According to Hollywood Reporter writer Ryan Parker, Norton said that "he was difficult on Incredible Hulk because [he] wanted a better script."
Back in 2014, the American History X actor reflected on the role, stating that he was glad that he didn't have to appear in a number of contractually-obligated sequels, which would have prevented him from joining such projects as Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Following on the heels of the first Iron Man, the film (directed by Louis Leterrier) was released at a time when the terms "Marvel Cinematic Universe" and "Marvel Studios" were but a twinkle in Kevin Feige's eye. No one knew just how big these comic book adaptations would become in the following years and as more began to hit theaters, Incredible Hulk — which also starred Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Ty Burrell, William Hurt, and Tim Blake Nelson — became the black sheep of the brand.
It didn't receive such rave reviews like Iron Man or make a ton of money at the box office. To add insult to injury, news broke that Norton had been hard to work with behind the scenes, insisting that he rewrite Zack Penn's screenplay and have a say in the final edit, although he wouldn't receive any credit for either. His apparent hard-to-work-with personality got so bad, that he was eventually replaced with Mark Ruffalo just as the first Avengers ramped up production.
Based on a statement from Marvel at the time, the decision was made to hire an actor that was more open to creativity and collaboration, rather than one who would make more money for the studio. The first Marvel ensemble brought in over $1 billion at the worldwide box office and introduced us to the "Science Bros" of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. As such, Norton was left at the wayside and Ruffalo became the Hulk we now know and love.
"He's got two kids, and I'm really happy he gets to have this moment with them."
The Comedy Central Roast of Bruce Willis, hosted by Willis' Looper co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will air on Sunday, July 29.