Edward Norton has opened up about his short stint as the Hulk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his relationship with Kevin Feige, and what his future as the character would have looked like. Norton starred in The Incredible Hulk, the second movie in the MCU, but didn't return for a sequel or The Avengers, ultimately paving the way for Mark Ruffalo to take over as Bruce Banner. Now, Norton has discussed the situation in detail.
This came as part of a recent profile in honor of Edward Norton and his new directorial effort Motherless Brooklyn. To kick things off, Norton was asked if he thought his views on the movie business were destined to cause friction with the brass at Marvel. Here's what he had to say about it.
"Well, no. 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."
At the time, things were tense with the Hulk situation. At one point, Marvel Studios released a press release, in which, Kevin Feige said they wanted to find someone who "embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members" for The Avengers. However, Edward Norton goes out of his way to make sure it's clear he got along with Feige and respects his vision, while also calling that specific press release cheap.
"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."
Despite whatever creative disagreements existed, it's hard to argue against the results. The MCU has generated more than $22.5 billion at the box office since its inception. For what it's worth, The Incredible Hulk remains the lowest-grossing entry to date. Edward Norton refused to comment on whether or not he likes the MCU movies, but did clarify some comments he made, which were aimed at Marvel, during the Comedy Central roast of Bruce Willis.
"I'm not going to comment on that. I'm saying that Kevin had an idea of a thing that you could do, and it was remarkable. Now it didn't happen to be on a tonal, thematic level what I wanted to spend my time doing. Conflating that into a fight or a judgement is grotesque. Picking fights between other people for clickbait is grotesque. I'm not being hyperbolic. It's part of what's problematic in our country. We are letting ourselves be polluted by fake fights manufactured by other people for other agendas. Whether it's Russians manipulating us into intense arguments with one another over fabricated [expletive] or stupid entertainment journalism trying to get clicks.
It's like, I did Bruce Willis's Comedy Central roast, and I made a joke at my expense. I talked about how I tried to do what Bruce did and make a big movie but I was an idiot because I tried to make the script better. Here's the actual joke: '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.' 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."
Ultimately, the MCU has yet to have another solo Hulk movie, which has to do, in part, with a rights issue involving Universal. In any event, the circumstances surrounding this situation are far more clear thanks to these comments. Edward Norton seems to harbor no ill will toward Kevin Feige, at least not on the level it was made out previously. This news comes to us via The New York Times.
While the Marvel Cinematic Universe has come to a turning point in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, Marvel video games are trying to take things to the next level. Next year will see the release of two new games – Iron Man VR and Marvel’s Avengers – and new trailers for each of them debuted over the weekend during New York Comic Con.
In Iron Man VR, players step inside Tony Stark’s suit and face off against Ghost whom you may remember as one of the antagonists in Ant-Man and the Wasp, and in Marvel’s Avengers, you’ll be able to play as Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel. Check out some new gameplay footage below.
Iron Man VR Trailer
In the films, we’ve seen Tony Stark face the grim reality of his own technology turning against him when Ultron went rogue, and now we’re seeing a familiar character teach him that lesson in a new game. Ghost, a corporate hacker with a tortured past played by Hannah John-Kamen in Ant-Man and the Wasp is harboring a grudge against Tony in Iron Man VR, and it appears as if they’re responsible for breaking into Stark Tower and controlling Tony’s drones for nefarious purposes. Personally, I’m not crazy about the aesthetic of VR games like this, but it’s admittedly a much different experience watching a trailer from a distance versus donning a headset and getting immersed in the gameplay.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR arrives exclusively on the PlayStation VR platform on February 28, 2020.
