What the Hell Happened to Edward Norton?

edward norton 2013

Edward Norton

Edward Norton has been nominated for three Academy Awards; once for Best Actor and twice for Best Supporting Actor.  He won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in his first movie.  In addition to acting, he has written, directed and produced movies.  He even has a few song-writing credits to his name.  Norton has worked with Miloš Forman, Woody Allen, David Fincher, Ridley Scott and Wes Anderson.  He was even the Incredible Hulk.  But ever since 2008, Norton is rarely seen or heard from and almost never as a leading man.

What the hell happened?


Edward Norton – Primal Fear – 1996

Norton made his film debut in 1996 with a juicy supporting role opposite Richard Gere in the psychological thriller, Primal Fear.

Gere played a sleazy defense attorney (in the movies, is there any other kind?) who chases headlines and wins cases on his abundant charisma.  He jumps at the opportunity to defend an altar boy accused of murdering an archbishop.  Norton plays the altar boy who speaks with a pronounced stutter.  As Gere interviews his client, he begins to believe in his innocence.  This angers his ex-girl friend (played by Laura Linney) who also happens to be the prosecutor in the case.

I can’t really discuss Primal Fear without giving away some spoilers.  So if you don’t want to be spoiled, skip ahead to the next movie.

Over 2,000 actors auditioned for Norton’s role.  It was offered to Leonadro DiCaprio and Star Trek’s Wil Wheaton, both of whom turned it down.  Other actors who were considered include Edward Furlong, James Marsden and Dawson (aka James Van Der Beek).  Norton won the role by staying in character throughout his audition.  When he met with the casting director, he started off meek and stuttering before exploding into violence.  He even went so far as to roughly grab her to the point where she feared for her own safety.

Norton and Gere were encouraged to improvise on the set.  It was Norton’s idea to give his character a stutter.  This aspect of the character was not included in the script or the book the script was based on.  When Norton shoved Gere into a wall, Gere’s shock was genuine.  That was another improvisation as was Norton’s slow clap at the end.  The two actors were tasked with tightening the film’s last scene.  They brought it down from six pages to only two.

Reviews were mostly positive and Primal Fear was a hit at the box office.  Norton received numerous awards and nominations for his very first movie role.  He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting actor which he lost to Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire.  He also won a Golden Globe.  Not bad for his first time out.

norton - people vs larry flynt

Edward Norton – The People Vs. Larry Flynt – 1996

Later that same year, Norton appeared opposite Woody Harrelson in Miloš Forman’s bio-pic, The People Vs. Larry Flynt.

Harrelson played the controversial Hustler founder and free speech advocate.  Norton played his friend and put-upon attorney, Alan Isaacman.

Norton’s role was a composite of several lawyers who worked for Flynt.  The real Alan Isaacman was not with Flynt when he was shot.  That lawyer is Gene Reeves Jr.  But Norton’s final speech in the courtroom was taken verbatim from Isaacman’s actual closing arguments.

Despite mostly positive reviews, The People Vs. Larry Flynt was not a hit at the box office.

norton - everyone says I love you

Edward Norton – Everyone Says I Love You – 1996

A lot of actors wait for years to work with legendary director, Woody Allen.  But Norton got his chance to do so in 1996 – the same year as his big screen debut.  Norton appeared in Alan’s musical, Everyone Says I Love You.

Everyone Says I Love You is a pretty typical Woody Allen movie in every way except for being a musical.  The actors all performed their own songs with two exceptions.  Allen thought that Hawn’s singing voice was too good to be believable as a normal person’s singing voice.  So he told her to sing worse.  And Drew Barrymore convinced the director that her singing voice was so awful it would have to be dubbed.  Norton and Barrymore played a young couple in love in Manhattan.  In a Woody Allen movie!  Can you imagine?

Yes, the movie asks audiences to accept Allen as a romantic partner for both Hawn and Julia Roberts.  Although given that Roberts married Lyle Lovett, maybe that isn’t so far-fetched.  The trailer doesn’t include any singing because musicals were out in 1996 and Miramax wanted to hide the fact that Everyone Says I Love You was in fact a musical.  So here’s a clip of Norton singing.

Okay, Norton doesn’t have the best pipes and his dancing is abysmal.  But when Woody Allen says “sing”, you sing.  Allen didn’t tell the actors that the movie was a musical until after they had signed their contracts.  The star-studded cast also included Alan Alda, Natalie Portman, Tim Roth and Natasha Lyonne.

Reviews were mostly positive and the movie did the kind of box office you expect from a Woody Allen movie.  Not great, but enough to make a profit.

So by the end of his first year I movie, Norton had been nominated for an Oscar, won a Golden Globe and worked for Miloš Forman and Woody Allen.  Wow.

Next: Rounders and America History X


Posted on November 12, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 145 Comments.

  1. I’m going to have to re-read some of this, but I jus’ wanna say: Another nice entry!

    The movie “Stone” was terrible…some decent acting, but a lot of the script made no sense. (But one example: Norton’s character says something at a hearing/interview that’d likely guarantee he would not get paroled.)

    The part about Norton being “difficult” reminded me of something director Robert Aldrich said about Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster — he said he’d clashed with them both, but he said they (individually) did so on the basis of MAKING A BETTER MOVIE, as opposed to them being petty, pissy, prima donnas, etc. and he was cool with that!

    You who else would make a good entry: Edward’s ex Salma Hayek. For awhile she was A-list then she started appearing in Adam Sandler movies and doing Burger King commercials…and if there’s an actress I CANNOT imagine eating at a BK, it’s her. (Heather Graham or Alicia Silverstone, maybe, but not SH.)


    • Glad you liked it.

      Stone looked bad. Most movies Norton made are at least passable. A lot of them are good. Given his track record, I really do think that he has elevated the material more often than not. But Stone, just looks ridiculous.

      I get the impression Norton probably has a monster ego and that he does pull his share of prissy prima donna tantrums. But also, he really does care about quality. I’m guessing that he cares at least as much as anyone else working on a movie. And he has a pretty good ear for story-telling. So his opinion is at least worth listening to.

      If I had a script I didn’t know what to do with, I’d welcome Norton’s collaboration. But I might not be so welcoming if the project in question was near and dear to my heart and I had a specific vision. Norton tends to take over projects. I can see how sometimes that would present a problem.

      Isn’t Silverstone a major big time vegetarian? 😉


  2. I am a huge fan of Edward Norton, so thank you for this post 😀


  3. After American History X and Fight Club it sure looked like Norton might very well be his generation’s DeNiro. Then they worked together and neither career has been the same since. Not that The Score was a bad movie, but how could it possibly live up to expectations?

    I am a big believer in finding artists who know what they’re doing and making everybody else stay out of the way. That will lead to some stinkers, but it will mostly result in good art. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with a business full of egos like you are in Hollywood a lot of people have trouble staying out of the way.

    Didn’t I read somewhere that the director of American History X was against casting Norton to begin with?

    The twist in Fight Club is one of the most mind blowing moments I’ve ever had in a movie theater. On re-watches it seems obvious, but there was so much else going on. The movie was so entertaining that it just never occurred to me.

    1999 is one of the great movie years of all time
    -American Beauty, American Pie, Being John Malkovich, Bowfinger, Boys Don’t Cry, The Cider House Rules, Dogma, Election, Fight Club, Galaxy Quest, Man on the Moon, The Matrix, Office Space, The Sixth Sense, Three Kings, The Virgin Suicides, and Wild Wild West.
    OK, not Wild Wild West, but you’ve gotta admit that’s one strong and varied list.

    I need to see Leaves of Grass.

