Edward Norton says 'Avengers' exit is disappointing
"I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn't turned out as we all hoped," Norton said on his Facebook page on Monday. "I know this is disappointing to many people and that makes me sad. But I am very sincerely grateful to Marvel for extending the offer and even more so for giving me the chance to be a part of the Hulk's long and excellent history."
Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige told the website HitFix.com on Friday that the decision to recast the role, which Norton played in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, was "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, he said. "We are looking to announce a name actor who fulfills these requirements, and is passionate about the iconic role in the coming weeks."
Norton's agent, Brian Swardstrom, called Feige's comments "offensive," saying that Marvel had made Norton a financial offer and negotiations had started, but a Marvel representative last week said the studio had decided to go in another direction with the part."
The Avengers, which is based on the Marvel comic book series about superheroes, including Iron Man, is set for release on May 4, 2012, according to preliminary cast lists. Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon is listed as the director of the project, and brings back Downey Jr. as Stark and Iron Man.
Samuel L. Jackson is listed as Nick Fury, which he played in both Iron Man films, and Chris Evans is listed as playing Steve Rogers, who is superhero Captain America. Scarlet Johansson is also said to reprise her Iron Man 2 role of Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow.
Another superhero character named on the cast list for The Avengers is Thor, who Chris Hemsworth plays in a movie by that name, set for release on May 6, 2011 and which was teased after the credits of Iron Man 2. Hemsworth has not been confirmed officially to play the part in The Avengers. In Thor, Natalie Portman stars as Jane Foster.
Norton has starred in films such as the iconic 1999 movie Fight Club with Brad Pitt as well as The Italian Job in 2003. Eric Bana starred in a 2003 movie about The Incredible Hulk, simply called Hulk.