Marvel’s Avengers Trailer
Marvel’s Avengers drew some scoffs online for its character designs after its initial trailer it must have been prohibitively expensive to secure the likenesses of all of those A-list film actors, but if you can put that aspect aside, it seems like it could be a lot of fun to dive in and inhabit these characters in a AAA game like this. And as this trailer reveals, Kamala Khan will play a major role in the action – not only as a character who tries to bring the Avengers together after a schism forms in the unit, but as a playable character who can smash her way through enemies with the best of ’em. This version of the character definitely has a “Tom Holland’s Peter Parker” sort of vibe here: she’s a young, idealistic fangirl who’s smart, capable, and may hold the key to why the Avengers were framed.
Marvel’s Avengers hits shelves on May 15, 2020 and will be available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Google Stadia. Finally, as a short bonus, here’s a behind the scenes look at how Kamala was implemented into the new game:
There is always debate when ranking Marvel films, but most agree on one thing: Thor: The Dark World is near the bottom. The actor behind the film's villain Malekith, Christopher Eccleston, has never been shy to voice his agreement. It seems he's continued to be a fan of the franchise, however, and had great things to say about the new creative team behind Thor: Love and Thunder.
When asked about his experience on Thor: The Dark World at New York Comic Con, Eccleston reiterated his earlier statements about having to be "in make-up for six, seven hours every day," which was something they did not tell him would be required up front. In fact, the Doctor Who actor is unrecognizable in his Malekith get-up, so Marvel really missed their opportunity to show off their prolific star. Something we'd love to see them remedy somewhere in their extensive slate. He had plenty of praise for his co-stars Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins and is also aware of the climate of comic book films these days, saying.
"I understand that some people love that particular film, and some of you actually like Malekith the naughty elf, so that's only my experience within it. But I know that people love the film and I accept that and I'm careful about it. I'm so diplomatic these days!"
Christopher Eccleston did briefly discuss his reservations about the film's tone, though. He said, "There was a lack of humor in the film, I felt... so shall we move on?" So, it's no surprise that he thought the third Thor-centric film, Thor: Ragnarok was "brilliantly written" by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle and Christopher L Yost.
Under the direction of Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok took a hard left tonally and character-wise for the franchise, catapulting the Asgardian from the myth-based Shakespeare-in-the-park guy to the hilarious and complex hero we see in Avengers: Endgame. Eccleston noticed this shift and said he would consider teaming up with Marvel again under similar circumstances.
"If it was the guy[s] who wrote the third... I'll do that."
Although Malekith has gone down as one of the more forgettable villains, it didn't slow down Eccleston at all. He returned to television for a slew of projects including Safe House, The Leftovers and The A Word. He can most recently be seen in a handful of films like Where Hands Touch, Dead in a Week Or Your Money Back and the latest TV movie iteration of King Lear.
Related: Marvel Phase 4 D23 Trailer Teases Future of the MCU
While his fellow original Avengers retired their suits, Hemsworth will be returning as Thor Odinson in Thor: Love and Thunder alongside Tessa Thompson Valkyrie and director Waititi. Natalie Portman Jane Foster is making her return to the franchise to pick up the hammer as Mighty Thor, as is Kat Dennings as her babbling best friend. So, Marvel, we wouldn't be mad if you could squeeze in an Eccleston too. This news comes to us from NYCC via Radio Times.
Back before Mark Ruffalo became Bruce Banner and his big, green alter ego the Hulk in the MCU, Edward Norton briefly inhabited the role in The Incredible Hulk. Norton was replaced by Ruffalo for The Avengers, and there have been rumblings that the actor didn’t get along with MCU head honcho Kevin Feige behind-the-scenes. In a new interview, Norton opened up about his Hulk experience, revealing he pitched Marvel on not one, but two Incredible Hulk movies, adding that Marvel told him they loved his ideas – until they changed their minds.
In some alternate universe a multiverse, perhaps, Edward Norton is still playing the Incredible Hulk. But Norton’s time as the Hulk was short-lived, and enough time has passed that he’s able to look back and reflect on things. Speaking with the New York Times, Norton revealed he pitched Marvel on two dark and gritty Hulk movies – films in the same tradition as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series.
