Rumor Patrol: Joaquin Phoenix is The Hulk in ‘Avengers’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated January 24th, 2013 at 8:27 am,

The Incredible Hulk Rumor Patrol: Joaquin Phoenix is The Hulk in Avengers

Now that they have officially announced that Edward Norton will be replaced as The Incredible Hulk in the upcoming film version of The Avengers, Marvel Studios is hoping to find his replacement by the time the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con rolls around at the end of next week.

One of the potential candidates to play scientist Bruce Banner / The Hulk in the Joss Whedon-directed Avengers film is rumored to be none other than two-time Oscar nominee and (to put it politely) eccentric performer, Joaquin Phoenix.

Marvel essentially confirmed that The Hulk will appear in the Avengers movie at the beginning of this year and held talks with Norton to have him reprise his role for several months.  Despite the actor’s claims that his return would depend on fanboy support, Marvel’s final decision was seemingly affected by their previous clash with Norton over the 2008 Incredible Hulk film.

The idea that Marvel would go with Phoenix is, at first glance, a curious one – especially after they accused Norton of not being “an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” Phoenix does not have a reputation for being the “easy to get along with” type and his antics over the past year have left most people wondering if he’s even sane, or if his retirement from acting to pursue a rapping career was a bit of performance art that even Sacha Baron Cohen would envy.

Joaquin Phoenix Rumor Patrol: Joaquin Phoenix is The Hulk in Avengers

Phoenix's infamous appearance with David Letterman.

Phoenix was previously best known for his solid turns in independent fare like To Die For and Buffalo Soldiers – not to mention his Academy Award-nominated performances in Gladiator and Walk the Line.  The possibility that he could become involved with a comic book movie franchise would certainly be welcomed by fans that have been hoping to see him return to his acting career.

The artist would also be a relatively cheap choice for Marvel, who reportedly wants a low-cost performer to fill the role of the Hulk in The Avengers.  Phoenix will undoubtedly be denied the same degree of creative input that Norton was allowed with The Incredible Hulk, so it seems unlikely that he could prove too disruptive to the production process – regardless of his attitude on set.

Joaquin Phoenix playing a character who can suddenly lose it and erupt in an epic freakout… Nah, too easy ;-). We’ll just say that he is fully capable of playing a smart yet deeply troubled character and leave it at that.

Ultimately we’ll get confirmation of who will be playing the Hulk in Avengers during Marvel’s 2010 Comic-Con panels, which will be held next week. Be sure to stay tuned to Screen Rant’s Official Comic-Con page for the latest.

You can always hear the latest developments by following us on Twitter: @screenrant

The Avengers will arrive in theaters on May 4th, 2012.

Source: CHUD

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I’d welcome the choice and just cross the ole fingers.

    Admittedly I always liked Norton, but just not as Bruce Banner which was for whatever reason, unsatisfying. And thinking back on past recent movies, I’d say Phoenix really has proven himself as a super-talented guy even if he is half nuts.

    • ….and he looks like a “wrecked” Ed Norton.

  2. I vote for David Duchovny to take over.

    • He would be PERFECT!

    • That’s actually not an awful choice.

      Letting Norton go was a mistake, but since we are in the situation of replacing him Duchovny just made my personal short list along with Alexis Desnisoff.

  3. Well the only time Banner is really in the Avengers is when he is Locked up after being a threat, working on the formula that caused him to become a threat and locked up, or Just as the Hulk.

    Is the Avengers after Hulk 2? (yes) So he really cant be part of the Avengers as Banner.

    So capturing him and locking him up is the only recourse.

    Phoenix as 1 of the top scientist in the world locked in a plexiglas glass cage would work. Gassing him each time he got out of control.

    that is up until the point they need or recieve the raw power that is The Hulk.

    Now how they get in there? Well time will only tell.

    I like him.. :D

  4. Oh an dI forgot his next whacked line could be…

    Do I have a large Hulk in my hair?

    • oh HELL no, damn man….studios heads just DONT get it

  5. What a BAD IDEA. The guy is nuts. I think that this will not happen and that this is purely a FALSE rumor. This guy clearly is hard to work with, will want more money for any other types of flicks that he would be involved with, and is clearly not a working with other people type of actor.
    Norton is The hulk. You cannot replace the Hulk 3 times in a decade thats just insanity. Give Norton what he wants or give him a very limited role to compensate for the salary cut. I think he’d do it. The studio is just foolish here and everything is working out the way that I initially thought it would: THIS MOVIE WILL BE A HUGE PIECE OF JUNK

    • It’s not an issue of giving Norton what he wants anymore. Norton wanted to come back, he had a positive meeting with Whedon. This is all the studio, and now the head issued a daft statement and Norton’s agent replied in kind.
      Norton wont be coming back now, if there was bad blood before for whatever reason, its intensified ten fold now.

