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Edward Norton wanted a gritty, dark Hulk film in the way of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, and he believed Marvel was on board. Turns out, they were not. The Oscar-nominated actor opened up about his split with Marvel in a New York Times profile published Monday.
When Norton was approached to star in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, he pitched not one, but two films, he told the Times.
“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,” Norton said. “And they were like, ‘That’s what we want!’ As it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted.”
Still, Norton said he had a “great time” doing the film, and got along well with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. That was until Feige released a statement in 2010 that said Norton would not be in Avengers, and took a shot at the actor for apparently being difficult. (“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 castmembers,” Feige’s statement said.)
“Yeah, which was cheap,” Norton said. “It was brand defensiveness or something. Ultimately they weren’t going for long, dark and serious. But it doesn’t matter.”
He continued, “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.”
Norton maintains there was no fight between himself and Feige during production.
“I’m saying that Kevin had an idea of a thing that you could do, and it was remarkable,” he said. “Now it didn’t happen to be on a tonal, thematic level what I wanted to spend my time doing.”
Norton also recalled his comments during the Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis last year in which he seemingly took a shot at Marvel. He told the Times, he was actually taking a shot at himself.
His joke was: “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.”
Norton said of the quip, “This is a joke making fun of myself but they’ll turn it into, like, ‘Edward takes a dig at Marvel.’ No, I’m taking a dig at myself at a roast. People have to grow up.”
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