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Norton slams studio for ruling him out of `Hulk` sequel

Los Angeles: Edward Norton has hit back at studio bosses for publicly ruling him out from the sequel of "Incredible Hulk".

The actor`s representative has branded the official statement from the Marvel studio as "offensive" and "purposefully misleading".

Norton was expected to reprise the role for the star-studded superhero blockbuster, due in theatres in 2012, after playing the hot-headed green monster in the 2008 film.

"Here are the facts: two months ago, Kevin called me and said he wanted Edward to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in `The Avengers`. He told me it would be his fantasy to bring Edward on stage with the rest of the cast at (Comic-Con) and make it the event of the convention," imdb.com quoted the representative as saying.

"When I said that Edward was definitely open to this idea, Kevin Feige (president production) was very excited, and we agreed that Edward should meet with (director) Joss Whedon to discuss the project. Edward and Joss had a very good meeting (confirmed by Feige to me) at which Edward said he was enthusiastic at the prospect of being a part of the ensemble cast."

"Marvel subsequently made him a financial offer to be in the film and both sides started negotiating in good faith. This past Wednesday, after several weeks of civil, uncontentious discussions, but before we had come to terms on a deal, a representative from Marvel called to say they had decided to go in another direction with the part."

"This seemed to us to be a financial decision but, whatever the case, it is completely their prerogative, and we accepted their decision with no hard feelings. We know a lot of fans have voiced their public disappointment with this result, but this is no excuse for Feige`s mean spirited, accusatory comments."

"Counter to what Kevin implies here, Edward was looking forward to the opportunity to work with Joss and the other actors in `The Avengers` cast, many of whom are personal friends of his."

"Feige`s statement is unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory. Mr. Norton`s talent, tireless work ethic and professional integrity deserve more respect," the spokesperson added.

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