      I also agree that this movie isnt going to work.

      • It seems like we are getting more drama and entertainment from everything involving the movie but the movie themselves… Seriously, how do they think viewers will respond to the studios consistently making, what seems to me, arbitary changes that really screw up continuity and fan enthusiasm (sp). I am one of those that enjoyed The Hulk and thought it was a very well made movie. One of the reasons I like it so much was the amazing acting and chemistry between norton and everyone else. Replacing him just shows us that the studios are not making these movies for fans and profit.. but simply for profit..

  6. like I have said before, Michael C Hall

    • I like that!!!

    • Michael C Hall is more suited to be Matt Murdock / Daredevil if they ever give the rights back to Marvel Studios!

      The guy from District 9 / The A-Team would be a good Banner.

    • Or Michael J. Fox

      • fox has parkinsons, he’s dealing with that full time, its one of the main reasons he’s been pretty much MIA from film/tv

  7. I actually like Bana as the hulk the best. I think Ed Norton was a little cheesy.

    • mE TOO :-)

  8. OK, I can understand Marvel’s side and Norton’s side.

    Marvel’s side:
    Take for instance Ultimate Avengers the animated movie. Let’s say that is a basis for this movie (not saying it is, just stick with me.) In that movie Bruce Banner was in MAYBE 6-7 scenes. Is that worth paying the money Norton was probably asking for?

    Norton’s side:
    Have good faith talks with Marvel thinking everything is progressing only to have that douche Feige spill it to the media that you’re out.

    INK -
    he reports. you decide.™

    ™ 2010 Fox News. All rights reserved.

    • You’re probably right about Banner’s screen time. I’m sure Norton didn’t want a bit role in this epic movie and tried to tweek the screenplay to his liking the way he did in TIH. Kevin Feige probably lost all tolerance for him and booted him. I love Norton and especially as Banner, but I can’t imagine Marvel would drop him without good reason. I’m open to the idea of Joaquin Phoenix…another great actor.

  9. Steve Buscemi. Nuff Said.

    • i’d cast buscemi in/as anything tbh but Waaaah-keem? SERIOUSLY? this better be a rumour because it just seems like they’ve just written the names of a few cheap actors, put them in a bag and done a lucky dip, i just cannot see the thought process that would go into selecting joaquin phoenix to play bruce banner. on top of that he’d probably have a bunch of tantrums when people tell him he could never fill the mighty shoes of Eisenstein the Illusionist.

  10. After thinking about it more, I’d be surprised if Phoenix would actually accept a role like this. He’s been in some very successful character-focused stories where he takes lead or shares it with one other skilled actor/actress. I cant imagine him taking on a comic book character that wont have much screen time and has to share the limelight with a gaggle of other actors. Now add that’s he’s a really strange guy to work with, Im not seeing a director and cast wanting to put up any shenanigans.

  11. So in conclusion, Marvel got rid of an actor who reportedly is difficult to work with just to cast another who reportedly is mentally unstable???

  12. Ugh. I hope this stays a rumor, I wouldn’t like seeing him in the role at all.


    • me either, if that happens, im banning myself from watching any marvel films

      • I already vented a bit in another post on this thread (and I really hope that this IS just a rumor), but I’ve now come to the conclusion that Marvel Studios has been seriously infected with Disneyitis.

        This does not bode well for those of us who love Marvel Comics and have been waiting a long time to see our beloved heroes get the big screen treatment they deserve.

        • i agree stephie

        • HI Stephie:) i am glad I’m not the only female here..but so far you are the only one besides myself and you are spot on, sweety,Marvel seems to have the candy-assists and it will hurt the franchise trouble is they think just because they get some known star it will be a hit and it does not work that way.and I’m a marvel universe fanatic far the only choice i even remotely cautiously will accept is whats its name playing “CAP.America” and even then I’m antsy..sadly this ball is rolling downhill to dismal I am starting to believe these exams are listening to 5-10 year olds ..that the direction i think its going which will spell its demise..

