Marvel Head Kevin Feige on That Controversial Edward Norton Statement and What Norton Thinks of Him Now

IronMan_Kevin-1.jpgCreative differences happen all the time in Hollywood, but it's rare to see a statement acknowledging them as candid as the one recently released by Marvel head Kevin Feige. While confirming rumors that Edward Norton would not reprise his Hulk role in the Marvel superhero mashup The Avengers, Feige implied that Norton was something less than a team player. Tonight, I asked him whether he regretted his candor.

Feige's statement (issued just thirteen days ago), read as follows:

"We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in the Avengers. 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. The Avengers demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks."

If Feige had to do it over again, I asked, would he have been quite as honest?

He hesitated before answering. "Yeah. I didn't think I was being all that candid, frankly. It's something that I think needed to be very clear [about]."

There was some fanboy friction when the news was announced, but Feige said that wasn't the main reason he wanted the statement to be so truthful: "No, no. It's because we were talking to other actors. I didn't want them to think they were in a contest."

In the days that followed that statement (and the days that preceded tonight's unveiling of Mark Ruffalo as Norton's replacement), Norton's agent issued a blistering response complaining that "this offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light." Norton himself was more conciliatory, stating "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." Feige would prefer to concentrate on the latter response.

"I think his statement afterwards was great," he said, "and there's no bad blood."


  • Captain Solo says:


  • TurdBlossom says:

    Actually, I'm surprised this sort of thing dosen't happen more often. From what I understand, Kevin didn't say anything that hasn't been said inside Hollywood boardrooms or whispered about on gossip blogs about Norton for years.

  • Tony Fark says:

    I've got a feeling Marvel Studios is starting to decay, Iron Man II wasn't as great as the 1st, news of lower budget Marvel movies being planned, this penny pinching is not a good sign. How much screen time would Norton have had anyway in the Avengers? 4-5 minutes tops.. he'd probably mostly be CGI anyway which a stuntman could have worn the motion suit.

  • bob says:

    Edward Norton has never been a team player and because of that I have a hard time going to any movie that he's in. After all, the tail doesn't wag the dog!

  • Your an Idiot says:

    Did you even RTFA? It has nothing to do with the Fans.. it has to do that Ed Norton is a prick and acts like a diva.. he isn't a team player and thinks hes the star of the show.
    Next time do some reading before opening you mouth.. will save us from your idiotic drivel, and save yourself from looking more moronic then you already do.
    I find it funny that all the supposed fans are all up in arms about Norton being cast out of the part, considering when he was cast they all did the same thing they are doing now with Ruffalo. They all said he didn't fit and was a poor cast choice. You fan-boys are more hypocritical than politicians.

  • mikes718 says:

    Exactly why did this statement have to be made, in just this way, Hollywood is town of lies and illusions why here and now was "honesty" the only response availible. It was a petty and vindictive thing to say and I'm sure those words will bite him in the @ss in the future with other actors. I don't know if Norton is good guy or a bad guy nor do I care but I do know that Kevin Feige is totally unprofessional and a small man in charge a big company. and that's too bad

  • MightyMad says:

    Care to give us a example where Norton wasn't a team player?
    Beside Hulk, of course...

  • Anon says:

    Norton got into a huge fight with Anthony Hopkins because he came to the set of Red Dragon with re-written script pages.

  • NortonIsADiva says:;jsessionid=B1C307F7965CDF48972FC22A3CE9360A
    After threatening Marvel that he would not promote the Hulk if he didn't get his way I don't blame them for cutting him loose. He is temperamental actor and is known to get into fights with directors/script writers/other actors if he doesn't get his way.
    It is not like casting of a character has changed over time; Bond, Batman, Superman, and many others have all changed the lead actors as the movies evolved. It isn't the actors that are important it is the Characters themselves.

  • Fixed It says:

    There I fixed it for you.

  • Matt says:

    Great examples because George Lazenby, Val Kilmer, and Brandon Routh all did great job reprising roles... It's usually only after multiple changes do they get things right, and then only due to reboots of the entire story line. Mark isn't being introduced as this stories Hulk; he's playing Norton's Hulk. Generally, changes of title characters mid continuity have turned out very poorly.

  • Andrew says:

    He also got American History X taken away from the director and recut the entire movie.
    Basically every movie Norton's done, there's a story about him trying to re-write, re-cut, or re-cast the thing. He's supposed to be a giant egomaniacal nightmare to work with.

  • bradley Paul Valentine says:

    I believe I read the director of American History X somewhat recently admitted that he was lost in editing the film and what Norton did was probably the right thing. Maybe Tony was just being politic, but it seemed to vindicate Norton. I either read that on Aint It Cool or here on Movieline when he was promoting his abortion documentary.

  • If Edward Norton is not gonna reprise Hulk... who will?

  • RTFA says:

    If you had even bothered to read the entire article you would already know the answer to that question. Next time do some reading, it will save you from looking stupid.

  • Florence + the Machines completely wrecked the Video Music Awards! Dog Days Are Over is such a happy song and it really is so much better than the junk on pop radio today.

  • joe says:

    What's wrong with a guy who's passionate about the job he is paid to do? are you not rewarded with praise when you go that extra mile in your job? it's what he loves to do and there is nothing wrong with that. compared to what Ang lee did to hulk Ed syphoned the drama aspect and made it more human in the conflict of bruce /hulk. it was some what boring with the first one, yet with norton's idea it made it painful to see bruce deal with his problem, and painful to see hulk destroy his life. that's what i love about the bruce banner story and what draws me to watch movies based on that concept. The destruction of a person. builds character