In a remarkable case of a star being fired for being uncooperative before even being hired, Marvel Studios said over the weekend that it will not cast Edward Norton as The Incredible Hulk in the upcoming The Avengers . Norton, who played the role in The Hulk movie -- and reportedly clashed with producers over The Script -- was pilloried by Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios' president of production. "In a statement, Feige said, "Our decision is definitely not one based on monetary factors, but instead rooted in the need for an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members." SuggeSting that Norton has no intention of allowing the matter to fade away, his agent, Brian Swardstrom of WME, quickly lashed out at what he called Feige's "offensive statement." Swardstrom claimed that Feige had called him only two months ago to tell him that he wanted to cast Norton in The Avengers and that they discussed making the announcement at the ComiCon convention in San Diego, which opens on July 22. He said that negotiations on terms of a deal had been going on until last Wednesday when a representative called to say that Marvel had decided to go in another direction with the part, a decision, Swardstrom said, that "we accepted ... with no hard feelings." However, he said, "Feige's mean-spirited, accusatory ... statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory."

12/07/2010