Ed Norton says his other Hulk movies would have been really good, actually
"Ultimately they weren’t going for long, dark and serious."
Ed Norton had his shot at playing the Incredible Hulk back in 2008, around about the time that the Marvel Cinematic Universe was first spluttering into life.
Norton, a noted comic book fan with a particular fondness for Bruce Banner and his alter ego, wasn't invited back to continue on in the green-tinted role, with Mark Ruffalo drafted in for The Avengers and a part of the MCU ever since.
Reports vary as to why, exactly, with some of the opinion that Norton's hands-on approach - the actor is rumoured to have conducted his own wholesale re-write of the script - ultimately cost him.
Indeed, when Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige announced that Norton was to be ousted, he didn't hold back in his statement:
"Our decision is definitely 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," said Feige back in July of 2010.
All very acrimonious. Norton, as it happens, wanted to stay on and explore the character further. In a new interview with the New York Times, the 50-year-old talked up his Christopher Nolan-inspired vision for two Hulk films that never were:
"I loved the Hulk comics," Norton began.
"I believed they were very mythic. And what Chris Nolan had done with Batman was going down a path that I aligned with: long, dark and serious. If there was ever a thing that I thought had that in it, it was the Hulk.
"It’s literally the Promethean myth. I laid out a two-film thing: the origin and then the idea of Hulk as the conscious dreamer, the guy who can handle the trip.
"And they were like, 'That’s what we want!' As it turned out, that wasn’t what they wanted. But I had a great time doing it. I got on great with Kevin Feige."
So there you have it, no regrets, perfectly enjoyable professional relationship.
Sure enough, Norton was quickly reminded of Feige's terse cut-off statement.
"Yeah, which was cheap," he noted.
"It was brand defensiveness or something. Ultimately they weren’t going for long, dark and serious. But it doesn’t matter. We had positive discussions about going on with the films, and we looked at the amount of time that would’ve taken, and I wasn’t going to do that. I honestly would’ve wanted more money than they’d have wanted to pay me.
"But that’s not why I would’ve wanted to do another Hulk movie anyway. I went and did all the other things I wanted to do, and what Kevin Feige has done is probably one of the best executions of a business plan in the history of the entertainment industry. As a Disney shareholder, you should be on your feet for what they pulled off."
You can read the full interview with Norton right here.