A few days ago the New York Times reported that:
Mr. Norton and Marvel, which has the right of final approval on the film, have sparred in recent weeks over trims, among other issues, said studio executives involved, who asked to remain anonymous as they were not authorized to speak publicly.
Mr. Norton — who was hired to rewrite the script along with playing the lead — has made it clear he won’t cooperate with publicity plans if he’s not happy with the final product, these people said.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Norton said he had no comment. Mr. Maisel brushed off the friction as par for the course.
But now Norton has responded with a statement to Entertainment Weekly:
“Like so many people I’ve loved the story of The Hulk since I was a kid, so it was thrilling when Marvel asked me to write and help produce an altogether new screen incarnation, as well as play Bruce Banner.
I grew up reading Marvel Comics and always loved the mythic dimension and contemporary themes in the stories, and I’m proud of the script I wrote.
In every phase of production, including the editing, working with Louis Leterrier has been wonderful…I’ve never had a better partner, and the collaboration with all the rest of the creative team has been terrific.
Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other’s opinions is the heart of filmmaking.
Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a ‘dispute,’ seized on by people looking for a good story, and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself, which Marvel, Universal and I refuse to let happen.
It has always been my firm conviction that films should speak for themselves and that knowing too much about how they are made diminishes the magic of watching them.
All of us believe The Incredible Hulk will excite old fans and create new ones and be a huge hit…our focus has always been to deliver the Hulk that people have been waiting for and keep the worldwide love affair with the big green guy going strong.”
All this chatter about the film doesn’t bode well but it goes without saying that no-one should judge it until actually seeing the finished cut.
But the reality is that we now live in an age where summer blockbusters depend on long lead buzz (e.g. Superbowl spots, early footage) and making and releasing a high profile film like this can’t really be done quietly.
The other problem is that The Hulk is possibly the hardest Marvel character to get right. If you are being faithful to the comics you have to make him a large creature, but that doesn’t always translate well to the screen.
The 2003 version never really grappled with this problem. Although it had some good ideas (e.g. the split screen comic effects and the darker tone) it didn’t make Bruce Banner and the Hulk seem part of the same being.
Watching the trailer for this new film, it is a little worrying that they appear to have created a slightly darker version of the last Hulk. Plus, it also seems like Abomination (his nemesis in the film) is a bit too similar.
Maybe Universal should have waited a few more years (like Warner Bros did with the Batman franchise) before someone had a genuinely original way of rebooting the character.
But we shall see.