“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,” said Norton. “And they were like, ‘That’s what we want!’ As it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted.”
Norton also talked a bit about his bumpy relationship with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. “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,” Norton said. “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.”
When Norton was replaced with Ruffalo, Feige released a statement saying: “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 castmember.”
Norton said he thought Feige’s statement was “cheap”, adding: “It was brand defensiveness or something. Ultimately they weren’t going for long, dark and serious. But it doesn’t matter.”
However, the actor adds that he has no problem with Feige and that the two just had a different approach to the material. “Kevin had an idea of a thing that you could do, and it was remarkable. Now it didn’t happen to be on a tonal, thematic level what I wanted to spend my time doing.”
While I like Norton as an actor, I think Ruffalo is a much better Banner/Hulk, so it all worked-out for Marvel in the end, and Norton seems content to be doing his own thing.
The world hasn’t yet recovered from Joker‘s various controversies or its incredibly successful box-office take the best October opening weekend of all time, but Edward Norton is here to shake up your little comic book movie loving world some more. In a new interview with The New York Times, the Birdman actor gets real on a number of subjects, including his love of ride-sharing. Seriously, he calls the NYC taxi system “a cartel” that’s “run by crooks,” and he doesn’t hold back on that one. Oh, and he says some wild stuff about his previous hopes while playing Bruce Banner for Marvel Studios.
If Norton would have had his way, he would have starred in at least two more Hulk movies, both of which would have been super dark. As dark as The Dark Knight and then a followup, too? Yes, he goes there, and Norton outlines his rationale and claims that Marvel was initially into it, but then something happened:
“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.”
Norton has previously hinted at this idea during of all places his Comedy Central roasting of Bruce Willis. At the time, Norton stated that he once wanted to make something “as good as the worst Chris Nolan movie,” so I guess we’re getting more elaboration now. Does anyone really want a super-dark Hulk, though? Bruce Banner’s Avengers arcs where he got all existential and full of self-loathing weren’t as enjoyable to witness for an audience that seemed to prefer his beautifully comical Thor: Ragnarok and smart-Hulk Endgame appearances more.
However, Norton’s full New York Times interview is both an engrossing and wide-ranging read. Check it out here.
With tepid film reviews and only $263 million at the worldwide box office, the Edward Norton-starring “The Incredible Hulk” is largely regarded as the rare flop in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Norton had a hand in rewriting Zak Penn’s screenplay and was rumored to be uptight during production as his desired tone and narrative changes got away from him. Norton reflects on “The Incredible Hulk” experience in a new interview with The New York Times. One of the big revelations is that Norton pitched to the studio a two-film “Hulk” movie in the same tonal vein as “The Dark Knight.” Norton says the studio originally championed his idea only to fall back on their word in the end.
“What Chris Nolan had done with Batman was going down a path that I aligned with: long, dark and serious,” Norton said. “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.”
“The Incredible Hulk” opened in theaters in June 2018, just a month after “Iron Man” kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe to rave reviews and strong worldwide box office numbers. The “Hulk” reaction put a potential wrench into Feige’s plan for an interconnected movie universe. For the team-up movie “The Avengers,” Feige dropped Norton and hired Mark Ruffalo to play Bruce Banner/Hulk. Marvel’s statement on Norton’s exit read: “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 cast members.”
“Yeah, [that] was cheap,” Norton told The Times reporter David Marchese about Marvel’s statement. “It was brand defensiveness or something. Ultimately they weren't going for long, dark and serious. But it doesn't matter.”
“The Incredible Hulk”
Norton added, “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'm saying that Kevin had an idea of a thing that you could do, and it was remarkable. Now it didn't happen to be on a tonal, thematic level what I wanted to spend my time doing.”
Next up for Norton is “Motherless Brooklyn,” which he wrote, directed, and stars in. The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and will next screen on the closing night of the New York Film Festival. Warner Bros. is releasing “Motherless Brooklyn” in theaters November 1.