LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two-time Academy Award nominee Edward Norton will play scientist-turned-superhero Bruce Banner in a new movie version of “The Incredible Hulk,” Marvel Entertainment said on Monday.
The new movie is based on the comic book series telling of the exploits of Banner, a scientist who transforms into a giant green brute, and it follows a 2003 big-budget film called “Hulk” that failed to catch fire with audiences or critics.
Norton, 37, is among Hollywood’s most versatile actors, having appeared in more than 20 films including “American History X” and “Primal Fear,” both of which earned him Oscar nominations for acting. For the most part, his roles have been in dramas such as 2006’s “The Illusionist,” making his choice to portray a comic book hero a novel idea.
“His ability to transform into a particular role makes him the ideal choice to take on the character of Bruce Banner/The Hulk,” said Kevin Feige, president of production at Marvel Studios.
“The Incredible Hulk” will be directed by Louis Leterrier, a Frenchman whose previous films include the action adventure “The Transporter.” The new movie is expected to be in theaters by June 2008, and will be distributed by Universal Pictures.
Universal, owned by General Electric, and Marvel teamed up in 2003 to produce and distribute “Hulk,” which was directed by Ang Lee, who later won a best director’s Oscar for “Brokeback Mountain.”
His version of “Hulk” raked in $245 million at global box offices, but the amount was deemed to be a modest sum given its high expectations and budget of nearly $140 million. “Hulk” also earned generally poor reviews.