Movie Chronicles » The Avengers

No Ed Norton in The Avengers July 25th, 2010

Ed Nor­ton will not be play­ing Bruce Ban­ner in the upcom­ing Avengers movie. He would have joined Robert Downey Jr., Scar­lett Johans­son, Samuel L. Jack­son as Nick Fury, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Cap­tain America.

Kevin Feige reports,

“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.”

This state­ment resulted in a kick-back from Norton’s agents and Nor­ton himself:

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.