If Not Edward Norton, Who’s Hulking Out?

The big story of the weekend was Edward Norton’s removal from The Avengers. Initially reported as a rumor, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige confirmed the report but denied implications that Norton’s departure was a financially motivated decision, instead suggesting that Norton wasn’t the type of creative team player that Marvel required for the role of Bruce Banner. Norton’s representatives took severe issue with the implication, firing back with their version of the story. Needless to say, the situation isn’t pretty and Norton is most assuredly off the gamma-irradiated playing field.

But that doesn’t mean the Hulk is out of the picture. In fact, rumors are already circulating as to who could play the big green meanie in the upcoming superhero team-up flick. In the initial report of Norton’s removal from Marvel’s lineup, it was stated that he would be replaced by an unknown actor. Feige denied this by saying that “a name actor” would occupy the role of Banner, though he didn’t offer any further names in his statement released to HitFix. But the website itself offhandedly offered Sharlto Copley’s name once rumors of Norton’s departure were confirmed, leading some to wonder whether or not Copley is just a suggestion or if he’s actually in the running for the part.

Whether or not Copley really is a Hulk contender, he’s certainly not the only one in the mix. Devin Faraci at CHUD reports the interesting rumor that Joaquin Phoenix is Marvel’s pick for the Jade Giant, though even he warns that the potential casting should be taken as rumor for now. Given Phoenix’s high profile fall from grace in recent years — what with the crazy David Letterman appearance, among other things — it would certainly be interesting seeing him come back with such a major role. But if Robert Downey Jr. could do it with Iron Man, who’s to say that the troubled Phoenix couldn’t manage a similar career revival?

For now, both the Phoenix and Copley reports should be taken as rumors — interesting rumors, but rumors nonetheless. Assuming things play out according to plan — no longer a certainty given the high profile spat between Norton and Marvel — fans should know their new Hulk once Comic-Con rolls around.

Sources: HitFix & CHUD

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  • Dorwaystudios

    Sharlto Copley would be amazing in the role. Especially if they go with more of the “villainous” role for the Hulk in the Avengers film.

  • demoncat_4

    Who ever they pick for the hulk. needs to be strong enough to put up with fans upset that Marvel wound changing the game with the avengers and parted ways with Ed to be the hulk. though do not see Phoenix as the comic book movie type

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/MMGU2ESMLDEZGERR4VHYVO7CUA Equinox

    I have never understood why people get so hung-up on recastings like this one. I have never gone to a movie because a certain actor was in it. I go because I want to see the story that the movie 'claims' to be telling. I liked Ed Norton as Banner, but the Incredible Hulk worked for me because it had a cool story and an actual fight between the villian and hero (unlike Iron Man 2, which lasted a whole 30 seconds).

  • Repugnor

    Eric Bana?

  • VanGoghX

    I think the Joaquin “troubled” thing is an act. This video kind of confirms that. (Or it confirms that he's far more troubled than previously thought.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acEe-7rgeBs&feat

  • Mac Tíre

    I doubt that that Joaquin Phoenix could pull off Bruce Banner, not that he's a bad actor or anything but I just don't see it. Was I the only person who spent the whole of Ang Lee's Hulk wondering why ” weak, spineless, neurotic Bruce Banner” was being played by the biggest, beefiest, strongest-looking guy in the whole film? Eric Bana was more muscular than the Hulk!