    Although as a fan of Norton’s I was disappointed (but not surprised) when he was ousted from The Avengers, I have to admit that the wonderful Mark Ruffalo fit in better with the project as it was conceived. Norton is not as intrinsically trustworthy on screen, so when he turned into the Hulk it was more of a bummer than a tragedy. Also, with Downey already playing the resident Napolean complex, Norton’s energy would have been a little repetitious.


    • I had not heard that Tony Kaye objected to Norton’s casting. By all accounts I’ve read, they got on just fine until post production. Of course it’s possible Kaye objected to his casting, got along with him during filming and then went to war in post production.

      Someone in the lobby of the movie theater I was in kind of gave away the twist in Fight Club. Not completely, but enough that I knew what to look for and put the pieces together right away. That person should be fined at least.

      1999 was a great year for movies. I remember in 1999 thinking how great the millennium would be with all these exciting new movies paving the way. Looking back, that so did not pan out.

      I was ambivalent on Incredible Hulk, so I really didn’t care about the recasting. Mostly, I was amused. It’s very rare for studios to make such blunt statements about an actor. Also, it was an interesting time to watch Marvel kind of shaping their identity as a studio. Terrence Howard asks for too much money, they dump him without a thought. Samuel L Jackson asks for some money, they almost dump him. Norton is a prima donna, they dump him and set him on fire.

      At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue that Ruffalo’s casting was anything but an upgrade. Ruffalo and Downey hanging out after the closing credits was my favorite thing about Iron Man 3.


      • The director of “The Incredible Hulk”, Louis Leterrier recently said that he always wanted Mark Ruffalo to play Bruce Banner, but Marvel suggested that Edward Norton be cast instead because he was considered a “bigger name” at the time:


        • Interesting. I wonder if that is revisionism or if Leterrier was really that far ahead of the curve.


        • 10 Comic Book Movie Performances So Boring It Actually Hurt:

          1. Bruce Banner – Edward Norton – The Incredible Hulk

          Marvel didn’t have much luck casting Bruce Banner until they eventually stumbled upon Mark Ruffalo, the first actor since forever to successfully render the character “interesting,” achieved by making him far more good humored and self-deprecating and far less mopey mopey. Unfortunately for Edward Norton, his performance as Bruce Banner in the relatively good – but ultimately forgettable – The Incredible Hulk movie didn’t leave much of a mark: aside from feeling a little phoned-in, it also felt remarkably shy of “character.” His Banner just felt like Ed Norton.

          Eric Bana’s performance as the Hulk in Ang Lee’s movie of the same name fell into a similar trap as Norton’s: by making Bruce too broody and too sulky, it also made him feel super dull. So perhaps we’ll never know if Norton’s “flat” performance was a conscious choice here, or whether he just got tired of the project and decided to play his fatigue as a character trait. You almost feel sorry for him in the sense that Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner felt complete the moment he uttered his first line. People have already forgotten that Ed Norton was the Hulk.


        • 10 Badly Miscast Actors In The Marvel Cinematic Universe:

          1. Edward Norton – Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk)

          There are many comic book fans out there who think that Edward Norton made a brilliant Bruce Banner, though there also seems to be an equal number of human beings who think he was near-on disastrous in the role. Though the level of his acting on show in The Incredible Hulk, perhaps the MCU’s most forgotten movie (yep, it’s part of the official canon and everything) is serviceable, and Norton clearly took his time and made a lot of effort to try and do the character justice, he just feels wrong for the part in the same way that acid feels wrong as food.

          Which is an incredibly lame way of saying: Norton just isn’t Bruce Banner. Despite the fact that he arguably put more effort into rendering his character than Eric Bana and Mark Ruffalo put together, for the entire runtime of the movie, Norton fails to convince. It might seem unfair to suggest that Ruffalo felt like Banner the moment we saw him for the first time in The Avengers, but it’s sort of true; he came to us fully-formed, without all the strain and overreaching inherent to Norton’s performance. It’s just too much of a stretch that Norton could be the Hulk!


        • 12 Least Successful Recastings Of Iconic Film Characters:

          1. Edward Norton – Bruce Banner/ Hulk

          Film: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

          Replacing: Eric Bana

          Marvel fans will be all too familiar with the problems surrounding the casting of the Incredible Hulk. With both previous attempts at a 21st-century portrayal both coming up short for different reasons, Marvel finally struck lucky by giving Mark Ruffalo the gig in The Avengers. But whatever gripes there might have been about Eric Bana’s portrayal (which I singled out for criticism in this article), there doesn’t remain a great deal of love for Edward Norton’s interpretation which arrived five years later.

          Ironically, Norton was in the running to play Bruce Banner the first time around; he eventually refused to be a part of Ang Lee’s project, claiming to be disappointed with the script. Lee’s film was an equal disappointment commercially, bringing in $245m on a budget of $137m; nowadays, big films have to bring in two-and-a-half times their budgets to be considered successful. Once the rights ceded back to Marvel from Universal, Norton was signed and rewrote Zak Penn’s script, distancing himself from Lee and Bana’s film by changing the origin story.

          Ultimately The Incredible Hulk wasn’t the world-beater that was expected; it pulled in $263m on a budget of $150m. Both films are heavily flawed, particularly in the CG effects department, but at least with Bana’s interpretation there was an attempt to focus on character development and the internal struggles of Bruce and Betty. Norton’s portrayal is hammier and more needlessly aggressive, reflecting the pumped-up, adolescent feel that director Louis LeTerrier wanted. Like Cheadle before him, Norton is a fine actor whose collaborations with Marvel bring out the worst in him.


        • Cinema Showdown: Hulk 2003 vs. Hulk 2008:

          Bruce Banner: Eric Bana vs. Edward Norton – I’m tempted to give the edge to Norton because the casting was so perfect and I’m a huge fan, however Bana’s role was written with far more substance and the character arc was an emotional one, rather than Banner just spending the whole movie trying to keep his heart rate down. Somehow having the transformations triggered by a physical state rather than an emotional one is far less interesting dramatically. Norton’s Banner becomes heroic in the film’s third act while Bana’s is trying to cleanse himself of a lifetime of emotional turmoil. Norton was more likable in the role, but Bana was far more intriguing. Point: Lee


        • THE INCREDIBLE HULK Revisited: “Leave Me Alone”:

          The Incredible Hulk is a mediocre film, and it’s also one of the most significant in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s a movie you can’t discuss without the phrase “Technically part of.” Incredible Hulk is so vastly different than any other MCU movie that it inadvertently highlights the distinct personality that would come from all future Marvel films. As an individual picture, Incredible Hulk is fairly unremarkable, but as part of the MCU, it’s constantly fascinating.


        • Watch Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk” with Cap and Eric!


      • Also, it was an interesting time to watch Marvel kind of shaping their identity as a studio. Terrence Howard asks for too much money, they dump him without a thought. Samuel L Jackson asks for some money, they almost dump him. Norton is a prima donna, they dump him and set him on fire.

        Worth noting that around that same time, Jon Favreau walked away from Iron Man 2 for a few weeks until Marvel finally relented and gave him a pay raise (though it was notable that he passed on the chance to direct The Avengers and drastically scaled back in involvement in Iron Man 3).

        Marvel really is insanely cheap (to the point that the head of the studio refused to allow any Oscar campaigning for The Avengers even after Disney offered to foot the bill), but what I love about them is that unlike some other studios (cough**Fox**cough) they make no attempt to hide it and openly admit how annoyed they are when they are forced to hand big money deals (like RDJ and Whedon).


