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Confirmed: Edward Norton Out Of THE AVENGERS... And Pretty Much Every Marvel Movie From Here On Out!

Beaks here...

Boy, this escalated quickly... On Friday, HitFix's Drew Mcweeny reported that Marvel Studios was looking for a new, "unknown" actor to replace Edward Norton as Bruce Banner in Joss Whedon's THE AVENGERS. At this point, my feeling, from what I was hearing from a couple of sources, was that this decision wasn't so much financial as it was based on lingering... discomfort after a... challenging collaboration on THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Yesterday, Marvel's President of Production Kevin Feige, in a statement sent to HitFix, seemed to confirm this feeling by stressing that this parting of the ways was not financial, but "rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members." This didn't go down well with Norton's agent, Brian Swardstrom. At all. Here's an excerpt of his blisteringly angry rebuttal to Feige's statement issued via -where else? - HitFix...
"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."
Read HitFix's story for the full letter, in which WME's Swardstrom claims negotiations were, up until recently, ongoing with Marvel, and that Norton was excited about reprising his role as Banner after a very positive meeting with Whedon. And, um, feel free to offer up your suggestions for Banner #3 - 'cuz Norton be gone.

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