The battle this spring between hands-on artiste Ed Norton and the Marvel Studio brass over the relaunch of the Hulk franchise has proven to be one of the most acrimonious displays of "creative differences" that we have seen in some time. The notoriously "passionate" (read: difficult) actor has been accused of "posturing" over how the final cut of the movie he famously claimed to have re-written played out, which led to a brisk retort written by Norton and emailed to, of all places, the actor-friendly confines of Entertainment Weekly. And although accuracy-challenged scribe Roger Friedman reports that Ed Norton "slipped off to a desert island rather than do publicity for the movie he stars in and nominally wrote," the cantankerous diva appeared in a Hulk
promotional parody skit that aired on last night's Jimmy Kimmel Show. And while Norton brought the funny, he didn't resist the urge to get in a potshot at action-averse auteur Ang Lee.
"We're trying to resuscitate this franchise from the fucking cellar!"
We kid, we kid. We applaud Ed Norton for his willingness to poke fun at the public and industry perception of him (and also for not caving into the pressure to turn this into an unbearable "I'm Fucking The Hulk" sketch). And while we would've liked to have seen him add a bit of pseudo-intellectual heft to the normally inane talk show publicity circuit, it's worthwhile to note that he did hit the red carpet at the film's premiere and resisted the urge to heckle Liv Tyler when she botched Coldplay's name at the MTV Movie Awards. And while we doubt that the lack of Norton on Letterman made any real dent in Fanboy Nation's appetite to cream their purple jean shorts at the multiplex this weekend, there is one question that remains unanswered that would make for the journalistic score of the first-half of 2008: what does Ed Norton really think of the film?