        • That’s for sure. I don’t think most people are aware of how tight-fisted Marvel is. Any other studio would have happily opened up their pocketbooks to write Whendon and RDJ big checks. Not Marvel. Although I will say they have shown good sense as to when to let actors go and when to pony up. Terrence Howard, you can let him go. RDJ is too integral to the franchise.


        • Yeah. It is also interesting to see how they have learned from their early mistakes. The reason Downey was able to finagle such a massive deal is because Marvel didn’t lock up him into a long term deal before the first Iron Man move when he was basically unhirable. As such, when it came time to start talking about the sequels Downey was able to demand a pricey first dollar deal.

          Flash forward about a year when Marvel is casting Captain America and they required Chris Evans to sign a 9 picture deal.

          Similarly, after the big showdown with Favreau, they responded to the success of The Avengers by immediately giving Joss Whedon a 3 year exclusive deal that while carrying a big price tag, included Avengers 2, Agents of SHIELD and consultation on the other Marvel movies.


        • I was reading about Marvel’s Netflix deal and how people said Marvel is currently the smartest studio in the business. Hard to argue against that.


        • Not to go too off topic, but it makes you wonder why Warner Bros. didn’t put that sort of requirement in (i.e. having the lead actors sign multi-picture contracts so they won’t bow out whenever they feel like it) when they were making the initial Batman franchise w/ Michael Keaton.

          With that being said, to give Marvel the benefit of the doubt, they’re the type of company who in a sense, don’t seem to take too kindly towards people for whom they at the end of the day, don’t come off as “team players” (or more to the point, actors w/ big egos or there own “agendas”). Therefore, it makes far too much sense why they wouldn’t want to deal w/ bringing a control-freak like Edward Norton back for “The Avengers”.


        • Believe it or not, I don’t think WB saw the success of Batman coming. Crazy, right? But super hero movies weren’t big back then the way they are now. They couldn’t sign Nicholson. He would have never gone for it. Burton, Basinger and Keaton proved replaceable.

          Marvel definitely wants to call the shots. I’m sort of surprised they ever worked with Norton in the first place. His reputation was well-established at the time.


        • One other thing to keep in mind is that even if they had locked up Keaton in advance I think WB would have been willing to let him walk if he was really unhappy. They were never really sold on him to begin with and after Batman Returns it was clear the studio wanted to go another direction with the franchise.

          To put it another way, as popular as the first two Batman movies were, people weren’t paying to see Keaton; they were paying to see Batman. Contrast with Iron Man where people aren’t just going to see Tony Stark, they are going to see Downey’s portrayal of him.


        • Although, WB did offer Keaton an insane amount of money. They wanted him for continuity and they didn’t want to gamble on a new Batman if they didn’t have to. If he had been under contract, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they forced him to stick to it. Although Keaton never would have signed that contract to begin with. He said up front, he didn’t want to be stuck doing Batman sequels forever which is clearly what WB wanted since that was practically the name of the next movie.

          Obviously, in retrospect it didn’t matter all that much who played Batman. WB should be glad Keaton turned down the fat payday. RDJ on the other hand, is not just the Iron Man franchise but the core of the Avengers franchise. Although with Thor: Dark World performing as well as it is, RDJ’s stock is probably going down. I don’t think there’s any way he signs another contract once this new one is up.


        • Naturally of course, one has to wonder how differently “Batman Forever” would’ve turned out had Michael Keaton returned (just like how much differently would “The Avengers” turned out hat Edward Norton once again played Bruce Banner instead of Mark Ruffalo). We all know how badly things turned out behind the scenes when Val Kilmer became Batman instead. I said in Michael Keaton’s WTHHT article in the comments section, that a big part of the his problem is that Keaton from what I’ve heard, is really the type of actor who doesn’t like the concept of sequels to begin with. Basically, Keaton has this theory or idea that you have to play a character a different way (if that makes sense) regardless of whether or not it’s the same exact character like Bruce Wayne. Maybe that’s partially why you can argue that Keaton in “Batman Returns” at times, seemed lost in his performance.

          Val Kilmer’s alleged antics while making “Batman Forever” sort of inspired me if you will to suggest Edward Norton get a WTHHT in the near future. Basically, both had a starring role in a major superhero movie that were arguably their guarantees for being undeniably “A-list” or bankable. But w/ their considerably selfish or uncooperative antics, they were out after one movie (if you count “The Avengers” as the sequel to “The Incredible Hulk”) and it proved just how unreliable Kilmer and Norton could be at handling a major tent-pole type of franchise.

          I stand by my opinion that, Michael Keaton in a sense, hurt his career by walking away from the Batman franchise the way he did. This is because Keaton no longer had the “engine” so to speak of the Batman franchise to help gravitate towards his other works. It didn’t help that people quite frankly, weren’t interested that much in seeing him try to be a dramatic actor (after long establishing his manic, eccentric funny-man persona). It would be like if Christopher Reeve didn’t want to play Superman anymore after two movies in light of Richard Donner’s unceremonious ouster during the making of the second movie. I do think that by the time that “Batman & Robin” was made w/ George Clooney as the third actor in a four movie span to play Bruce Wayne meant that it really didn’t matter anymore who was playing Batman. Basically, it really was more or less, about who was going to play the villains first and foremost.


        • I don’t think there’s any doubt that both Keaton and Norton hurt their careers by walking away/getting fired from their super hero franchises. But I doubt either one of those guys lost any sleep over it either.

          I actually really liked Keaton’s performance in Batman Returns. It’s one of my favorite parts of the movie and to me one of the most interesting takes on the character. He’s having fun with it, but not in a campy way.


        • That’s a good point about Keaton (I thought they made the big offer before Burton was ousted, but you’re right it was after).

          And I also agree about Downey. In his recent GQ profile Downey said he plans on leaving the series once he turns 50 and he’s already 48.


        • Downey’s been talking about retiring. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in anything he says. Some of it is probably motivated by contract negotiations. I suspect he’ll continue working for a long time to come. But his super hero days are probably numbered. Which I’m sure he’s happy about.

          Had Burton stayed on Batman 3, I don’t think there’s any doubt Keaton would have been part of the package. Heck, Pfeiffer might have even come back. When WB essentially fired Burton, Keaton probably made up his mind he wasn’t coming back. I think if they had a script that he loved, he would have taken a big paycheck and made a third movie. But WB was more interested in selling toys than making the kind of movie Keaton wanted to make. So it was kind of a pointless exercise.


        • I always assumed that Warner Bros. problem in regard to “Batman Returns” was w/ Tim Burton (whom in order to get him back as the director following the monster success of the first movie, was given total creative control), not w/ Michael Keaton per se. Thus, Tim Burton became the immediate or ultimate fall guy when “Returns” didn’t perform at the box office as well as expected (due in no small share the to criticism of it being darker and not as “kid-friendly” as the first one). Because Burton seemed to be more intrigued on focusing on the villains instead of Bruce Wayne (even more so in “Returns”) it did feel like Keaton’s portrayal was somewhat of an afterthought.

          I think the difference between the Batman movies and the Iron Man movies, is that before the 2008 movie w/ RDJ, Iron Man was arguably at the most, a B-level character (the best known Marvel characters up until that point, were if you ask me, Spider-Man, the X-Men/Wolverine, and the Hulk). Batman is pretty much the at the most, the second most famous superhero of all behind Superman. What I mean to say in regard to Iron Man, is that it was perhaps much easier to define the character from zero (RDJ was the first actor to play Tony Stark in live-action unlike Michael Keaton, who had to follow Adam West) to the general public when compared to Batman.


        • Excellent points. Totally agree.


