[This post has been updated with new information. See below.]
It was a double-edged sword when Edward Norton (American History X and Fight Club) was cast as Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk.
On the one hand, the guy's a brilliant actor; arguably one of the best of his generation - up there with Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale in my opinion.
On the other hand, he's had a well-known (and publicized) reputation for being "hard to work with" - to put it nicely, ladies and gentlemen.
So it was only a matter of time before rumors surfaced about problems with Marvel Films' second attempt at producing a Hulk franchise.
According to a new article by Entertainment Weekly, Norton and director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) wanted a "longer, more detailed film." While Marvel wants a tighter (i.e. under two-hours), action-packed genre film.
Not surprisingly, Marvel got their way.
And now, Norton won't come out and promote the film.
Instead he's sent this pre-written statement to EW on the matter:
"Like so many people I've loved the story of The Hulk since I was a kid, so it was thrilling when Marvel asked me to write and help produce an altogether new screen incarnation, as well as play Bruce Banner. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and always loved the mythic dimension and contemporary themes in the stories, and I’m proud of the script I wrote. In every phase of production, including the editing, working with Louis Leterrier has been wonderful...I've never had a better partner, and the collaboration with all the rest of the creative team has been terrific. Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other's opinions is the heart of filmmaking. Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a 'dispute,' seized on by people looking for a good story, and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself, which Marvel, Universal and I refuse to let happen. It has always been my firm conviction that films should speak for themselves and that knowing too much about how they are made diminishes the magic of watching them. All of us believe The Incredible Hulk will excite old fans and create new ones and be a huge hit...our focus has always been to deliver the Hulk that people have been waiting for and keep the worldwide love affair with the big green guy going strong.''
It certainly doesn't help matters when the film is only two months away from release and we've seen little from it - aside from a trailer (recently unveiled to mixed fan reaction) and a one-sheet.
Screen Rant's own Niall Browne brought up a number of excellent points in his article earlier this week.
UPDATE: April 17th - Vic Holtreman
According to the oft-maligned but well-connected Nikki Finke, Marvel and Norton have settled their issues. According to an anonymous source:
"What people will see is Marvel's cut of the movie. This is not the Edward Norton cut by any means. His opinion is their cut is valid because probably it's going to make a lot of money. And, he recognizes that, if you're a businessman, that makes sense. But he would have released something a little longer, a little more character driven."
Apparently the "no promoting the movie" rumor got started based on his refusing an interview with Entertainment Weekly. I don't know why he decided not to interview with them, but I would think it's his prerogative to decide who he wants to interview with, or not. Finke believes Norton will be doing very little promotion for the film.
We'll just have to wait and see.