    • Same here Vic.

      He doesn’t look like Banner at all he just isn’t right for the part…. To to mention guy is CRAZY

  13. If Joaquin Phoenix makes his “comeback” role as a comic book character, then I’ll know he’s crazy.

  14. Like I’ve been saying for years now, JOAQUIN PHOENIX WOULD MAKE THE PERFECT NAMOR,THE SUB-MARINER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE LOOKS JUST LIKE NAMOR and has that air of unpredictableness JUST LIKE NAMOR. Jaoquin’s performance in Gladiator just screams his ability to play as Namor. Now as far as the new Bruce Banner, the perfect actor who is not exactly A-list yet but not unknown but an incredible actor who LOOKS JUST LIKE BRUCE BANNER and already looks like a nervous,sweaty,greasy haired nerd,IS NONE OTHER THAN SHARLTO COPLEY!!! Sharlto Copley made me think of him as a nervous and jittery Bruce Banner in “Disrtict 9″. He also seems like the type of guy that wouldn’t mind taking a pay cut and also signing a multiple deal. I nominate SHARLTO COPLEY as the new Bruce Banner ftw!!!!!!!!

  15. I could go with Ulik’s picks, would work for me.

  16. Cheap actor, good playing a man on the run with intellegence = Wentworth Miller.

    He even looks like he has that deep down rage that is needed to play Banner.

  17. I will preface this question with a statement to clarify that this is in no way a personal attack…
    I can’t envision the Hulk with a hair lip!
    Get serious Marvel…its your property, but don’t my (or anyone else’s time) by puting out retarded outlandish rumors like this to maintain interest in The Avengers Movie…I believe the motto is “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!”, not “DISSASSEMBLE THE AVENGERS!”
    Don’t pull a FOX on us…You’ve gotten off to a good start, so build on it instead of thinking that youre already beyond being subject to suspicion, doubt, and ingnorance of fan feedback in the wake of three successful films. This is your chance to do it right on a major scale, and keep doing it right. Drop the ball, and we’ll be too happy to lump you in with FOX and SONY, and just stick to reading stories FAITHFUL to the Marvel universe that we’ve come to enjoy and save ourselves money while doing it…even expensive as they have become, comic books aren’t as costly as grand 3-D (UGH!!) films that ultimately dissapoint, and they last longer…think about that, would ya???

    • meant to say “Waste my (or anyone else’s) time…
      Typos due to disbelief and shuddering at this thread…

  18. Just bring him back! thats all there is too it! have a sit down!! talk it out! hash out the differences and everything. This should be something that brings the fans interest! This shouldnt be about contraversy! this is the last thing that Marvel needs now! And Norton would be Perfect for this role! there are ALWAYS going to be ‘heady’ actors and actors who think the world revolves around them! when it comes down to it, does he do a great job?????? If you say yes then HIRE HIM!!!!!!!!!!!! Rehire him whatever! He ultimately does what you ask, and he ultimately does a superb job!! Marlon Brando was known to be very difficult sometimes on the set, but when it came down to it her was AMAZING to say the least! Just get past the personality CRAP and just bring him back! The fans want him for the role! So, thats it! Dont take a chance bringing in some asshole Who fans might not like and start getting skeptical over the Avengers movie!

    I was super enthusiastic about this movie now I am having doubts! Please dont go there Marvel!

  19. *shudders at the thought of Joaquin Phoenix as Bruce Banner/Hulk …*

    The more I read about this, my enthusiasm about The Avengers diminishes considerably. What bothers me is that Marvel may hire an actor who’s basically a cute, young hottie who doesn’t have much in the way of talent. IMO, Marvel has really blown it with the dumping of Norton, because even though Eric Bana’s portrayal of Bruce Banner in Hulk was okay, he tended to be a bit too dull for my liking. I thought Norton did an excellent job in The Incredible Hulk, despite all of the controversy which surrounded it.

    Also, there’s the continuity issue. We had a continuity change in IM2 (when Terrence Howard was replaced by Don Cheadle), but I’m sure many had hoped that this would be the only change in continuity. Then … Marvel unceremoniously gives Edward Norton the heave-ho from The Avengers, and that wrecks the continuity even further.

    Now, I’ll be there for Thor and Captain America, but as far as The Avengers goes… despite the presence of RDJ and (possibly) Joss Whedon in the director’s chair, I don’t think I’m going to be there for this one.