        • 10 People Marvel Studios Really P*ssed Off:

          Edward Norton

          The Incredible Hulk wasn’t a flop, but it stands out as something of a failure in the Marvel Studios library. Edward Norton rewrote Zak Penn’s script, but when the movie was finished, Marvel decided that it needed to be shorter with more action. The actor disapproved and would show his displeasure by refusing to help promote the movie come junket time.

          Screaming matches apparently ensued during various stages of production, and when details of those behind the scenes issues found their way online, the relationship between Marvel and their new Bruce Banner was destroyed. This was also the first occasion that Marvel really upset fans, something which was obvious by the fact that the new Bruce Banner Mark Ruffalo was met by boos when he walked out on stage at the 2011 Comic-Con.


        • Re: 10 People Marvel Studios Really Ticked Off:

          I was pissed off about Hulk getting re-casted, but Norton screwed Norton. He should’ve played his cards right and promoted the movie like he was supposed to. The movie would’ve done better at the box office and Marvel might’ve been kind enough to release an extended version of it with all those nice scenes put back in as well as Norton being in The Avengers. You want to see the real Edward Norton? Watch his performance in Birdman. That’s him to a tee according to Hollywood dirt sheets.

          Louis Leterrier revealing in an interview that Mark Ruffalo was his original choice for Bruce Banner also quelled my anger.


        • 5 Movie Stars Who Demanded Hilariously Insane Plot Changes:

          #5. Edward Norton Insists That Omar From The Wire Appear In The Incredible Hulk

          Edward Norton’s official story for why he didn’t reprise his role as the Hulk in The Avengers is that it would have taken too much of his precious time. Here’s a more likely explanation: Marvel dumped his a** because he was a huge pain in theirs during the making of The Incredible Hulk. First, Norton only agreed to come on board on the condition that he could fiddle with the screenplay, getting to the point where his costar Tim Roth didn’t bother looking at the script until he was in the makeup chair because it was constantly being changed. Norton also fought Marvel to make the movie 20 minutes longer in order to include more of his brilliant material.

          But perhaps the most heavy-handed use of his brooding star power came up in casting decisions. OK, not casting exactly … but the creation of an entire character out of whole cloth. It turns out that Norton was such a fan of the HBO Baltimore narcotics extravaganza The Wire that he decided to create a role specifically for Michael Kenneth Williams, who played the show’s iconic, sensitive-yet-shotgun-toting stickup man, Omar. According to Williams, his role involved coming between Hulk and the Abomination (Roth) during their big Harlem fight and trying to stop them from destroying his neighborhood. Then he turns around and basically tells Hulk, “You know what, never mind, waste this bitch.”

          Williams was pretty stoked about it, too, saying that Norton is “from Baltimore, so he really felt passionate about The Wire.” For the record, Norton was actually born in Boston and raised in Columbia, MD, a suburb that consistently makes it onto “Best Places to Live” lists and is mostly known for recycling drives and a mall. And sadly, Williams’ heroic role was cut down to about five seconds, reducing his participation to “Harlem Bystander.”

          This means that had Norton appeared in The Avengers, there’s a realistic chance he would have insisted on adding yet more characters in order to turn it into an unofficial crossover with whatever show he was obsessed with at the moment. Come on, an Avengers starring Manimal and Judge Judy would’ve been sheer f***ing phantasmagoria.


        • re: they have shown good sense as to when to let actors go and when to pony up.

          Sometimes actors can “price” themselves right out of a career. Look at Martin Landau — he and Barbara Bain left Mission: Impossible (which ran from the mid-60s to the mid-70s) over $$ and went from there to the “classic” [sarcasm] Space:1999 and many forgettable or crap films.


        • That’s true. Although I wouldn’t say Landau priced himself out of a career per se. His paycheck probably took a hit, but he kept on working and making money. I’m assuming he was okay with the decision.


        • I recall a Landau interview when “ED WOOD” was released and he made the remark (in the context of Bela L’s later career), “I’ve been in crap myself.” He was the villain in “Black Gunn,” a lesser (but still fun) blacksploitation movie…and lots of crap. Bain maintains she was practically (tho not literally) blacklisted.


      • Norton Opens Up About Hulk Departure:

        During a Fresh Air segment on NPR about the film Birdman, actor Edward Norton fielded a question about why he didn’t return to the role of Bruce Banner following 2008′s The Incredible Hulk:

        I think that, you know, my feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it. And yet I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films, but then especially putting them out and obligations that rightly come with that. And there were just a lot of things that – I wanted more diversity – I sort of chose to continue on my path of having a diversity of experiences. Maybe on some unconscious level, I didn’t want to have an association with one thing in any way degrade my effectiveness as an actor in characters. I think you can sort of do anything once, but if you do it too many times it can become a suit that’s hard to take off in other people eyes. And if I had continued on with it, I wouldn’t have made “Moonrise Kingdom” or “Grand Budapest” or “Birdman” because those all overlapped with – and those were more the priority for me. But I totally, you know, I continue to be a fan. And I’m really, really happy I got to do it once. That particular character I think has a really proud tradition actually of really good actors playing him. And I think I’m really happy to be part of it.

        Norton’s explanation seems to be the result of hindsight, given the very public feud between the actor and Marvel in 2010, when it came to light that he wouldn’t be returning as the Hulk for The Avengers. A public statement by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was met with a response from Norton’s agent, who called the comments “offensive” and “a purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light.”


        • Edward Norton Says He Didn’t Return To Play Hulk Because He Wanted More “Diversity” In His Film Roles:

          For all the studio’s success, the one franchise character Marvel has struggled with is the Hulk. After failing with 2003 iteration “The Hulk” starring Eric Bana and directed by Ang Lee, the studio hoped the combination of Louis Leterrier and star Edward Norton could do the trick with 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.” Even with Robert Downey Jr. popping his head in for a final stinger at the end, the film has been largely forgotten. So Norton’s dalliance with the Marvel-verse, a rare excursion into blockbuster land for the actor, came to an end. And it was one he looks back on reflectively.

          “My feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it. And yet, I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films but then especially putting them out, and the obligations that rightly come with that. There were just a lot of things —I wanted more diversity. I sort of chose to continue on my path of having a diversity of experiences,” the actor told NPR (via EW).

          It should be remembered that Marvel offered the opportunity to Norton to come back for “The Avengers,” which he declined. And in a weird PR move that it’s hard to imagine Marvel indulging in now, they sideline jabbed the actor publicly, saying he lacked a “collaborative spirit.” But Norton wanted more than to be locked into Marvel’s tentpole worldbuilding.

          “Maybe on some unconscious level, I didn’t want to have an association with one thing in any way [that might] degrade my effectiveness as an actor, in characters. I think you can sort of do anything once, but if you do it too many times, it can become a suit that’s hard to take off, in other peoples’ eyes,” he added. “And if I had continued on with it, I wouldn’t have made ‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ or ‘Grand Budapest [Hotel],’ or ‘Birdman,’ because those all overlapped with [‘Avengers’]. And those were more the priority for me, but I continue to be a fan and I’m really, really happy I got to do it once.”

          It’s a diplomatic, reasonable assessment from the actor, and one wonders if his feelings as such influenced his decision to join Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film. “Birdman” centers on an actor trying desperately to escape his persona and career being defined by a superhero role. Norton plays the method actor he comes up against, and one wonders if was an opportunity to face his own past, cinematically speaking. Thoughts? Let us know below.


