Rumblings have been going around that the dispute between Edward Norton and Marvel Studios is keeping the actor from working to promote The Incredible Hulk. Norton and director Louis Leterrier were arguing for a longer, more detailed film while Marvel Studios wanted a faster-paced one. What normally would have been a private creative dispute has become a public matter, according to Entertainment Weekly and as such, Norton hasn't been working to promote the film.
Leterrier said of the situation "It's as much Marvel's fault as it is Edward's. And my fault. It's everybody's fault! Or no one's fault, in a way. I regret that [Marvel and Norton] didn't come to an agreement where we could've all worked together."
Norton has a history for being a strong presence behind the scenes. "When you work with Edward, you are dealing with an actor/producer/director - someone who is passionate about film and cares about every project he does,'' says Bob Yari, who produced two of Norton's movies, The Illusionist and The Painted Veil. ''You have to be prepared. You are not dealing with an actor who's not going to have an opinion." In 1998 Norton even cut his own version of American History X when he felt like the director was taking too long to do so. And Marvel was aware of this aspect of Norton's career - they hired him not only to star in the film, but also to rewrite sections of the script and to serve as an uncredited producer.
When it came time to make the final cut of the film, the dispute occurred between Norton and Leterrier on one side and Marvel Studios on the other. Marvel wanted a film that came in under two hours with lots of action, while star and actor wanted a more detailed The Incredible Hulk that would run for two hours, fifteen minutes. What is normally a private matter was leaked to the press, and what was originally called a feud actually became one. "The press is what kept Edward and Marvel from talking to each other," Leterrier says. "[The argument] was nothing, but then it became something big."
Norton released the following statement regarding the film:
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.
The Incredible Hulk kicks off an all-new, explosive and action-packed epic of one of the most popular superheroes of all time. In this new beginning, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately hunts for a cure to the gamma radiation that poisoned his cells and unleashes the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk.
Living in the shadows--cut off from a life he knew and the woman he loves, Betty Ross (Liv Tyler)--Banner struggles to avoid the obsessive pursuit of his nemesis, General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt), and the military machinery that seeks to capture him and brutally exploit his power.
As all three grapple with the secrets that led to The Hulk's creation, they are confronted with a monstrous new adversary known as The Abomination (Tim Roth), whose destructive strength exceeds even The Hulk's own. And on June 13, 2008, one scientist must make an agonizing final choice: accept a peaceful life as Bruce Banner or find heroism in the creature he holds inside-- The Incredible Hulk.