It does not take too long for Marvel Studios to decide who they want to replace Edward Norton. After confirming that the "The Incredible Hulk" actor will not reprise his role in "The Avengers", the studio has reportedly offered the part to Joaquin Phoenix.
CHUD claims to get the information from reliable sources who also report that Marvel hopes to sign Phoenix in time to announce him as the new Bruce Banner at upcoming Comic Con. However, the 35-year-old Puerto Rican reportedly is taking time to mull over the offer and will possibly turn down the job.
While the site still cannot get solid confirmations or denials about the casting report, they learn that "whoever plays Banner will be the lowest man on 'The Avengers' pay totem pole." However, the role would be a good move for Phoenix who has been absent from big screen since his 2009 "Two Lovers".
In related news, Edward Norton's party has reacted to Marvel's decision not to hire him for "The Avengers". Brian Swardstrom of WME tells HitFix, "This offensive statement from Kevin Feige at Marvel is a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light."
Swardstrom additionally reveals that Marvel previously agreed to have Norton playing The Hulk in the upcoming film until they apparently decided to go to another direction with the part before the deal was reached, probably because of "financial decision".
However, the agent was disappointed at producer Feige's statement. "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," he states. "Feige's statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect, and so do Marvel's fans."
Though there is still uncertainty about who will portray The Hulk, "The Avengers" has had Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Samuel L. Jackson on the current cast line-up. Joss Whedon will serve as helmer for this movie that will bring together the superhero team of Marvel Comics characters and is slated for May 4, 2012 U.S. release.