The Incredible Hulk trailer is on its way. It debuts Wednesday night at 9:56 pm on all the MTV channels and Spike TV and VH1. It gets shown Thursday at ShoWest. And it plays this weekend in front of Universal pics in the theaters. (But it’s also being teased on YouTube now.) I’m told the pic’s producer-screenwriter-star Edward Norton helped get the trailer ready last week and loves it.
But does he also love the movie? Not yet.
I’m told that’s because Norton and Marvel are clashing over how to cut the pic. Insiders say Norton was “promised tremendous involvement and access” after Marvel invited him into the core team to rewrite Zak Penn’s script. Says one insider, “There’s a lot of posturing going on between Edward’s camp and Marvel over how you edit the final version.” Sources also tell me that, starting last night and continuing at least throughout today, the actor will be holed up with Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel, Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige, and director Louis Leterrier to try to “reach an amicable resolution” to this $150+ million film feud.
Some insiders blame Marvel for not accepting Norton’s POV about the movie. “There’s a problem. Marvel won’t listen to Norton about the cut,” one source claims. But Norton has bonafides: he did that uncredited rewrite of Frida for his then girlfriend Selma Hayek and made his directorial debut on Keeping the Faith.
Some blame Norton, known to be prickly. Remember his problems with Paramount over The Italian Job and with director Tony Kaye over American History X? “Never let an actor write a script,” one insider commented. “Marvel made a mistake letting the wolf into the hen house.”
But I say that, after Ang Lee’s troubled The Hulk left audiences cold, The Incredible Hulk needs Edward Norton’s warm support if the pic’s gonna have any street cred. Some fear things blowing up to the point where Norton might not publicize the movie. And Marvel is petrified that the new Hulk may be judged “prematurely and unfairly.” (Or that bloggers will start claiming the Hulk franchise is cursed.)
Right now, Marvel is said to be about 4 to 5 weeks away from locking the movie for its June 13th release by Universal whose top execs haven’t yet seen it (“though some marketing guys have been working off a rough cut that’s in pretty good shape,” I’m told). “At this stage you always have discussions about what’s in the film and what’s not going to be in the film. Everyone’s very passionate, and Edward is very opinionated.” Said another source, “There is a very healthy exchange of ideas going on. Discussions now are even more heated. But some of Ed’s best movies have had this exact dynamic to them. Everyone’s in the process of figuring it out and working it out. But I expect it’ll all get resolved pretty quickly.”