After a war of words erupted over the weekend between Marvel Studios and Edward Norton’s agent, Brian Swardstrom, over a decision to find a new “Hulk,” the actor who last portrayed the green beast has finally spoken directly about not reprising the role in the upcoming ensemble film, “The Avengers.”
In a post on Facebook on Monday, Norton, who played Bruce Banner and his alter ego The Hulk in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” thanked his fans for their support, following the news of the recasting.
“I am so appreciative of the outpouring of support from fans of the Hulk and the Avengers that I feel it would be rude not to respond,” Edward wrote. “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.
As previously reported on AccessHollywood.com, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige told HitFix.com that the studio was moving forward on “The Avengers” without Norton, noting that their decision was, “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.”
Norton’s agent quickly issued his own statement, calling Feige’s comments, “unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory.”
“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light,” the agent also said in his statement to HitFix.com.
As for Norton, he noted that the fan reaction to the news upset him.
“I know this is disappointing to many people and that makes me said,” he wrote on Facebook.
Norton, however, noted that the green monster is larger than life and will live on, even if he won’t be playing him.
“I grew up with [Bruce] Banner and Hulk and have been a fan of every incarnation,” he wrote. “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?” Norton concluded.
“The Avengers,” due out in 2012, will unite Marvel’s favorite comic-book superheroes, and will feature a star-studded cast including Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man”), Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”), Chris Evans (“Captain America: The First Avenger”), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Scarlett Johansson (“Iron Man 2’s” Black Widow).