  4. Fight Club is my favorite Edward Norton movie, and my second favorite Meat Loaf movie.


    • That’s funny. I think most people would consider Norton to have the better filmography. And yet, your favorite Meatloaf movie ranks higher than your favorite Norton movie. Out of curiosity, what is your favorite Meatloaf movie? I’m honestly not sure I have one.


  5. I was joking a little there. But, my favorite Meat Loaf movie is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, of course.

    Seriously though, Edward Norton is awesome, and I have enjoyed every one of his performances.


    • I almost asked if it was a Rocky Horror reference. I figured it had to be.

      A long, long time ago, I ran a movie theater that showed Rocky Horror. So I have some great memories of that movie. But I can’t really judge it as a movie. It’s more of an experience. I probably think of it more fondly than any movie Norton has ever been in. So, in that respect, I agree.


  6. Intriguing writeup as always. Another artist, that I’ve only been tangentially aware of due to not watching a whole lot of movies in that decade. And I’d never make it a priority to watch something with a title like “Fight Club.” But this WTHH entry has made me into a sudden possible fan as Norton is serious eye candy and apparently brainy as well.


    • I remember quite a few girls with Norton crushes back in the day. If you don’t want to dive in with a testosterone-fueled movie like Fight Club, check out Everyone Says I Love You or Keeping the Faith. They may be more your speed.


      • Female fan here of Norton’s, and I hated both ESILY and KTF. LOL Edward Norton’s sexual appeal, IMHO, comes from his intensity and how deeply he enmeshes himself into his characters (to the point of BECOMING them). I’m not sure what I’d recommend to a new female fan. If Primal Fear hasn’t been viewed yet, I’d start out with that. It showcases both his talents and is pretty low on the violence and action meter. My personal favorite Norton movie (or one of them) is Hulk (I seem to be in the minority there). I think he’s been amazing in every one of his movies, though, even the really bad ones, except ESILY and KTF :). He’s such a chameleon and manages to completely transform himself and undergo such astounding metamorphoses. He’s such an impressive artist.


        • I like a lot of dreck, so if ESILY is sufficiently fluffy, I’d probably like it.


        • I’m a Woody Allen fan. It’s been years since I watched Everyone Says I Love You, but I remember I enjoyed it. It wasn’t one of Allen’s better movies, but it was fluffy enough as I recall. Lots of good looking people singing and dancing and falling in love. I think you’ll find it an acceptable way to pass the time.


  7. This may or may not be the place for it (the horror!) but I think what hurt Keaton was simply his being in too many mediocre movies post-Batman. (It’s like with Nic Cage now — the past several years have proved that he’ll appear in ANY piece of shite if his check clears and people are starting to come around to that realization. Similar “trap” w/ DeNiro, but he seems to be coming out of it lately.)

    And what hurt Batman post-Burton was that Shoe-Maker guy. Kilmer was OK as Batman but as a pal o’ mine pointed out: It was like seeing a kid dress up in his father’s clothes, and Joel S seemed to be inspired by the campy aspects of the 60s Bat-TV-show…almost as if he had contempt for the character or comic books in general. And the Batman “thing” w/ AH-nuld and Clooney was a DEBACLE. It had some entertaining moments but it basically sucked and drove a stake through the Bat-franchise and probably other superhero movies besides. (MAD TV did a hilarious parody: “Batman: The Musical” directed by Joel Shoe-Maker and starring Tommy Tune as Batman!)


    • Definitely. I think audiences were at least receptive to the idea of Keaton in dramatic roles for a time. He was the primary selling point of Pacific Heights for example. The problem was, he made too many mediocre movies like Pacific Heights. So he stopped being a selling point. Then he went back to comedy and people were no longer interested in that either. I like Multiplicity and The Paper well enough, but they weren’t that much better than mediocre. And Speechless was terrible. And then he made stuff like My Life and the freaking snowman movie. Keaton’s post Batman career could have worked. It was never going to be as big as his career with Batman, but it could have been bigger than it was. He just picked a lot of lousy projects.

      Schumacher didn’t get Batman. Neither did WB. It was a recipe for disaster.


      • 10 Worst Directing Decisions In Comic Book Movies:

        1. Batman & Robin: Bat-Nipples!

        There are a great deal of things wrong with Joel Schumacher’s second Batman feature, and it might seem hard to narrow down the list to the absolute worst offences. Hell, just trying to single out the worst piece of casting is a challenge all by itself. Well, until you remember that the director made a conscious choice to allow nipples to be placed on Batman’s suit.

        It’s not that the nipples actually make Batman & Robin a bad film (the campy acting, hyper-neon color palette and godawful writing do a fine enough job of that on their own), but it illustrates just how far off the mark Schumacher was in trying to recapture the spirit of the tongue-in-cheek comic adventures of the Adam West TV show for a modern audience who really couldn’t connect with it. Schumacher wasn’t making a film he was passionate toward about a character he had affection for. He was making a film he thought people wanted to see about a character that was always popular.

        It wouldn’t be until 2005′s Batman Begins before fans got a movie that depicted the kind of serious Bats that people were champing at the bit for. And that was likely both because and in spite of the supreme silliness that is Batman & Robin.


  8. Btw, as much as I liked Norton’s performance, “American History X” came off like an R-rated “ABC Afterschool Special.”


    • I can’t disagree with that assessment. I do feel like the movie was a bit over-rated at the time. Still good though. Not a movie I have ever felt the need to watch a second time, but I’m glad I saw it once.


    • My problem with American History X and Higher Education is that I just don’t see US Nazis as a big problem- not in my town anyway.

      It seems like a lazy villain- really American History X is about gangs- but its like they are afraid of making a movie about Black or Latino gangs-


      • 10 Movies Sabotaged By Their Own Creators:

        American History X

        After director Tony Kaye delivered his final cut of this crime drama, star Edward Norton reportedly went into the editing room to emphasize his own performance. Norton played neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard, who curb-stomps a black man to death, gets gang-raped in prison, and delivers surprisingly well-spoken monologues in defense of white supremacy.

        Kaye bickered with his producers and Norton to restore his original version. He even brought religious representatives, including a priest, into a meeting with him. When that didn’t work out, he spent $100,000 to print messages attacking the production.

        Did He Succeed?
        No. Tony Kaye couldn’t release his cut of the film.

        The movie went on to be a huge cult hit (IMDB user consensus rates it at the time of writing as the 31st best film ever). Edward Norton received an Academy Award nomination, and his performance was praised above anything else in the film, casting Kaye in a poor light for fighting him on the changes.

        Kaye’s damaged reputation meant that he didn’t release another film until the self-financed 2006 documentary Lake of Fire eight years later.


        • American History X and Tony Kaye, Hollywood maverick

          It should have been a proud moment for British director Tony Kaye. His first feature, American History X, had finally appeared in US cinemas on the 30th October 1998, and was already earning deserved attention for the strength of its direction and its powerful performances – not least from Edward Norton, cast in the lead as a volcanically angry young neo-Nazi in Venice, California.

          American History X might have marked the next phase in Kaye’s career, which, like such directors as Ridley Scott and Alan Parker before him, had begun in advertising back in the 1980s. And yet post-production on the movie had been protracted and difficult, as Kaye engaged in an increasingly public battle for its final cut. That battle had become so heated, and so bizarre, that by the time American History X finally emerged, Kaye’s Hollywood career had already crumbled.

          Fellow director Mike Figgis captured a hint of Kaye’s disappointment and eccentricity in a filmed interview, conducted just a few days after American History X’s release. Kaye, lean, shaven-headed and wearing a purple silk shirt, holds a camera trained defensively back at Figgis. He talks candidly about his battles with New Line Cinema boss Michael De Luca over American History X’s final cut, his mood shifting from quietly philosophical to evident frustration. At one point, he’s on the verge of tears.

