The ongoing trials and tribulations of the Incredible Hulk's film career continue. The latest enemy the Green Goliath faces is not the Abomination or MODOK, but rather hostile media outlets, hellbent on kicking up controversy that may not even exist.

In the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, the magazine features an article on the much-reported ongoing battle between Marvel Studios and The Incredible Hulk film's star and screenwriter, Edward Norton.

Known for his dedication and Howard Roark-like determination to fight for what he believes in (Google American History X and Tony Kaye!), Norton (so it's been reported) is locking horns with Marvel over the final cut of the film, which is due in theaters this June. While Marvel is looking for a fast-paced, action-packed commercial film to wash the taste of the previous box office disappointment that was Ang Lee's Hulk film from fans's mouths, Norton is advocating a more balanced picture that would come in somewhere over 2 hours and include more pathos for the character of Bruce Banner. According to the article and quotes from director Louis Letterier, things on the set were splendid until Marvel came in to dictate cuts to the director and Norton (who, besides re-writing the original Zach Penn script, is also an un-credited producer on the film.)

Norton has thus far refused to comment on the situation, and has not promoted the film at all, adding fuel to the speculation fire that there is a genuine controversy over the cut of the film. Finally, after months of EW gunning for an interview, Norton's people gave them a 257 word statement from the actor.

After professing his love for the character since childhood, the actor goes on to say: "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."

Unfortunately, by looking at the article this statement appears in and the chatter on geek-message boards across the web, the distraction has already happened, and it isn't going away. The damage might already be done.

With Marvel's Iron Man only a mere two weeks away, the marketing machine for Hulk should be in full swing. But as of this date, there has only been a single trailer premiered on cable, with no TV spots following it, and beside news of the reported controversy between Marvel and Norton, no press on the film itself.

With such a stellar cast (including Tim Roth, Liv Tyler, and William Hurt), a proven action director in Letterier (The Transporter), and the power of a star like Norton behind this franchise relaunch, The Incredible Hulk should be a favorite in the coming summer box-office numbers game. Instead, fans are worried, Universal and theater owners seem spooked, and there is talk circulating that the Hulk is jinxed when it comes to the big screen.

Read the article and Norton's statement to EW here.

above left: the latest poster for the film, showcasing a more familiar feel for fans of the 70s Hulk TV show.

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