July 13th, 2010
09:55 AM ET

Ed Norton responds to Marvel's 'Hulk' search

After word spread that Marvel is searching for a “name actor” who “embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit” of the rest of “The Avengers” cast, Ed Norton has offered a response via Facebook.

“As most of you know, I don't like to talk much about the business of making movies because it means a lot to me to protect the audience's fullest enjoyment of the 'magic' that films can have,” Norton said in the statement.

But, he added, “It seems it won’t work out for me to continue playing Bruce Banner for Marvel in ‘The Avengers.' I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped.”

Norton’s representative wasn't as kind in his reaction to Marvel's announcement, saying that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige tried to paint Norton in a negative light.

“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,” Norton’s rep said. “Feige's statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory.”

If Norton himself agrees with that, he didn’t let it come through in his response. “I am very sincerely grateful to Marvel for extending the offer and even more so for giving me the chance to be a part of the Hulk's long and excellent history,” Norton said before also thanking the fans who’ve supported him as he tried on the iconic role.

“I grew up with Banner and Hulk and have been a fan of every incarnation,” Norton said. “I'm really proud, and very blessed, to have been one of them and will be thrilled to see him live on through other actors. Hulk is bigger than all of us, that's why we love him, right?”

Filed under: Celebrities • movies

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Mordsith_T

    Edward Norton would have made Bill Bixby proud with the delivery of Bruce Banner. I never cared for Eric Bana as Banner. Now they are changing it up again. Well, Hulk may have been a fav as a child but I suppose I will have to abandon him for Iron Man or the Green Lantern. But any future Hulk movies that stand alone, I won't be paying to see.

    July 26, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. RS

    I loved Edward as Bruce Banner ! He made the movie enjoyable for me to watch. I wasn't sure when I first heard he was cast in the role, but since I was already a fan of his, I went and checked it out. I absolutely loved him in it. I wish they'd work things out with him, so that he could come back. But they won't, so I hope that they'll at least get someone of equal caliber (no Mark Ruffalo does not count). Edward, in my heart you'll be one of the two Bruce Banner's there for me. The other will always be Bill Bixby.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian P

    F***ing Stupid. Ed Norton is an excellent actor who pulled Hulk off without a hitch. I loved the reboot with Ed. Marvel is making a MASSIVE mistake by not bringing him back in as the Hulk. I won't bother with seeing The Avengers if they're not going to stick with the actors that are rebooting the respective series.

    July 16, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Toni C

    Edward Norton is the best actor! I cannot believe he is not being casted in the movie! Edward was excellent in the Hulk movie! I love all Edward’s movies – Ed is the BEST!

    July 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Davis

    Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is
    Edward Norton is The Hulk – Its amazing that in this economic climate he cant put aside his ego to produce the best product available to see its earning potential. Eric Bana suck'd in the first Hulk so much that I was insulted that I payed to see that! I WILL NOT SEE THE AVENGERS if Norton is re cast
    Sounds like Mr. Feige is strictly looking to produce straight to DVDs
    remember GI Joe?

    July 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Gayle

    Ed Norton is, and always has been, a class act. To bad the rest of Hollywood so seldom is.

    July 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • RS

      Amen to that Gayle. That's why he's definitely one of my favs ! He's an all around great guy, and I'm sorry I missed it when he came back to Maryland to promote one of his movies at a local theater. Just glad to see Edward is the mature one who knows how to take the high road. Some people in Hollywood could learn a lesson or two from him.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Josh

    I was never a fan of the comic or the two movies that came out. I grew up on Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno and would love to see a remake of the show over these stupid CG creations. Anyone in their mid-30's would probably love to see this too.

    July 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Naja

    Ed Norton can be summed up in one word: CLASSY. Marvel is another: STUPID. Enough said.

    July 15, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. eilis_artis

    Bill Bixby was Bruce Banner, that is until Ed Norton. I was looking forward to the next Hulk movie... and the next .... and the next. Whatever the reason for changing actors, I think someone was really NOT thinking this through.

    July 14, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian G

    This is exactly WHY he should be Banner.

    July 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. GETBIG

    Once again here are the people @top making a mistake this guy can flat out act I bet it's because he to skinny but that 's who Bruce Banner was they're going for fantasy now cmon man!

    July 14, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anita

    Well, if they ARE pursuing Joaquin Phoenix they will have to do something drastic to pull him out of retirement. I personally love Ed Norton's talent when it comes to movies in every aspect that he participates in them...BUT having said that, I do know that he sometimes gets so passionate about his view for the character/movie that he can at times come to an impasse with those holding the purse strings and directorial power. This could have been the case this time...maybe not though. Even still...he is being quite classy and gracious in his response to some very inflammatory and unnecessary comments, very Ed Norton-like.