          “The industry here has totally lost the plot,” Kaye says. “It’s lost touch with what reality’s all about. And that’s manifested in all the crap that it produces. I think, if you lose your temper, you have to scream. I don’t necessarily think you have to hit anybody, but you have to shout. If you get really upset, you have to cry. And I think if you have to publically do it, then you should do that…”

          And so Kaye did. When New Line refused to let him back in the editing room to finish the film to his liking, he asked that his name be taken off the credits, and asked that it be called “A Humpty Dumpty film” instead. When New Line refused, Kaye began publishing full-page adverts in trade papers like Variety, which variously hurled barbs at Norton and De Luca, or quoted lyrics from John Lennon or 18th century statesman Edmund Burke. All told, Kaye took out 35 ads, spending thousands of dollars in the process.

          In the end, though, all the adverts, expensive lawsuits and curious dealings with studios – Kaye legendarily took in a priest, a rabbi and a Tibetan monk into a studio meeting at one point – did little for the director other than alienate him from an industry he clearly loved. The debacle surrounding American History X left him teetering on financial collapse, and it would take more than a decade before he finally released another feature film.

          The great tragedy is that, for all Kaye’s dissatisfaction with American History X’s final cut, it remains a spectacular diamond in the rough. Kaye’s long career in advertising and music videos means that he knows how to create powerful images to tell a story; also serving as his own cinematographer, Kaye shoots his flashback sequences is in stark black-and-white, with intense lighting and stark, inky black shadows. His direction is stylish, but lacks the superficial, processed slickness of other former ad men who turned to Hollywood.

          Above all, there’s his clear ability to get the best out of his actors. Norton, whose star was already rising in Hollywood at the time, is superb as Derek Vinyard, a bulked-up skinhead who falls under the spell of a white supremacist (played by Stacy Keach) following the violent death of his father. But American History X is largely told from the perspective of Edward Furlong, who plays Derek’s younger brother, Danny, and his performance is, if anything, as powerful as Norton’s. Through Danny, we see how racial hatred is transmitted to the young and disaffected, and how seductive even the ugliest and most irrational beliefs can be to groups of disadvantaged, troubled people – which both Danny and Derek evidently are.

          With Derek often captured in slow-motion, the muscles beneath his Nazi tattoos rippling, it could be said that American History X runs the risk of romanticizing the hate figures it seeks to condemn. But what the film attempts to do is show how Danny’s awe of his brother affects his own beliefs. While in prison for manslaughter Derek comes to renounce his far-right leanings, and is disturbed to find out that Danny’s joined the same group – called the Disciples of Christ – that Derek once called his own. Along with Danny’s school principal, played by Avery Brooks, Derek tries to steer Danny away from the beliefs he once held.

          Norton was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Derek Vinyard – ironic, given that Kaye was reluctant to cast the actor in the role from the very beginning. But after a few casting calls, even Kaye admitted that he “couldn’t find anyone better than him,” and the Derek role went to Norton. For Kaye, the real problems began when filming on American History X wrapped; Kaye presented an initial cut which amounted to around 95 minutes which, according to Kaye, was quite a success when it was test screened. But when the studio, and Norton, began offering their notes about the cut and how it could be improved, Kaye made little attempt to hide his frustration.

          “I wasn’t what you’d call ‘user friendly,'” Kaye admitted in a contrite article published in the Guardian. “Their first reaction after I bawled them out was to ban me from the cutting room.”

          After a bit of negotiation, Kaye was allowed back to prepare a second cut, and was given eight weeks to work on it. Kaye responded by saying that he’d “found a whole new film”, and that he needed a year to finish it. It was at this point that Edward Norton began working on a new cut of American History X with an assistant editor – a move that so outraged Kaye that he punched a wall and broke his hand.

          The version of American History X eventually released by New Line in 1998 was nearer the two-hour mark – around 20 minutes longer than Kaye’s first edit. Kaye argued that Norton had turned American History X into a “performance” movie, and in his interview with Mike Figgis that year, made it clear that he and the actor weren’t on the best of terms.

          Kaye’s public anger and eccentricities generated headlines – in an interview with the LA Times in June 1998, he described Norton’s abilities as a filmmaker as “Less than nil” – but it also did considerable damage to his career.

          “I was untouchable in all my film-making endeavors,” Kaye told the Telegraph in 2007. “Television commercials, music videos, films, anything […] I did a lot of very insane things. A lot of very, very insane things.”

          One of those insane things was an attempt to have his name legally changed to Humpty Dumpty in order to force New Line to put that name in American History X’s credits. Initially, antics like these endeared Kaye to his idol Marlon Brando, a Hollywood legend known for his own curious excesses. (“I hear you’re as crazy as I am,” Brando said when Kaye visited his house one day.) Yet Kaye’s warped sense of humor even rubbed Brando up the wrong way after a while; when the legendary actor asked Kaye to collaborate with him on a series of DVDs about how ordinary people can use acting in their everyday lives, Kaye turned up to the shoot dressed as Osama bin Laden – mere weeks after the events of September 2001. Unsurprisingly, Brando refused to take his calls after that episode.

          We can only guess what Kaye’s movie career might have been like had he been able to control his more confrontational urges. The promise and flashes of outright brilliance he displayed in American History X were by no means a one-off; he spent the best part of 18 years making a documentary about abortion in America, 2006’s Lake Of Fire, which was extraordinarily powerful and critically acclaimed. By rights, it should have been given an Oscar nomination; instead, it only made the Academy’s shortlist.


  9. As much a fan as I am of Norton’s (I find his level of dedication and talent unmatched), I have to confess learning of his on-set antics and childish “no fair” tantrums have soured me a little bit. One has to wonder, after getting burnt on AHX and losing credit for all the work he did, why he wouldn’t haven taken more precautions and steps to avoid a repeat of that on proceeding movies. Like, I don’t know, putting in a clause in his contracts or an addendum for ANY work done beyond his initial deal and any creditting/advertising input/say-so he requires? He DOES seem to have great visions and a keen eye for what will work, and, for the most part, it sounds like Norton wound up getting the brunt of the negative press when he’s gotten involved after production began. I’m not allaying the suspicions that Norton CAN be difficult to work with, but it seems that he was more often in the right than not. That being said, it’s immature, childish and unprofessional to air your dirty laundry with colleagues/coworkers/studios in the media. His first experience of being involved in studio drama should have been MORE than enough of a lesson for him to avoid unacceptable, undesirable outcomes in the future. Even considering how he was, literally, forced to do The Italian job. Regardless of how he got there, he should have, IMO, manned up, SUCKED it up and just toughed it out. There were other actors involved, and, he should have, at the very least, had enough respect for them to take his hit quietly and move on. Being a d-bag about it didn’t help anything.
    That being said, I’ll still clamor for his movies like a dog chasing after a pork chop. 🙂 I’d love to see him play a leading man, though, NOT in a romcom. It’s rare, but it can be done. That seems to be the one role he HASN’T tackled, which, I suppose, is enough to dash my hopes of ever seeing it happen. I wonder if he has made a conscious effort to avoid leading man roles. . .Probably, considering that, as you and others have mentioned, Norton has made it more than clear that he’s not in this for the fame, reputation or to be put on the A-List.


    • It’s a hard call to make. Is he difficult or does he have higher standards? Is he a control freak or does he just care too much? I think a little of each. But if I were working on a movie with Norton, I would have to take into consideration that (aside from Keeping the Faith) he’s got a pretty good track record when he gets involved. I wouldn’t mind him touching up the screenplay – unless I was the screenwriter of course. I bet those guys HATE Norton.

