Despite being a phenomenal actor, Edward Norton has frequently been described as difficult to work with. In fact, his disputes with Marvel ended up costing him the role of Hulk back in the early days of the MCU. The three-time Academy Award nominee was expected to reprise his part as the angry green giant from The Incredible Hulk in The Avengers, but his obstinance ended up causing the studio to cast Mark Ruffalo in the role instead.
Norton has obviously been peeved about this for years, but maintains that walking away from the gig was his decision. Marvel has clearly moved on from the controversy, but the actor can’t seem to stop taking shots at his former collaborators every chance he gets. Now, he’s claiming that the split was due to creative differences between the two parties, mainly revolving around two solo Hulk sequels.
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The second movie in the standalone franchise was initially pitched to be a much darker, more serious look at Bruce Banner. The protagonist would’ve learned how to control his powers in the follow-up, but still would have to deal with other exterior problems that required the use of his rage. According to Norton, those at Marvel were on board for that vision, but soon changed their minds.
“I laid out a two-film thing: The origin and then the idea of Hulk as the conscious dreamer, the guy who can handle the trip. And they were like, ‘That’s what we want!’ As it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted… Ultimately they weren’t going for long, dark and serious. But it doesn’t matter… We had positive discussions about going on with the films, and we looked at the amount of time that would’ve taken, and I wasn’t going to do that. I honestly would’ve wanted more money than they’d have wanted to pay me.
But that’s not why I would’ve wanted to do another Hulk movie anyway… I’m saying that Kevin [Feige] had an idea of a thing that you could do, and it was remarkable. Now it didn’t happen to be on a tonal, thematic level what I wanted to spend my time doing.”
Ultimately, Norton’s decision (if you choose to believe that it was his) ended up costing him a lot of fame and money. The 50-year-old has enough of both to keep him very happy, of course, but a lot more was left on the table once he was ousted and/or walked away from portraying Hulk.
Still, the idea of a much darker film centered around the character is interesting. Maybe Marvel can still pursue the prospect with Ruffalo in the role instead?
Source: The New York Times