    July 14, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Red Pison

    It's a shame, I liked his take on Bruce Banner. It was a nice combination of the comic book and Bill Bixby's Banner. Norton pulled it off in a believable way, and he wasn't creepy unlike Eric Bana in the earlier Hulk movie. Norton has the look, he's got the talent, so why recast him?
    I think it's all because of the dispute he got into with Marvel about the length of the movie. Norton wanted to add a "human" element to the Banner persona and Marvel just wanted to cut right to the action. Had they left Norton's vision intact (including the deleted scenes of him going to the arctic to die and stumbling across Cap frozen in ice) the movie would've probably been much better received.
    When I saw The Incredible Hulk in theaters, I could actually tell that this film was cut and edited for time, the transitions were choppy, especially when Bruce and Betty were in the motel. I knew there was more dialogue but it was just quick-cut out. Sloppy work, Marvel.

    July 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |

    I wish the "fellow" castmates would say something. Especially since Feige was partically stating they didn't want to work with Edward. A huge loss for the Avengers....they will replace Edward with someone cheaper but who really would want to take that role now after all of this?

    July 14, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. Brittany

    Ed Norton is a terrific actor. My favorite movie of his is American History X. The Hulk was really good, too! Bummer. I was looking forward to the Avengers movie because of him.

    July 14, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  16. Darnelv

    I have collected comics for forty years, Edward did a hell of a job bringing life to Banner. Don Cheadle sucked as War Machine. Come on Stan Lee do not let them continue to take the life out of your characters. I have waited years to see them come to the big screen.

    July 14, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  17. scott

    How much does Edward look like Bruce Banner in this photo minus green turning eyes, at least the one I remember from the 80's Tv show, They should have given it to him..

    July 13, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Amy

    eric bana

    July 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  19. N

    @Lizzy, you know what's a disappointment? The end of "Party Down." Why is that cancelled, Lizzy? What happened? Hmmmmmmm?

    July 13, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Lizzy

    Booo!!! Hiss!!! I thought Edward Norton was perfect for the role. What a disappointment.

    July 13, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Dave

    I will sum this up for every one in a brief and subtle manor.........DUMB

    July 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  22. boocat

    Ed Norton – not a "name" actor???!! Once again, the suits in Hollywood show their stupidity. No wonder so much of their product is rehashed drivel and/or garbage.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Elmo

    Marvel has been hit and miss with picking actors for their shows. The worst is Spiderman. Ed Norton is a great actor and WANTS to be the Hulk. So many don;t care about the character and leave like Tobey Mcguire, he has expressed not caring about the role.. You really blew it changing the Iron Man character to Don Cheedle. Worst choice I've seen. The other guy was perfect for the part.
    Don't blow it Marvel. Keep Ed.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Boof

    If Ed Norton can't do it , how about Ralph Kramden?

    July 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Gary

    Norton did an excellent job with the Hulk. Sorry to see him go. I hate it when they make continual casting changes.

    July 13, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  26. SaintPetersburg

    there's a rumor going around that they're pursuing Joaquin Phoenix for the role. If that's the case, I am not at all mad at the decision, because he is an actor who always brings so much creativity and nuances to his performances.

    July 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Job

      It doesn't matter how great Joaquin is as an actor. It's called CONTINUITY....even in business. Hollywood dilutes the work and character study Norton did to give the Hulk life. For all intents and purposes, the first installment doesn't even EXIST to me. Ang Lee should have stuck to what he's obviously good at and produced the midly anticipated sequel of Brokeback Mountain: Return of the Sphincter. Bana should maintain his period roles like Troy. Norton made the franchise what it is. Now, we as an audience, have to come to appreciate and hopefully accept a different style of work and character study. As Dan said earlier, "it sux."

      July 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest

      Mark Ruffalo is in the works to be the next Hulk... not Joaquin Phoenix

      July 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Emily

    Gee... what a surprise. Hollywood screwing up another casting issue. Norton was the quintessential Banner.... what a shame.

    July 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Cheeseisgood

    I was a little doubtful when I found out he was playing this role, but he literally hulk smashed it out of the park! He did a great job, and shame to Marvel for not allowing him to continue. I guarantee it will make the movie weird to see someone else playing the role that we have already come to love another actor in...

    July 13, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  29. fraser

    cine special

    July 13, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  30. Firewife

    Once again Ed Norton shows that it's not just his eyes that are soulful and beautiful. It's nice to see a hollywood man be gracious. You are truly a gentleman.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  31. Veronica

    I don't really post comments on these things, but this is the STUPIDEST thing changing actors after they finally got a great actor to play The Hulk. That's hollywood for ya. bunch of screw-ups.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  32. Kay

    Edward Norton was actually able to bring HULK to life in a non-cheesy way! He was HULK. The directors are certainly shooting themselves in the foot with this move.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      This sux. This is the second time they've done this at Marvel. They did this to us with Iron Man, taking away someone who the audience really liked as the character. They just runied the experience in my opinion.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |

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