    • Ahh I just thought of something…. Shudders….. Robert Pattinson as Bruce Banner… OH god how scary that would be.

      • mann daniel, why’d you hafta go and bring emoboy into this? hell why not daniel radcliffe lol im totally kidding by the way

  20. As much as I like the dude, he just wouldn’t fit for cryin out loud. I’ll welcome it if it does happen but as for now…… I could just see him Joaquin away from this :-) get it Joaquin sounds like ‘walkin’:-D

  21. It’s just a bad choice. I think Marvel is really starting to screw with the chemistry and good will they have built up with their first three films. Replacing a supporting character like Terrance Howard was one thing but to replace one of the original characters this late in the game is being somewhat reckless and irresponsible. THe fans overwhelmingly want Norton so give them Norton. Let’s break this down financially from the average comic book movie fan.

    I spent 30.00 to see the three films from Marvel studios.
    I purchased the first two DVDs and will definitely buy IM2 at an average cost of 22.00 so that’s 66.00.
    I have merchandising from all three films that has run into the hundreds of dollars.
    I buy the comic books monthly at a cost of approximately 100.00/month.

    I will continue to support these movies IF Marvel Studios has the foresight to give FANS LIKE US WHO SUPPORT THEM WHAT WE WANT. This is for Marvel-do the right thing and bring Norton back for the people(fans) who have been supporting your company..DO IT FOR THE FANS!! Put Norton back in the mix or you loose my support for an Avenger(s) or future Hulk movies..Bottom line..I’ll spend my money on the DC brand instead as they are moving forward in a positive way as well.

    • green, they dont really care about what fans want, sad to say, its a damn shame too

      • Like I said… the Disney way of thinking (do it on the cheap as much as possible and forget about what the fans — as well as the mainstream audience — really want to see) has infected Marvel, and it’s one of the unfortunate side-effects of Marvel’s marriage to Disney.

        At this stage of the game, it’s all about money, not who’s the best actor who can pull off the role. I read Norton’s Facebook message to the fans at the end of the article. I think he’s a class act.

        • ive always liked norton, just a damn shame the honchos at marvel have their heads up theirs buttocks’s

  22. This prove marvel is a trash picker joaquin phonix has screwed his life just like robert downey jr used to do but at least robert he refresh himself before making his iron man debut but is joaquin really wants to comeback to hollywood?
    I rather want marvel to called edward norton back

    • he can be a rapping hulk lol

  23. I like the idea. I thought Norton lacked charisma. Besides, remember what you all thought when Heath Ledger or Robert Downey Jr. were cast in what are now considered their greatest roles. I think he’ll be able to capture the old ’70s TV show attitude much better than Norton, who just put on a worried face and passed it for being “troubled.”

  24. Are you kidding me?? The one who playing in The Gladiator as Bruce Banner/The Hulk? WOW! What do you think of this guy playing dual ego who have massive strength?

  25. Why don’t the just go ahead flush it all down the toilette these execs have no idea what they are doing.I am agreement with Anthony and from what it looks its seems it just keeps getting worse and worse..sad and sickenng..

  26. I just can’t believe this…. Ugh I mean I really have no issues with Phoenix but as Banner? I don’t think so.. Marvel has to have people screening all these boards on the web to see what public opinion is about this and all I can hope for is that they’ll change it back (Unlikely I know, but I can hope) This is just outright horrible news, I’m still getting over it and I’m really losing trust with marvel so I just don’t know if I’m gonna see the avengers if they’re going to keep associating themselves as a company with failures like this.

  27. I think someone like Adrian Brodey would pull of the look, But definatly not Phoenix. (phoenix) fills the troubled role well but lacks the intelligent aspect the Banner exuberates. I couldnt bear seeing this if Phoenix gets the role, He appears like he just roled out of bed in every file he’s done. If not Brodey then someone like the guy who played spoke in the new Star Trek.

  28. I love Phoenix. He’s an amazing actor and I’m sure he would do just fine in the role. However I see where the rest of you are coming from. I haven’t really read the comics…I’ve just seen the movies. I’m pretty sure I’d be shaking my head too if I spent all that time reading the comics and then Marvel picks someone who I think wouldn’t really fit the role. I honestly get it.

    And I thought the whole “rap” career thing was for a mockumentary he did. I didn’t actually think it was real, but just an act.

    • naw, i just think he went off his rocker

  29. Nothing against Joaquin but, NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!