First let me preface this by saying I love Edward Norton. It’s a non-sexual manly admiration for an actor who is exceptional at performing on screen. Sure, I’ve only had limited exposure to the man due to public appearances and movie roles, but I feel like Norton and I could be blood brothers.
Let’s put it this way, if Edward Norton came to my house in bloody clothes with a recently fired gun and said, “Hide me,” well, then I would look right at him and say, “You can count on me, Edward Norton.” Because we’re not on a first name basis yet.
Then once he was done crying and telling his harrowing story, I would ask him, “So what’s the deal with this Incredible Hulk dispute at Universal?” Because we’re pals, but I’m a journalist first.
But it didn’t go down that way, and instead Edward Norton is refusing interviews with Entertainment Weekly by sending a prepared statement about the behind-the-scenes drama during the editing of the film. I’m going to break down the 257-word statement piece by piece because well, I’m incredibly bored.
“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.”
That’s strange, because as a fan of the Hulk myself and also a long-time fan of Edward Norton, I too was excited when Marvel announced that he would play Bruce Banner. Which is why it’s so disappointing that the pairing of these two has so far been a complete disaster. You can only improve on the Ang Lee version of the Hulk from four years ago, so how do you mess that up? Let’s find out.
“In every phase of production, including the editing, working with Louis Leterrier has been wonderful…I’ve never had a better partner…”
Leterrier and Norton are gay together, let’s move on.
“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.”
Every good movie? How about every movie? Ever. There hasn’t been a movie in the history of film (and I’ll venture to say for at least another hundred years until one man directs a bunch of robots) that didn’t involve collaboration. From YouTube videos to summer blockbusters, there’s going to be more than one person inputting ideas. Which is why there’s a director. Because after all the input is gathered, it is the director’s job to realize his vision for the story during all aspects of production. So why are we hearing from executives and script writers and one of the actors? Why not bring out Leterrier to defend what should have been his own creation.
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.”
Let me get this straight. Norton is saying, “I absolutely refuse to let this ‘dispute’ distract people from the movie.” Which is what it already has. Look, I’m writing about this instead of the latest trailer, clip, photo, viral marketing campaign, etc. like every other Hollywood blockbuster is releasing. People are talking about it because it’s news. The script writer arguing with the production company over how it should go down is news. And to release a statement to Entertainment Weekly further blowing up a “private” matter is the mother of all contradictions.
“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.”
The movie should speak for itself! Except when it’s me speaking on it’s behalf in a public statement or interview on Leno or radio appearance! Behind-the-scenes looks can be a good thing and it doesn’t dissolve this fictional magic people believe somehow exists. Which is why people like EW, blogs like this one, and other outlets constantly bring people that want to see it video, spy pictures, and interviews of their favorite anticipated movies being created. Because despite the prevalence of spoof movies at the top of the box office, people aren’t stupid. They know how to separate behind-the-scenes shots of a work-in-progress and the final product. And they know that battles between producers means that product will probably suffer.
“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.”
The biggest problem of making a Hulk 2 was convincing people to see it after the abomination (no pun intended) of the original by Ang Lee. I wouldn’t exactly say the Hulk fan base is “going strong” right now and so far Marvel/Universal have done very little to bring them back into the fold.
This statement was a terrible idea and just confirmed what were considered rumors before of fighting over how to edit the movie.