Edward Norton To Spend Three Months Of 'Research' Covered In Green Body Paint And Grunting In Front Of A MirrorIn what is easily the most unexpected superhero casting news since it was announced in September that Robert Downey, Jr. would be donning Iron Man's exoskeleton, Variety reports that fellow card-carrying Serious Actor Edward Norton has signed on for an Incredible Hulk sequel planned for release next summer:

"Edward Norton is a rare talent and one of the most versatile actors in the business," Marvel Studios production president Kevin Feige said in a statement. "His ability to transform into a particular role makes him the ideal choice to take on the character of Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Edward is perfectly suited to bring one of the most popular and important Marvel icons to the bigscreen in a new and exciting way."

While the news was initially jarring (the deafening sound of a cash register's cha-ching can be particularly distracting) , we suppose that we can see the logic in Norton's selection; like Downey, whose troubled past will no doubt inform his portrayal of the flawed Tony Stark, Norton's previous Fight Club experience, in which he played a tormented character who also suffered from periodic transformations into a better-muscled, subverbal, wantonly violent alter-ego, makes him uniquely qualified for the Hulk role.