fires Back at Marvel over AVENGERS Casting

by     Posted 4 years, 19 days ago

It’s a good thing for Marvel Studios execs that Edward Norton hasn’t been exposed to gamma radiation like his on-screen counterpart, Dr. Bruce Banner, otherwise the threads of his shirt would be ripping as I type. In case you missed it, Friday we reported Marvel’s confirmation that Edward Norton would not be reprising his turn as The Hulk in the superhero crossover flick The Avengers. According to the press release Marvel sent Hitfix, Norton’s lack of involvement in the project was not a monetary decision but rather, “rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”

You certainly don’t need a lot of experience in reading subtext to decipher that Marvel is calling into question Norton’s creativity (a seemingly unfounded accusation of an actor of Norton’s caliber) as well as his ability to be a team player (that may or may not be a different story). As a result, and in classic eye-for-an-eye style, today Norton’s agent Brian Swardstrom has come to his client’s defense with a press release of his own.

Hit the jump to check out Swardstrom’s full rebuttal as well as a brief overview of the Marvel/Norton story thus far.

Via Hitfix:

“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at ComiCon and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast. Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings.

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 talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.

Brian Swardstrom


When Norton was originally cast as everyone’s favorite green Avenger back in 2007, few could have predicted the messy fallout that is now occurring between Marvel and the actor. After all, his addition to the franchise was the key component necessary in reviving the character on the silver screen after the full-scale failure that was Ang Lee’s Hulk. Moreover, in spite of how you may feel about how 2008′s The Incredible Hulk turned out, Norton’s presence alone brought an aura of excitement to the character’s film future that was previously non-existent. In spite of this excitement, however, shortly after the film’s release much was made of Norton’s apparent disapproval of its final cut and, from there, Marvel’s relationship with the actor has seemed shaky at best.

Which brings us to today, where we surprisingly find Marvel and Norton’s representation Internet-sparring via press release and, most importantly, an integral part of The Avengers left unfilled only weeks before Marvel plans to unveil the entire cast at Comic-Con. As a fan of both Norton’s and Marvel’s, I can only hope that some sense of pragmatism will have prevailed between the two parties by that time. Regardless, though, it is becoming increasingly likely that when The Avengers cast takes the stage in San Diego, there will be a giant void where a green giant should be.

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  • http://twitter.com/cablebfg Bill Graham

    This just makes me shake my head. This is ridiculous on so many fronts. This is NOT the first time that MARVEL have acted like they can cast anyone in a film and it do well. They low-balled Howard, and he left. By all accounts they did the same with Jackson and Rourke, but fan outrage got them to apparently boost the money on the table. Now this? They worked so hard to create this awesome cast of actors for a huge film event, and they are dropping the ball on one of the best actors in the entire bunch?

  • Ifikr2

    I'm not seeing it unless Norton is in it.

  • Sk49vs

    Unfortunate turn of events. I have a great deal of respect for Edward Norton's work and I am disappointed that he will not be involved with the Avengers.

    This is a lost opportunity Marvel, I think you dropped the ball here…

  • Bryce

    What the heck! come on bring Norton back! Don't F— up Marvel…

  • Mike

    Ang Lee's HULK was ten times better than that other piece of shit Norton was in…

  • Gray

    Sorry to say it, but I am siding with Marvel on this. Norton is one of those control freak actors who thinks he can rewrite any project that he touches. And no director should have to put up with that. Especially on one of the films in movie history!

  • Corin Prendiville

    Yeah Marvel needs to learn to quit being a bunch of tight douche bags, its going to get them nowhere. Paying leading actors 300k is not reasonable when they are the kind of actors who make 5, 10, 15 and 20 million a movie. It is bs when actors get switched out every damn movie, it ruins the continuity.

    I'm definitely going to miss Norton in The Avengers, but I had already assumed Norton wouldn't be in Avengers when Hulk came out.

  • BV

    That movie was garbage! let us have hulk fight mutated dogs! It was a joke!

  • http://www.efavata.com/CBM/ Landfill

    It would have been that much better with Norton.

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    REVAMP IT I SAY!!!! I wanna see The HULK not Bruce Banner!

    But, i wanna see an much IMPROVED HULK too. Both designs and execution of the beast have been piss poor at best!

    However…. SHARLTO COPLEY for Banner! = WIN!

  • M&M

    Marvel f'd up.

    The Incredible Hulk was a good movie that could've been better if, it seems, Norton's ideas were put into play (read the above “Norton’s apparent disapproval of its final cut”). Could've been great.

    And anyone who thinks that god awful Ang Lee interpretation of the Hulk was better should be content in knowing that their lobotomy was a success. :p

  • Ruprect44

    I agree with Mike. Lee's Hulk, although far from perfect, was infinitely superior to the teenage fanboy-wankfest that got released two years ago.
    And BV ….. How deep is your Hulk comic collection? Did he fight The Abomination or The Leader every issue? Of course not. The Hulk has taken on some pretty wierd shit over the years, mutated animals ( of ALL kinds) among them.

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  • Tonamania

    When the news came out that Norton would be cast as Banner, I almost wet myself. I thought it was brilliant then and I think it's brilliant now. Now this crap comes out. Not happy at all with Marvel's continuous interference. I accepted the Cheadle replacement because I think Cheadle is the better actor AND better for the Rhodey part. What does Marvel do? Hack writer, poorly written character development and a small, 2 dimensionsal part for Cheadle.

    Now they're saying Norton is gone. In a well written movie (and who knows if Avengers will be), how cool would it have been to see Downey and Norton play off one another?

    Just awful.

  • Antony Aris

    The problem with your point is that MARVEL gave Ed Norton the right to rewrite TIH script and have creative say in the films direction so this doesn't make sense. They basically ignored his issues in the final cut of the movie essentially ignoring his promised input.

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  • histeachn

    This is the same rub I have with this, and it does cause my interest to wane in the film. Both how they were towards Norton with TIH and Feige's unprofessional announcement vs. Norton's agent's professional response are telling to me. As much as I'm intrigued by how Marvel is setting up The Avengers, it won't matter if their conduct is poor like this.

    Stand by your talent, Marvel, don't dismiss them.

  • http://twitter.com/kevinvannatter Kevin Van Natter

    No shit. That's why it was so lame when this site acted like the studio wanted to go cheaper even though everyone has known that Norton's lack of involvement would be related to his clashes with the creative team that took place during filming TIH.

  • http://twitter.com/kevinvannatter Kevin Van Natter

    For the record, I think anyone with half a brain expected this messy fallout.

  • http://senzafineonline.net/ Yahzee

    I too agree. I love Ang Lee's film, and found it really wonderful and touching, but its greatest fault was also one of the reasons it's so great, it wasn't a film made for fanboys… it was complicated for action geeks, weird, way too artsy…

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  • colin

    i think it would be worth paying ed norton a couple extra million dollars to NOT have this controversial aura hanging over a film which is so important to comic fans. Norton's non-involvement, or dismissal or whatever, will be discussed FOREVER IN CONJUNCTION WITH THIS FILM. especially if it comes out good. that's a huge price to pay

  • Lestat

    I won't be seeing it either. After ruining Captain America with sloppy casting, the least they could do is surround Evans with talented actors. Its all down hill from here. Unprofessional douchebag liar Marvel ceo.

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