Since I broke the story of the feud inside the making of The Incredible Hulk, I thought I’d end the story, too. Edward Norton and Marvel Studios have “settled their issues” after clashing over how to cut the $150+ million pic, an insider tells me. “But what people will see is Marvel’s cut of the movie. This is not the Edward Norton cut by any means. His opinion is their cut is valid because probably it’s going to make a lot of money. And, he recognizes that, if you’re a businessman, that makes sense. But he would have released something a little longer, a little more character driven.”
Now remember that Norton was promised big involvement and access after Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel invited the actor into the core team to rewrite Zak Penn’s script. (See my previous, Ed Norton And Marvel In ‘Hulk’-ing Feud.) But, in the end, Marvel ignored Norton’s ideas about how to cut the film. (Even the film’s director, Louis Leterrier just told Entertainment Weekly that the duo campaigned for a longer, more detailed film while Marvel Studios wanted a faster, leaner one, and Marvel won. “I regret that [Marvel and Norton] didn’t come to an agreement where we could’ve all worked together,” the helmer said.)
A Norton insider insists to me that, despite his difficult reputation, the actor is not going to cause a public stink. Even though Entertainment Weekly [which kindly credits me for my initial scoop, unlike The New York Times] gives the impression that Norton is refusing to do publicity because he denied the mag an interview. Instead, EW was given only “an exclusive 257-word Norton statement” from his publicist humiliatingly vetted by both Marvel and distributor Universal.
“He’ll do stuff for the movie, certainly,” my insider insists. “He really does want people to see the movie and let it speak for itself.” Added a source at Universal, “Edward never does a lot of publicity anyway. But we understand he’ll do important publicity.” I bet he does next to none.
I’ve said before that Edward Norton’s warm support of The Incredible Hulk is vital if the pic’s gonna have any street cred. Now the movie’s core fans know that Marvel put commercial viability ahead of character development. It was always a risky gambit for Marvel to start self-financing its comic book movies. So, if this film disappoints (and considering this is a sorta sequel Ang Lee’s audience-dissed Hulk, that’s a real possibility), it’s all Maisel’s fault. As an insider put it, “Maisel is an ass. There’s truth in that statement.”