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Ex-Hulk Norton Could Learn from Franco

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 13, 2010 at 3:22AM

So Marvel has dumped Edward Norton as The Hulk. Their reason: he's not a team player. (Norton had assumed, per statements by Jon Favreau, that he was out of Marvel's super-hero ensemble The Avengers, but Marvel's Ken Feige did make Norton a low-ball offer--and the actor was interested--but Feige then decided to go another way. UPDATE: Mark Ruffalo is now in the running.) Here's Norton's Facebook note to his fans.
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Thompson on Hollywood

So Marvel has dumped Edward Norton as The Hulk. Their reason: he's not a team player. (Norton had assumed, per statements by Jon Favreau, that he was out of Marvel's super-hero ensemble The Avengers, but Marvel's Ken Feige did make Norton a low-ball offer--and the actor was interested--but Feige then decided to go another way. UPDATE: Mark Ruffalo is now in the running.) Here's Norton's Facebook note to his fans.

We all know Norton is a gifted actor-writer-director who likes to engage on his projects, even in the editing room. He's not alone. Many actors prefer to be in control of their movies. But actors-for-hire are being paid to deliver for the filmmaker. Or, if it's a Marvel franchise, Marvel.

Here's my advice to Norton: learn from James Franco.

Thompson on Hollywood

In a fascinating recent Q & A, Franco revealed that he is pursuing directing, art and various side projects because he figured out that he was making himself miserable as an actor trying to express himself when he really was supposed to be realizing someone else's vision.

Norton was great as Bruce Banner/The Hulk and might be playing the role again if he followed the same logic when he acts for hire. By the way, Norton's contributions to The Hulk were considerable. But clearly, Marvel weighed the pros and cons of bringing him onto The Avengers and decided it was easier to proceed without him. Did they need to bad-mouth him in the process? No.

This article is related to: Franchises, Genres, In Production, Hulk, Comics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.