Edward Norton voices his frustrations with Marvel Studios over The Incredible Hulkscript. While Marvel Studios is typically viewed favorably for their string of hits, they experienced plenty of growing pains early on. One of the greatest examples came with The Incredible Hulk. The movie featured Norton in the leading role of Bruce Banner and was directed by Louis Leterrier. It hit theaters just over a month after Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, it wasn’t an easy road to get to the release.
Norton agreed to take on the film after meeting with Leterrier and only once Marvel agreed to let him rewrite the script Zak Penn had constructed. That rewrite came shortly before filming began, but once editing began, the film continued to remove most of the scenes that Norton specifically vied for. Ten years later, and Norton’s still taking shots at Marvel for it.
Norton was one of the many roasters at the Bruce Willis roast this past weekend and used the stage to call out Marvel for what he feels was a bad script for The Incredible Hulk. As shared by THR‘s Ryan Parker, Norton addressed his difficult behavior throughout the production process by saying, “I wanted a better script.”
The script was and always has been at the center of the disconnect between Norton and Marvel. It is understandable why Norton would be upset over the process considering what he was supposedly promised – lots of creative freedom and input. Making matters only worse was when, after letting Norton and Leterrier shoot these scenes, Marvel wound up cutting most of them from the film. Based on the final product, the WGA did not award Norton writing credit on the film as Penn’s overall story largely remained intact, while Norton mainly just changed dialogue.
The frustrating experience for Norton and Marvel concluded with them parting ways after just a single movie. Mark Ruffalo took over as Bruce Banner in The Avengers in 2012 and has remained in the role for the last six years. Since that time, Ruffalo has appeared in four MCU movies overall and has become a major proponent in furthering performance capture technology. Norton, on the other hand, has largely stayed away from franchise films (with The Bourne Legacy being the lone exception), focusing on smaller independent movies and several Wes Anderson projects. There’s clearly still some bad blood with Marvel on Norton’s side, but since a Norton Cut of The Incredible Hulk isn’t ever coming, it’d be best for all parties involved to just move on.