Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman has been drawing some understandable interest former with Batman Michael Keaton starring as an actor who is trying to shed his past starring in superhero films for a legitimate stage career, but it also stars Edward Norton who has his own superhero film on his resume – 2008’s Incredible Hulk. And while his role of Bruce Banner has been capable assumed by Mark Ruffalo for subsequent appearances in the various Marvel Cinematic Universe, Norton has no regrets about leaving the radiation-powered superhero behind him.
Speaking with NPR on the publicity trail for Birdman, Norton stated –
My feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it. And yet, I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films but then especially putting them out, and the obligations that rightly come with that.
Norton also cited “wanted more diversity” in his film roles and the avoidance of cast-typing as reasons he parted ways with Marvel Studios.
think you can sort of do anything once, but if you do it too many times, it can become a suit that’s hard to take off, in other peoples’ eyes.
If this sounds distinctly like a much different tune than the one Norton was whistling back in 2010 when it was revealed that he would not be returning for Marvel’s first Avengers film, your memory is not playing tricks on you. Back then, Norton was much more sanguine towards how the final film turned out and his work on it, writing on Facebook “It seems it won’t work out for me. I sincerely hoped it could happen and be great for everyone, but it hasn’t turned out as we all hoped.” And even that remark was putting a spin on the numerous reports of Norton being difficult to work with on set and his own dissatisfaction with the process of making the film.
It is hard to take Norton’s assertion that continuing with Marvel would stymie his ambitions to appear in more dramatic fare when his replacement Ruffalo, who also came out of the world of smaller indie films, has had no trouble finding roles outside of genre films like Avengers.
Tune in in another couple of years to see if Norton continues to rewrite his own history.