      I actually have a great deal of respect for Norton’s artistic integrity. He could have been a bigger movie star. He chose to do things his way instead. And he’s still a working actor which I am told by commenters on FB I need to celebrate more. 😉


    • From some accounts Norton is really serious about his craft and sometimes goes over some details OVER and OVER even sometimes changing dialogue on the scene while shooting so I’m guessing it’s just more they didn’t want to deal with his intense work ethic not so much that he IS a difficult person just a SERIOUS actor who goes deeply into every detail of his character or the scene so they probably just didn’t want to deal with it on a big budget production with a lot of money riding on it.


  10. It’s interesting that Norton made such a beef about The Italian Job, because despite being forced into making the movie, the film turned out to be a fairly well-regarded hit for all involved (it made over $100M domestically). The very fact that even several years later the studio was still in talks to do a sequel kind of reinforces that audiences responded well to the film. It wasn’t an important or great film by any means, but it delivered what you’d expect: a light, fun, breezy heist film. At the very least it goes in the win column for Norton. Now if he had been forced against his will into working on the film and it turned out to be garbage, like, let’s say, Death To Smoochy, then I could see him publicly complaining (ironic that Norton complains about The Italian Job but not about that cinematic turd Death To Smoochy).


    • I was thinking the same thing, Craig. The Italian Job is one of my favorite Norton movies, but I guess it was just the idea/principle that he was FORCED to make the movie, regardless of WHAT he wanted to do and had ZERO say in the matter that really perturbed him. However, I mentioned in an earlier comment that the fact that he HAD NO choice in doing the movie was reason enough for him to just shut up about it. He knowingly and willfully went into the contract, recognizing that he was going to have to make another movie for the studio. Ultimately, he may not have had the luxury of deciding WHAT movie that was, but no one tricked him into the deal. I understand his initial resistance to the movie, but once filming started, he should’ve pocketed all his resentment and unhappiness with the situation. There wasn’t anything he could do about it, so him just letting it go and riding it out seems to have been a wiser route. He got to work with pretty good actors on a good movie. It may not have been his ideal genre, but it could’ve been MUCH worse, like, as you pointed out, another Death To Smoochy. I wonder if, in hindsight, he would behave in the same way or go about it a little bit differently…


      • He certainly could have been more gracious. It was not the director’s fault he was contractually obligated to make the movie. I’m guessing that most everyone involved in the movie would have been more than happy to let Norton out of his contract if it had been up to them.

        But don’t underestimate the level of bad blood between Norton and the studio. By this point, they had been fighting over the terms of his contract for several years. Paramount even allowed him some leeway so he could make Fight Club. They were betting on his star continuing to rise. Norton had to be irritated that the new deal included a pay cut. By this point, Norton’s star was no longer on the rise. In fact, it was declining. So Paramount wanted to cash in their chips on Norton so to speak before he was worth less than they agreed to pay him. So they threatened him with a massive law suit. Norton had a large gun to his head and he was seething about it.


    • Remember, Norton raised a stink before the movie was released. He had no idea how it would turn out. But to his mind, it was a piece of commercial crap. And really, it was. It was just entertaining enough to make up for that. Norton’s fury had nothing to do with the quality of the movie and everything to do with the fact he didn’t want to be there in the first place. I think he was secretly hoping Paramount would get sick of dealing with him and let him off the hook. There were a few movies he lobbied to make. He wanted a part in Mission Impossible 3 instead. But Paramount said no. My guess is since they already had Cruise, they felt Norton’s star power could be put to better use elsewhere.

      On the other hand, Death to Smoochy may have been a turd. But it was Norton’s turd. He wanted to make it.


  11. Over-rated a**hole.

    I never liked norton. besides having a punchable face and an annoying voice, he can’t really act without appearing like he’s “being intense”.

    “American History X” was decent but preachy, and “Death to Smoochy” was onefot eh worst thigns I’ve ever seen in my life.

    As for “Fight Club”, sorry but I thought it, like Norton, was over-rated. The big twist was silly and made no sense.


    • Everybody is going to have their favorites and performers who just bug them.

      Personally I enjoy Norton when I see him in a movie. All indications are that his ‘difficult’ status is all about making a project what he thinks it should be.

      I even like his new Droid commercial

      …and me owning an iPhone!


    • Finally! My sentiments exactly, sir.

      Near the end of the 25th Hour, Norton asks his friend to “rid him of his excellent good looks” or “make him less pretty” or some such nonsense. In other words, Norton’s character begs to have his features rearranged (he’s a punching bag for interminable minutes) to lessen his eminently rapeable good looks whilst in prison, you see.

      How utterly preposterous!

      Wonder whose artistic input demanded that bit be tacked on? Wait. I think I know.

      Great work, Lebeau, and thanks.



    • Celebs with a reputation for being jerks:

      Post by Urethra Franklin on 2 hours ago
      Edward Norton has a s****y reputation and I can confirm.

      He was a d*** when I met him several years ago.

      Virtually every celebrity encounter I’ve ever had was pleasant (even Noel Gallagher was friendly) except for Norton.


  12. Top 10 Edward Norton Performances:

    What do a neo-Nazi, a magician and the Incredible Hulk have in common? Join as we count down our top 10 favorite Edward Norton performances.


      • 25 Reasons To Hate The Oscars

        Roberto Benigni Bumbling Into Best Actor

        I believe Life is Beautiful is, as it describes, beautiful. I think it deserved all of the accolades it received and maybe would have warranted more in a different year with different competition – I don’t buy the criticisms that it glosses over the Holocaust because no individual story should be extrapolated out to generalize a wider experience. Somehow though, the only big four (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress) award it won was the one Life is Beautiful had the least claim to, Best Actor. Roberto Benigni’s performance is not terrible, but it is broad and occasionally excessive.

        Edward Norton on the other hand delivered a career defining performance in American History X that year. His performance was everything Benigni’s should have been but wasn’t (disregarding tone mind you). A lesser actor would likely have spoiled the role Norton plays so well with an overwrought delivery of every key scene. Norton maintains a notch below excess even in his most explosive scenes. It creates tension within the film that no actor of Benigni’s caliber could achieve.


  13. 10 Actors Who Completely Wasted Their Careers:

    10. Edward Norton

    Ed Norton had an impressive series of movies during the 1990s, with Primal Fear, The People vs. Larry Flynt, Rounders, American History X and of course, Fight Club. However, after the turn of the millennium, the actor had several behind-the-scenes mishaps that hurt his reputation. Brett Ratner reportedly had difficultly working with him on Red Dragon and Norton publicly admitted that he only did The Italian Job because of contractual obligations to Paramount, which isn’t exactly what a studio wants an actor to say when promoting a film.

    However, Norton’s behind-the-scenes struggles culminated during the production of The Incredible Hulk. He agreed to star in the movie when he was given control over the script, which he continued to change during shooting. Norton was also reportedly angry that producers insisted the film be under two hours, so he did very little to promote it. Likely because of these issues Norton was replaced as Bruce Banner in The Avengers, and he missed out on a piece of The Avengers’ billion-dollar box office.

    Norton has mainly appeared in low-budget indie films since except for a supporting role in The Bourne Legacy. Luckily for him he has become a member of Wes Anderson’s reoccurring cast and will appear in his second feature directed by Anderson this year, but that connection alone can’t recreate Norton’s 1990s success.


  14. I just saw The Grand Budapest Hotel- he had a prominent role- but still only 4th or 5th lead. He was good in it- but it didn’t require much.


