Originally Posted by Morpheo
there was quite a bit of a disagreement between him and Marvel regarding how The Incredible Hulk turned out. I don't know what he tought of the film ultimately but it was obvious that he wouldn't reprise the role. Back then I thought he came across as a diva, sort of, even if he probably had his reasons. So far I think the Hulk movies are the weakest of the marvel universe on the big screen. I hope The Avengers will fix this. The fact that he's all CGI doesn't help either. The other ones are real
Norton has a reputation of being "difficult". This seems to translate into the fact that Norton tends to come into a project with some ideas of his own in relation to the script & whatnot. Sometimes it works out well, but in other cases the actor usually ends up pissing off a director, producer or studio suit with his "ideas".
Norton & his HULK director Louis Letterier apparently got along fine, but Marvel took issue with some of the directions Norton wanted to take the film. The movie would certainly have been longer & a tad darker based on what I have heard Norton & Letterier were considering. For Marvel, the film was less about making a grand artistic statement & more about setting up the eventual nerdgasm that is Avengers.
When it came time to round up the whole gang, Marvel opted to not go with what they saw as a potential trouble maker on set (Norton) on a film with no real room for his "suggestions". Whether or not Norton could have reigned in his surely ego-driven creative side to be a team player, Marvel went with Ruffalo.
Mark Ruffalo & Edward Norton are friends. Ruffalo reportedly reached out to Norton when he first got the part & got Norton's blessing.
While its not the first blantant recasting we have seen from the recent Marvel flicks (Terrence Howard/Don Cheadle in IRON MAN) & I imagine Ruffalo will do fine.....I do think they should have sucked it up & hired Norton...and maybe nicely asked him to just stick with the script he was handed.