With a lot of solid press coming out in the pass few months about the ever increasing Marvel superhero blockbuster The Avengers, it seems they have hit their first stumbling block, and boy is it a doozy.
After constant talks about A-class staff surrounding the film (including the latest that Joss Whedon from Buffy and Firefly fame would be taking the directors chair), they are now suffering due to the latest drama around one of the first members cast, Edward Norton, and his sudden disappearance from the film.
The story so far fans is that Marvel has let Norton go from reappearing as the character Bruce Banner/Hulk , a role he took on in The Incredible Hulk in 2008, in The Avengers, the 2012 slated film that will combine Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Nick Fury and Thor all together after starring in their own character driven films.
While the point he was not rehired is not ground-shattering news, Marvel took the unprecedented step in smashing the former Hulk when he was down. To announce that Norton would not reprise his role, Marvel’s Kevin Feige sent out a press release explaining their decision, and claimed “our decisions are not monetary based” but rather “rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members”.
Norton’s agent did not take this backhand lying down, sending out his own release stating the reaction was “offensive, purposefully misleading and an inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light” and “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… Mr Norton’s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.”
While Norton came out later and placed a light release stating how much he enjoyed the role and thanked the fans for their support, the damage was already done, and interestingly this may hurt Norton more than Marvel.
Norton already has a slight reputation on being difficult to work with (stories constantly floated around that he interfered in the editing in American History X to get more screen time), and while he has always been considered one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, it would explain why he has never exploded on the scene like similar actors like Robert Downey Jr.
Of course this little spat will also hit Marvel, and will further the rumour of the cursed role (this is the fifth time the Hulk has been casted, and the third since the rise in of superhero cinema), but now the focus will be who will be willing to take this role on in arguably one of the biggest films about to hit the silver screen.
The names have already be flying about, including former Doctor Who’s David Tennant and Joaquin Phoenix (whose “documentary” is hitting the screens in September and might show his last year as being the biggest Punk*d episode ever), but rumours are flying thick and fast that Mark Ruffalo will be next to step up to the green machine.
Personally I don’t see him working in this role, not because he is not talented enough to take part in the franchise (Ruffalo has the potential to be the next actor to hit it big), but rather the Hulk will be taking on a massive task, with plot details leaked out The Avengers will see Hulk be a villain , it might need someone who has the ability to carry such a role.
So who does have the ability to handle such a mammoth task? Looking left field, I personally think Adrien Brody should be seriously considered.
An actor who has recently cut his teeth in the action genre with Predators and proved to very superb, but can handle the emotion and drama needed for the Bruce Banner role controlling his emotions, he could be the best fit. Plus who wouldn’t want to see Downey and Brody hitting off against each other, as they are very capable in shining when need be, but falling into place in the esemble when needed.
Unfortunately, while Brody is a perfect fit, timing might be off. He is currently in line for three films before 2011 (Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Waco based on the ’92 Waco tragedy, and rumoured in Detachment), and with the line-up rumoured to be together in two weeks at the San Diego Comic Con, time is of the essence.
With so much talk appearing around Ruffalo taking the role, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the Avengers panel in the next couple of weeks, but unfortunately I think Marvel are missing landing the golden goose in considering Brody for the role.