Since 2012, Marvel fans have known Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner and the Hulk in a number of films, though he was far from the first actor to bring the character to life. In 2008, Edward Norton starred in The Incredible Hulk, who took the chance at the roast of Bruce Willis to poke fun at his failed attempt to star in an acclaimed action film.
"I tried to be like you," Norton shared at the event, as detailed by The Hollywood Reporter. "I did a big action movie called The Incredible Hulk. You know what went wrong? I wanted a better script."
The mockery didn't end there, as he went on to add, "I thought we should try to make one Marvel movie that was as good as the worst Chris Nolan movie, but what the hell was I thinking."
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has drawn in top talent in recent years, though the series and characters' success rate wasn't always guaranteed.
In 2003, Eric Bana starred in Hulk, which saw the success of 2000's X-Men and 2002's Spider-Man and hoped to capture the public's attention in a similar capacity. Director Ang Lee explored the inner workings of a man with such a dangerous and fractured psyche as opposed to focusing on the carnage the Hulk could create, resulting in a disappointing reception.
In Norton's film, the narrative focused more on the Hulk than on Banner, delivering the mayhem audiences expected but skimped on character development. One stipulation to Norton's involvement was having a say in the film's script and final cut, with the studio reportedly refusing to allow the actor to participate in that capacity.
In the aftermath, Marvel Studios issued a statement claiming that they weren't interested in Norton returning to the role for Marvel's The Avengers, citing that the films in the MCU relied on the collaborative process, which they felt Norton wouldn't play along with.
In 2014, Norton once again addressed the situation and explained how happy he was with the paths that unfolded.
"My feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed [The Incredible Hulk]," the actor shared with NPR. "And yet, I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films but then especially putting them out, and the obligations that rightly come with that. There were just a lot of things — I wanted more diversity."
The Hulk will next be seen in Avengers 4, hitting theaters on May 3, 2019.
Do you wish Norton had stuck with the MCU? Let us know in the comments below!
[H/T The Hollywood Reporter]