Long-time Marvel and Avengers fans will know that it was not always Mark Ruffalo who played the demure-doctor-turned-angry-green-monster, the Hulk. Before Ruffalo took over the role as the Hulk, it was Edward Norton who played the role of Bruce Banner in the 2008 MCU film The Incredible Hulk, which is now streaming on Netflix.
Directed by Louis Leterrier, the film focuses on how Norton, as Banner, turns into the green, monstrous creature when enraged. It looks most closely at the origins of Hulk and the high exposure to gamma radiation which condemned him to his new life.
Based on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s comics, fans had a lot of expectations from the film that could possibly turn into a well-known franchise. However, a series of disruptions, including a low generation of revenue led to Norton losing his role as the Hulk.
After the film was released, it was alleged that Norton was difficult to work with and constantly insisted on tweaking the script and rewriting it to his own advantage. He was described as a “wolf in the hen house”. Norton did not deny the allegations and alluded to it while roasting Bruce Willis, “I tried to be like you. I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script,” he said.
When The Avengers was announced at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, the statement declared MCU replacing Norton due to creative differences. “Our decision is definitely not based on monetary factors,” they said, “but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”
However, his agent had refuted such claims, talking about how dropping Norton was a “financial decision”. His agent also slammed them for their “mean-spirited, unprofessional, disingenuous, and clearly defamatory” comments.
Norton, who is known for his epic roles in various films, including Fight Club, too, in his statement spoke up about the “private matter” that was “misrepresented publicly as a ‘dispute’ seized on by people looking for a good story”. He praised the director and claimed that their partnership was one that he thoroughly cherished as the “creative team has been terrific”.
When Ruffalo took over in the Avengers franchise, he was initially apprehensive about whether Norton would be amicable about his decision. Norton was, allegedly, very calm about it and dismissed it with a cool “Man, all’s fair in love and war”.
While we appreciate Norton as Banner, needless to say, Ruffalo, with his calm and collected voice, makes a bang on Bruce Banner who transforms effortlessly well into the angry big guy we all so adore and fear!