Don’t make Edward Norton’s agent angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
The Edward Norton/Avengers drama continues to unfold. Not hours after President of Production for Marvel Studio‘s Kevin Feige released a statement that the studio would be officially replacing Edward Norton as The Hulk in ‘The Avengers’ movie, Edward Norton’s Agent Ben Swardstrom retaliates with his own statement.
This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at Comic-Con and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project.
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. Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith.
This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings.
We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige’s mean spirited, accusatory comments. Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.
Our two cents? We are actually taking Edward Norton’s side on this. Granted Norton is known for being difficult to work with (a bit of a controlling ass-hat), Marvel reached out to him. He was ready and willing to be part of the movie. What the deuce? Why drop him for apparently no reason? If Norton was difficult during the making of ‘The Hulk’ and Marvel just didn’t want to deal with him another time around then why approach him in the first place? Second, even if Norton is a skeeve it’s a wicked low blow from Marvel to release the statement they did. Very un-classy of them to comment in such a mean spirited way. Why, even release a statement at all? They had enough dignity and respect to stay quiet about their reasons for replacing Terrance Howard with Don Cheadle as James Rhodes in Iron Man 2. Why flap their gums now?
Norton has yet to comment on the matter, but I’m sure will be hearing from him and many others very soon.