Norton tells Hulk fans to mind their own business
We heard about the alleged dispute between Edward Norton and Marvel over the release and cut of The Incredible Hulk, well he's released a statement about it, and he's been none too complimentary to the fans of the film, in fact to cinema viewers everywhere.
I'm rather annoyed at the condescending tone he takes, and the way he tells me how I should be interested in films and film-making.
Now Norton has released a statement that all parties agree with in order to try and alleviate the fears of the audience, however that statement through SuperheroHype, has me a little annoyed.
"Like so many people I've loved the story of The Hulk since I was a kid, so it was thrilling when Marvel asked me to write and help produce an altogether new screen incarnation, as well as play Bruce Banner. I grew up reading Marvel Comics and always loved the mythic dimension and contemporary themes in the stories, and I'm proud of the script I wrote. In every phase of production, including the editing, working with Louis Leterrier has been wonderful...I've never had a better partner, and the collaboration with all the rest of the creative team has been terrific. Every good movie gets forged through collaboration, and different ideas among people who are all committed and respect the validity of each other's opinions is the heart of filmmaking.
Regrettably, our healthy process, which is and should be a private matter, was misrepresented publicly as a 'dispute,' seized on by people looking for a good story, and has been distorted to such a degree that it risks distracting from the film itself, which Marvel, Universal and I refuse to let happen. It has always been my firm conviction that films should speak for themselves and that knowing too much about how they are made diminishes the magic of watching them. All of us believe The Incredible Hulk will excite old fans and create new ones and be a huge hit...our focus has always been to deliver the Hulk that people have been waiting for and keep the worldwide love affair with the big green guy going strong."
Well I agree, films should speak for themselves and invariably they do when they come out. However knowing about a film behind the scenes does not ruin the experience in the cinema for you, I whole heartedly disagree with that, and if it weren't for those interested in the film at this stage then there wouldn't be half the hype for it and the audience would just be seeing the title here and there and thinking of the Ang Lee version.
For me knowing about the film as it is made increases the anticipation and desire for it, of course if there are spoilers that come out then it obviously does harm it, but if there aren't then it's all just hype and advertising for the studio. Let's not be naive here.
This debate and discussion over the alleged dispute between the two parties is not, certainly not on Filmstalker anyway, born out of a desire for idle gossip. For me this is about seeing the right version of the film, making sure we see the one intended for viewing by the film-makers, and that the audience get to see the best version in the cinema, not five releases down the road on DVD, if at all.
I think this seems like an over the top reaction that attacks the very marketing platform that the studios are so keen to use. This could have been worded much better than it has been, a letter which is essentially saying mind your own business and forget about the film until it's in cinemas because I believe you shouldn't care about the process before then.
If we did, the film wouldn't have anywhere near the exposure it's had. Sure there are sites that are picking on the story claiming that this is a sign of the film to come, but what about just allaying our fears that the best version of the film is going to be released, the better version, the version we all want to see?
Follow Jon Favreau's example of how to handle the fans, and to prove that point see that very article on Filmstalker.