At the moment, Hulk’s character is immediately linked to Mark Ruffalo. However, before him, actor Edward Norton played Hulk in the 2008 movie, The Incredible Hulk. Even though his run as the superhero was limited to one movie, fans still love him and, one could say, were disappointed to see the actor leave so soon.
In an interview with Joe Rogan, Edward Norton reflected on his time as Hulk on the sets of The Incredible Hulk. The two talked about how the entire world knows Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth as their superhero characters. Edward Norton appeared rather disappointed that he didn’t get to brand himself as Hulk through multiple projects, just like the two actors.
Edward Norton’s Short Run as Hulk
Back in 2019, The Joe Rogan Experience welcomed Edward Norton onto the podcast where they discussed his run as the angry superhero, Hulk. Host Joe Rogan asked his guest if he was ever worried about being branded as Hulk just like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth will forever be linked to their roles as Iron Man and Thor, respectively.
Norton replied stating that being branded as something depended on the number of movies you did as that particular character. He replied to Rogan’s question with, “I think it depends on how many of them you do.”
As we all know, Norton’s run as Hulk ended with the movie it began with – The Incredible Hulk. On the other hand, Downey and Hemsworth have time and again reprised their superhero roles. While Downey has three Iron Man movies to his name, Hemsworth has four, to date. Not to mention the countless appearances the two had in other MCU films. Even Mark Ruffalo has been seen as Hulk in numerous MCU projects with the recent one being She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
From the interview, one could see just how interested Norton was in playing the character. In the conversation with Rogan, fans can see the American History X actor completely geek out over the comic books and his love for Bill Bixby’s Hulk. For Norton, Bixby is “it” as Hulk. He certainly was invested in the role!
Why did Marvel Let Go of Edward Norton?
Norton not only contributed his acting skills to the movie but also played a part in writing the script for which he was not given the credit. As for why Norton’s time with Marvel came to an end so quickly, there are a lot of varying opinions. While some cite creative differences between the Studios and the actor, other reports mentioned Marvel wanting to have more control over the character.
President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige himself released a statement addressing Norton’s dismissal where he first and foremost said that there were no monetary issues. The Studios wanted an actor who could creatively collaborate with the rest of the team. This backed the speculation that Norton had creative differences with the team of Incredible Hulk.
“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…We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfils these requirements and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming films.”
Norton’s agent dismissed Feige’s statement calling it offensive and stating that it painted the actor in a negative light. Norton, however, issued a statement where he said that he was proud and blessed to have played Hulk adding that Hulk’s character was bigger than anyone else. Although in a taping for The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis, he mentioned that he wanted a better script.
Whatever the case, Norton’s Hulk is loved by many and some would even say that this version of the green superhero was the one that truly captured the essence of Hulk and Bruce Banner. It’s a shame fans didn’t get to see more of this portrayal.
The Incredible Hulk is available to stream on Netflix.
Source: The Joe Rogan Experience