Edward Norton’s agent calls Marvel’s statement “unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory” after the actor was dropped from the Avengers movie.

Ok, quick Avengers movie recap: The Hulk is in, but Edward Norton is out. A statement from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige suggested that the actor wasn’t a team player and wouldn’t have worked as part of the movie’s ensemble cast, but Norton’s agent has issued a counter-statement, saying that Fiege’s claims aren’t true.

According to Brian Swardstrom of William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, as recently as two month ago, Fiege was very excited about securing Norton for the Avengers movie: “He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at Comic Con and make it the event of the convention. When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin was very excited and we agreed that Edward should meet with Joss Whedon to discuss the project.”

Swardstrom said that Norton’s meeting with Whedon was a very successful one, and Marvel began talks with the actor. “Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious [sic] discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part. This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings,” said Swardstrom.

Norton was apparently excited about the project, and Swardstrom is dismayed that Fiege would try and suggest otherwise. “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,” he said. “Feige’s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton’s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel’s fans.”

No replacement has been announced for Norton, but with San Diego Comic Con just around the corner, it seems likely that we’ll find out pretty soon. The Avengers movie is scheduled for release on May 4th, 2012.

Source: Spinoff Online

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