With comic book movie casting news coming at us from every angle recently, today we finally hear from an old-friend you may have heard of: The Avengers. A HitFix report is claiming that, perhaps in spite of his best hopes, Edward Norton will not be reprising his role as “The Hulk” in Marvel Studios’ future blockbuster. It seems as if Marvel and Norton did not initially see eye-to-eye in terms of what the actor would make for his contributions. As such, the comic juggernauts now seem to be looking to cast the wardrobe-ripping member of the Avengers with someone more affordable (Note: “more affordable” is a euphemism for an “unknown”).
For more on the casting situation as well as a brief overview of what we do know about the film, hit the jump.
Update: Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige has sent HitFix a statement confirming Edward Norton will not be returning as Bruce Banner. Hit the jump for more:
For those of you convinced of the possibility that Norton has bigger and better things to attend to than smashing random large objects, Hitflix claims that the actor confirmed his interest in the role to them at this year’s South by Southwest Festival in Texas. Moreover, the report is also steadfast in its claim that Norton recently met with the all-but-official director of The Avengers, Joss Whedon, and that both reported their enthusiasm for the project back to Marvel shortly thereafter. In short, all reports currently point to a scenario in which Norton wants to be a part of Marvel’s sure fire hit but is being left out in exchange for a more budget-friendly option.
While the Hulk/Norton scenario will surely continue to play out in the coming months, there are a few actors who will almost certainly be avenging like its going out of style come the summer of 2012. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark/Iron Man, while Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as the Asgardian Thunder God Thor, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury all seem to be virtual locks as well.
As always, we’ll have more info as it breaks. In the meantime, The Avengers is still slated for a May 4th, 2012 release.
UPDATE: Marvel sent Hitfix this statement. Sounds like it wasn’t about money…
“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.”