Bruce Banner Previously played by: Bill Bixby, from 1978 to 1982, in the TV adaptation of the Marvel comic book. Eric Bana (left) took over in the 2003 movie version, the Ang Lee-directed "Hulk." More recently played by: Edward Norton (right) tried his hand at the tragic character in "The Incredible Hulk." A change for the better? Yes. Bana was capable in the big-screen role, but Norton as both writer and star brought a deeper understanding of the character, and a better all-around movie.