- Stuntman Terry Notary reveals that Edward Norton lacked interest in CGI shooting for his Hulk performance, contrasting him to Tim Roth.
- Norton’s casting as Hulk faced initial doubts, but he injected energy and humor into the role compared to Eric Bana. However, some felt he lacked depth like Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.
- Norton’s disinterest on The Incredible Hulk set further proves he was the wrong choice for the role, especially considering director Louis Leterrier’s original preference was current Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo.
While already only having one outing in the franchise, Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk tenure gets a scathing new insight from a stuntman on the project. The second installment in the long-running Marvel Cinematic Universe starred Norton as Bruce Banner as he is pulled out of hiding in the hopes to cure his condition of transforming into the Hulk, only incidentally helping the US government’s efforts to weaponize his abilities. Though scoring generally positive reviews from critics, The Incredible Hulk remains the lowest-grossing MCU movie to date, with Norton being replaced by Mark Ruffalo beginning with 2012’s The Avengers.
Included in Joanna Robinson’s MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios (via The Direct) is an interview with actor and movement coach Terry Notary, who’s worked across various MCU projects, including The Incredible Hulk. In discussing his time on the 2008 movie, Notary revealed Norton’s lack of interest in participating in the CGI shooting for his Hulk performance, negatively comparing him to Abomination actor Tim Roth, who he praised as “quintessential” in his involvement. See what Notary shared below:
[Norton] wasn’t really engaged, as far as the Hulk stuff goes, unless he was transforming from himself into the Hulk. He was not very present through the whole thing. [Roth is] one of those quintessential actors that likes to be involved, wants to make sure that he’s going to look good and his character’s going to look good.
Norton Further Proves To Have Been The Wrong Hulk Casting
At the time of the movie’s release, there were some initial doubts about Norton’s Incredible Hulk casting, with many uncertain of his potential in a blockbuster superhero production after primarily focusing on acclaimed dramas over the years. Though he scored some positive reviews, the majority of them were comparing his performance to that of Eric Bana’s from the preceding Hulk movie, with some believing him to have injected better energy and sense of humor into Banner. Even still, some reviewers ultimately felt he lacked the same sense of depth as Robert Downey Jr.’s beloved work as Iron Man.
In the decade since his recasting, a variety of reasons have been given for why Norton was not brought back as Bruce/Hulk for the MCU crossover The Avengers, with the actor frequently stating it was his choice and did not care to be associated with the character. Other reports have claimed that Norton was vying for further creative control over the character in the larger franchise plans, having already done uncredited rewrites on the 2008 movie, with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige reportedly not wanting to continue with the actor because of this.
Regardless of which the case may be, Notary’s reveal of Norton’s disinterest while working on The Incredible Hulk seems to further prove he was ultimately the wrong choice for the role. Interestingly, the movie’s director Louis Leterrier even previously stated that Ruffalo was always his first casting choice, with Marvel pushing for Norton instead before electing to go back to the current franchise star. Given Roth remains one of the few holdover stars from The Incredible Hulk aside from William Hurt’s Thunderbolt Ross, set to be recast with Harrison Ford for Captain America: Brave New World and Thunderbolts following the actor’s death, and Liv Tyler’s Betty Ross and Tim Blake Nelson’s The Leader in the former sequel, it’s clear not every casting choice for the 2008 movie was a poor one.
Source: MCU: The Reign of Marvel Studios (via The Direct)