Edward Norton's Spicy Personality And The True Reason Behind His MCU Firing
The Hulk is definitely one of the best characters in the Marvel Universe, but there has been some trouble with the role of Bruce Banner in the MCU, and film adaptations have not been well-received. Director Ang Lee tried hard to make a great one in 2003, but fans hated it, so in 2008, the MCU hoped to continue the success of ‘Iron Man’ with the green, big guy.
Edward Norton had signed on for the role of Banner, and he was already respected as an Academy Award nominee as well as his work in ‘Fight Club’, ‘American History X’, and more. Therefore, it should have been a no-brainer that he would sign for other movies. However, most fans do not remember that ‘The Incredible Hulk’ was part of the MCU, especially because Edward was replaced by Mark Ruffalo. Here’s what happened.
1. The actor and the studio are both stubborn
It’s no secret that studios tend to want things a certain way, and the same goes for some actors, so to fully understand why Edward was fired, you need to know that both studio and man had difficulties. The actor is known for choosing to change things up if he does not like something about his role. During the shoot of ‘Red Dragon’, he decided the script was not up to the part, so he wrote some for himself and Anthony Hopkins.
He did not want to star ‘The Italian Job’ despite his contract with Paramount, and they threatened to sue him until he did it. Finally, he used his status to change things in ‘American History X’ against director Tony Kaye’s wishes. Marvel Studios has also had their controlling moments. Since Kevin Feige’s era, they have had problems with several directors.
They fired Edgar Wright because they do not like his take for ‘Ant-Man’ and also Patty Jenkins’ ideas for ‘Thor: The Dark World’ earned her a boot. The studio tried to micro-manage everything regarding Joss Whedon’s ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, and the director fought for several scenes. Actor Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle in ‘Iron Man 2’ because the studio wouldn’t raise his salary.
2. ‘The Incredible Hulk’
This was the second movie in the MCU and Louis Leterrier, known for ‘Now You See Me’ and ‘Transporter’, signed on as director. Zak Penn wrote the script, but Leterrier was not happy with it; enter Edward Norton, who had initially rejected the role of Bruce Banner. Marvel Studios had him rewrite the screenplay, though he did not have a lot of freedom.
The actor did it in a month, and he was able to explore the mind of Bruce Banner better, so the dialogue was enriched as well. Things were going pretty well for both parties at the time. Furthermore, Edward Norton had previously done uncredited work for films like ‘Frida’, so the studio was moving along preparing to shoot the film and all the works.
3. Drama backstage
After shooting all the scenes, a feud started between Marvel and the actor, because the studio felt the film was too long and complicated. They were looking for more action sequences, and something more exciting for the audience at less of the time. Norton was not happy about this and went pure Hulk during a big meeting. Leterrier revealed that he was "screaming stuff and everything…. Edward's very vocal."
The actor hoped that he would have a lot more control in the creative decisions, as he had been promised, but Marvel was not having it, so they cut many scenes that were written by him. Norton wanted a film that explored the psychology of the characters and was 140 minutes long, but Marvel wanted an action movie that lasted 112 minutes. As a result, he only participated in a couple of promoting events.
4. The Avengers
At first, Louis Leterrier told MTV that he talked to Kevin Feige about including Norton in the rest of the films because he was great as Bruce Banner. Feige allegedly agreed, and it seemed like they were discussing a deal with the actor for the superhero team. His agent, Brian Swardstrom, also revealed that Marvel wanted him for the 2012 film.
According to Swardstrom, Edward had already met with Whedon. “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." However, when the news that Mark Ruffalo would be replacing Norton, fans wondered what happened.
5. Kevin Feige’s decision
The most important person in the MCU is not Robert Downey Jr. or Stan Lee, it’s Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who has also produced all the movies in the franchise. He is the real Nick Fury. Before The Avengers actors gathered for the San Diego Comic-Con in 2010, Feige revealed that Edward Norton was out of the lineup.
"Our decision is definitely not 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."
So, the producer said that Edward Norton was not at working with others and had to be fired. Some people blame Marvel for changing up the script he had written, but others have revealed that he was a diva during the whole process of making ‘The Incredible Hulk’. Due to his behavior in other productions, it’s not hard to believe that he was not the best person for a collaborative movie like ‘The Avengers’.
6. The money
Most people believe that Kevin Feige fired him because he did not get along with others well, but there was another account that stated it was because of money issues. Feige denied this in his statement, but Norton’s agent was quick to come to his client’s rescue, revealing that it was a financial decision. He also shaded Feige, but his words did not do anything good for Norton. However, fans wondered of Marvel lied.
7. Introducing Mark Ruffalo
The studio needed to replace Norton, and Mark Ruffalo was shown as the new Hulk at the San Diego Comic-Con. Fans immediately fell for the actor, who brought a lighter tone to the character with his awkward, nerdy ways. Even Louis Leterrier said that he was the person he wanted for the role of Hulk in the first place.
He told The Huffington Post that he would have chosen Ruffalo for ‘The Incredible Hulk’, but the studio wanted a more recognized actor like Norton. However, he also revealed that it would have been nice to keep Edward for the rest of the films to maintain the continuity. According to The Independent, Edward Norton thinks that Mark Ruffalo is excellent in the role.
However, the actor did not help Ruffalo understand the role of Bruce Banner. While talking about his conversation with Norton, Mark said, “I was just kinda' like, 'Is this okay?'" Ruffalo explained, "'and he was all like, 'Man, all's fair in love and war.' And Planet Hulk and World War Hulk. He never gave me any feedback." In the end, that was the best choice because Ruffalo got to play his own version.
8. Edward Norton’s take on all this
His stand on his troubles with Marvel has changed over the years. In 2008, the drama regarding the shoots went public, and he said that things had been taken out of context by the media. However, in 2010, when it was revealed that he was out as the Hulk, he wrote a message on Facebook: "I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn't turned out as we all hoped."
Later on, in 2011, the actor got angry and fired back at Marvel, stating that it wasn’t because he had problems working with others, but it was all about the money. In 2014, he said, "My feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it." He is happy that he left, however, because he would have missed out on ‘Birdman’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’.
9. He is still not happy about being fired
It might seem like that actor was finally over those troubles, but in 2018, he participated in Bruce Willis’ Comedy Central roast, and while making fun of his friend, he shaded Marvel over the difficulties, "I tried to be like you. I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script."
He continued with, "I thought we should try to make one Marvel movie that was as good as the worst Christopher Nolan movie, but what the hell was I thinking?" This was funny for the audience because Joseph Gordon-Levitt from ‘Dark Knight Rises’ was there as well. It seems that time does not heal all wounds.
What do you think of Edward Norton's trouble with Marvel Studios? Which side do you believe more? Both sides sound fairly reasonable, but Norton does have a reputation, so he might have wanted too much authority. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who would have enjoyed seeing him in the rest of the MCU. See you next time!