I remember when Ed Norton was first hired to play Bruce Banner as The Incredible Hulk. Given that the movie was intended to be a more standard action blockbuster than Norton was known for at the time, I was a bit surprised. And the fact that Marvel Studios was hoping to carry things on in a shared universe (though the idea of an Avengers movie was much less certain then) seemed not entirely conducive to Norton, given how serious his movies tend to be.
And, lo and behold, once it was clear that the Avengers film was happening, they went and replaced Norton. It’s been many years since that happened, and speaking with The New York Times, Norton had a chance to reflect on what he wanted versus what Marvel Studios wanted.
“I loved the Hulk comics. I believed they were very mythic. And what Chris Nolan had done with Batman was going down a path that I aligned with: long, dark and serious. If there was ever a thing that I thought had that in it, it was the Hulk. It’s literally the Promethean myth. 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. But I had a great time doing it. I got on great with Kevin Feige.”
And, honestly, I think the movie gets more hate it deserves. All that aside, it’s clear that the visions for the two films would not have fit well in the MCU. However, what is a bit odd is that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said something along the lines of needing an actor who was more collaborative.
“Yeah, which was cheap. It was brand defensiveness or something. 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 went and did all the other things I wanted to do, and what Kevin Feige has done is probably one of the best executions of a business plan in the history of the entertainment industry. As a Disney shareholder, you should be on your feet for what they pulled off.”
Yeah, considering Avengers: Endgame is now the highest-grossing film of all-time, it’s clear that things turned out well for both parties. What do you think of how things turned out? Do you wish we saw Norton’s vision fully realized? Let us know in the comments below!
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