A few hours ago Edward Norton’s agent issued a statement claiming that his client was actually in negotiations with Marvel to reprise the role of Bruce Banner in Joss Whedon’s superhero team-up movie The Avengers when the studio abruptly broke things off. That may have been because they found someone else. A rumor claiming “reliable sources” says that Marvel has already decided on a replacement for Edward Norton as the Hulk’s puny alter-ego Bruce Banner in The Avengers, and it’s Joaquin Phoenix.

Comic Con looms and so the rumor claims that is where this will all be confirmed. We’ll see. In the meantime even if the rumor’s true Phoenix hasn’t accepted the part yet, it’s only rumored to have been offered to him. Is he even acting anymore? I thought he was off becoming a rapper or checking into a mental institution or something. Phoenix hasn’t been in anything since the surprisingly good Two Lovers in 2008 and has shown no interest in coming out of his self-imposed, drug-addled, acting retirement. Assuming that’s real. It may have all been a hoax to promote a fake documentary being made by Casey Affleck. No one’s come clean one way or the other yet.

Assuming he’s not hooked on heroin or something, Phoenix seems like a good Banner replacement. He’s 35-years-old which makes him five or so younger than Norton and six or seven younger than Eric Bana who played the character back in 2003.

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