Production on The Avengers hasn’t even started and there’s already major drama!
Edward Norton, who was slated to return in one of the lead roles of Bruce Banner in the film, has just been fired! The film also stars huge names like Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson. Production president of Marvel Studios Kevin Fiege released a statement to website HitFix saying:
“We have made the decision to not bring Ed Norton back to portray the title role of Bruce Banner in ‘The Avengers,’” Feige told the site. “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. ‘The Avengers’ demands players who thrive working as part of an ensemble, as evidenced by Robert, Chris H, Chris E, Sam, Scarlett, and all of our talented casts. We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks.”
But Norton’s rep responded with a statement of his own, saying:
“This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light,” the rep told the site. “Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in ‘The Avengers.’ He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at [Comic-Con] and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with [director] Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast.”
No word on who will replace Norton in the role, but insiders say the decision must be made quickly with ComiCon coming up this month!