News: Update to the Marvel/Edward Norton story

Edward Norton’s agent, Brian Swardstrom, has responded to Marvel’s claims that Norton is uncooperative and unable to collaborate with large ensembles. Read his entire statement below:

This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light. Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in The Avengers. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at ComiCon and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast. Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings.

We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige’s mean spirited, accusatory comments. Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in the Avengers cast, many of whom are personal friends of his. Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.

Brian Swardstrom
WME

As I wrote in my initial story on this, Marvel took aim at Norton’s integrity and his reputation, and Norton’s agent was totally justified – at least in a business sense – in responding as he did. We may never know if Norton really is difficult to work with, but his agent had to defend him. From an audience standpoint, Norton will be missed; he was excellent in The Incredible Hulk and everyone was looking forward to seeing him join Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and the rest of The Avengers. Marvel appears to have failed on two counts.

Source: Hitfix

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