The notion that volatile old Edward Norton might be throwing a tizzy fit about artistic issues on Marvel’s summer Hulk reboot has tickled many a headline-writer’s fancy, and the actor’s eliptical ‘advanced statement’ to Entertainment Weekly – approved by Marvel and Universal – seems to be a fairly non-informational exercise in damage-limitation. Norton declares himself a great fan of the original Hulk comic strip, but provides little background on the dispute between himself and Marvel.
Though shooting of the second big-screen version of the popular comic strip was said to have gone smoothly – with Norton co-writing and co-producing as well as playing lead protagonist Bruce Banner – hitches apparently developed in post-production regarding the tone and length of the final edit. Norton is said to have favoured a 2hr 15m cut of the $150,000,000 production, but Marvel – who were initially fairly burned at the box office by Ang Lee’s esoteric 2003 version ‘Hulk’ – are apparently determined that this time they will deliver bankable action and a commercial runtime.
Norton’s full statement – where he refers to what we can assume to be the dispute as a ‘healthy process’ – as reported to EW:
“Like so many people I’ve loved the story of The Hulk since I was a kid, so it was thrilling when Marvel asked me to write and help produce an altogether new screen incarnation, as well as play Bruce Banner. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and always loved the mythic dimension and contemporary themes in the stories, and I’m proud of the script I wrote. In every phase of production, including the editing, working with Louis Leterrier has been wonderful…I’ve never had a better partner, and the collaboration with all the rest of the creative team has been terrific. Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other’s opinions is the heart of filmmaking. Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a ‘dispute,’ seized on by people looking for a good story, and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself, which Marvel, Universal and I refuse to let happen. It has always been my firm conviction that films should speak for themselves and that knowing too much about how they are made diminishes the magic of watching them. All of us believe The Incredible Hulk will excite old fans and create new ones and be a huge hit…our focus has always been to deliver the Hulk that people have been waiting for and keep the worldwide love affair with the big green guy going strong.”