Ed Norton Out, Joaquin Phoenix In As Incredible Hulk In “The Avengers?”

Poor Ed Norton. Kooky Academy Award winner Joaquin Phoenix has allegedly been offered the part of the Hulk in Marvel’s forthcoming superhero ensemble project The Avengers — a nanosecond after
Norton, who starred in 2008′s Incredible Hulk, was axed from the comic book role after Marvel Studios president Kevin Fiege claimed that the company want to hire an actor who “embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.”

Ouch!

Norton’s agent Brian Swordstrom has since hit back at Feige, calling his comments “unprofessional, disingenuous and clearly defamatory.” However, bad press from ditching callousl Ed hasn’t stopped Marvel Studios from forging ahead with plans for the project. Marvel has extended an offer to Phoenix — who retired from acting in 2008 to concentrate on his career as a hip-hopster — to take over the role from Norton, CHUD.com cites well-placed snoops as reporting. We hear Marvel hopes to have an actor confirmed for the Bruce Banner role before this month’s Comic-Con.

Current Marvel stars Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2′s Black Widow), are expected to reprise their superhero roles when Joss Whedon’s The Avengers hits theaters June 14, 2012.