    • 11 Changes The MCU Wishes It Could Make

      Cast Mark Ruffalo From The Beginning

      It’s pretty annoying that Edward Norton had to turn around and be a massive diva, withdrawing from the MCU before we even got a chance to see him Assemble.

      His departure made The Incredible Hulk feel incredibly disconnected from the rest of Marvel’s catalog, even with later attempts to link it in – like Ruffalo’s “I kinda broke… Harlem” line in The Avengers, or General Ross’ (William Hurt) upcoming appearance in Captain America: Civil War.

      Norton is infamous for being a bit of a control freak, wanting to make changes to scripts and giving unwanted “tips” to directors. When it came to The Avengers, he once again wanted to stick his craw in, which Marvel apparently weren’t comfortable with. They can’t be blamed, considering how many spinning plates they had up in the air at the time – one more cook in the kitchen would not have helped.

      In the end, it was easier to just replace him with Mark Ruffalo – who actually turned out to be a damn good Bruce Banner, to the extent that he’s being shoehorned into next year’s Thor: Ragnarok. At this point Marvel are most likely wishing they could’ve just cast Ruffalo from the outset, which would validate all the time and money they spent on The Incredible Hulk. And which would have given Ruffalo’s Hulk the stand-alone film he deserves.


    • The Shady Way Marvel Made the Hulk Movie That Was Never Supposed to Happen

      In 2008, back when Edward Norton was still optimistic about the Hulk series, he spoke on there being some semblance of an idea regarding where Marvel and Universal wanted to go with the Hulk series. “To me,” Norton said, “the whole thing was to envision it in multiple parts. We left a lot out on purpose. It’s definitely intended as a chapter one.” During the summer of 2008, however, Hulk director Louis Leterrier doubted there’d be a sequel based on the film’s box office performance (it reportedly pulled in $263 million on a $150 million budget), and was leery on essentially telling the same story twice (regarding the Hulk’s issues with anger management).

      In 2010, Kevin Feige (who has helped orchestrate the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe for Marvel Studios) announced that Norton was out and Ruffalo was in, based on Ruffalo being “an actor who embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” This change made sense, considering that Marvel was moving full force towards The Avengers, which was an ensemble piece that’d bring in the likes of Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), and a host of other stars together for one massive film (a monstrous $1.5 billion on a $220 million budget). You’d think that Universal, who still held onto the rights of the Hulk franchise, would be up for making a sequel to The Incredible Hulk, right? Think again.


    • Every version of the Hulk ranked from worst to best

      Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk (2008)

      Five years after Ang Lee shepherded the character’s first big-screen adventure, director Louis Leterrier helmed the franchise reboot The Incredible Hulk. While the second take is also a bit of a jumble, Edward Norton’s nuanced Bruce Banner, Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky/Abomination, and William Hurt’s lean, mean “Thunderbolt” Ross are worth watching, and the cartoonish motion-capture Hulk—a warm-up for The Avengers’ version—looks good.

      If anything yanks the purple pants off this green giant, it’s the scattershot plot. When the audience ignores basic logic, the movie floats along just fine. But once you dig any deeper, the story gets dicey, and the movie also sidesteps the character’s comics origins again, turning Banner into yet another failed Super Soldier.

      Creative tensions between Marvel and Norton (who rewrote the script) forced the actor to make his own Hulk-sized exit from the franchise. After everything, The Incredible Hulk underperformed at the box office, sealing the casket on Marvel’s future solo Hulk endeavors. The silver lining on this green mushroom cloud? Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was just around the corner.


  15. Edward Norton (I) : Lazy-Eye from Moonrise Kingdom says he …

    For those who don’t want to read the whole thing, these are the Norton quotes:

    beep 10 points 9 hours ago
    Edward Norton is one of my favorite actors. Did you enjoy working with him? Is he a stand-up guy or a complete d*ck? In between?

    [–]chilgore[S] 17 points 9 hours ago
    Kind of a dick.

    “He always tried to step on Wes’s toes. Saying stuff like, “Yeah that sounds great but I think it would be way better if we did this other thing instead.” He would proceed to direct the entire scene.”


  16. Add more pleaseee!!


  17. norton being difficult never helped his career it cost him role in avengers. I doubt he cares about it though he always picked roles he liked which is why people mostly seem him in independent movies


    • Confused Matthew’s Marvel Madness (Or: Why Marvel Studios Sucks Ass):

      Marvel Studios sucks. Basically that’s the theme for this whole video. Bad business practices and bad behavior towards the talent they employ, which of course leads to – you guessed it – bad films.

      This has been some what of a long time in the making, the script for this started in 2012 and has continued right up until the Edgar Wright debacle. So now seemed a good time to finally put it all together.


        • 10 Action Movie Flops That Deserve A Second Chance

          The Incredible Hulk

          The Marvel Cinematic Universe first reached screens in May 2008, when Iron Man enjoyed a $98 million opening weekend before going onto gross $318 million domestically. In cinemas a month later was The Incredible Hulk, which failed to repeat its predecessor’s success, earning only $134 in the domestic market.

          Failure makes you a marked man, and in the wake of this “flop” neither the movie’s star, director or screenwriter were ever employed by Marvel Studios again.

          Marvel must be a mean taskmaster because The Incredible Hulk is a solid action movie, eschewing the psychobabble of Ang Lee’s 2003 version in favor of a thriller plot-line similar to Peter David’s run on the comic. Director Louis Leterrier orchestrates the slam bang stuff with gusto, keeps the pace fast and furious throughout and has a terrific supporting cast that includes William Hurt, Tim Roth and Tim Blake Nelson. It’s too bad we never got to see them return in a sequel – it couldn’t have been as drab as Iron Man 2.

          Even if you consider TIH to be the ginger-haired stepchild of the MCU, you have to admit that it offers more fun than non-MCU movies like Elektra, X-Men: The Last Stand and Spider-Man 3.


    • Edward Norton reflects on not being the Hulk:

      When Edward Norton and Marvel parted ways in 2010 over the role of the Hulk, there was some real rage. Both camps lobbed broadsides at each other, with Marvel dropping a preemptive bomb that implied that Norton had to go because he lacked the “collaborative spirit of [the Avengers’] other talented cast members.” Norton’s agent angrily responded that Marvel’s unilateral decision to end good-faith negotiations with Norton was purely financial. For his part, Norton took the high road with an earnest missive on Facebook where he expressed regret that he wouldn’t be joining all the Marvel superheroes in The Avengers.

      Four years later, Norton has a slightly different explanation for what happened then, which ultimately resulted in Mark Ruffalo taking over as Bruce Banner and the Hulk. When he spoke to NPR’s Terry Gross on Fresh Air, Norton, who is a leading contender for an Oscar nomination for his work in this month’s Birdman, made the 2010 parting seem like it was very much his artistic choice:

      My feeling was that I experimented and experienced what I wanted to. I really, really enjoyed it. And yet, I looked at the balance of time in life that one spends not only making those sorts of films but then especially putting them out, and the obligations that rightly come with that. There were just a lot of things—I wanted more diversity. I sort of chose to continue on my path of having a diversity of experiences. Maybe on some unconscious level, I didn’t want to have an association with one thing in any way degrade my effectiveness as an actor, in characters. I think you can sort of do anything once, but if you do it too many times, it can become a suit that’s hard to take off, in other peoples’ eyes. And if I had continued on with it, I wouldn’t have made Moonrise Kingdom, or Grand Budapest, or Birdman, because those all overlapped with [Avengers]. And those were more the priority for me, but I continue to be a fan and I’m really, really happy I got to do it once.

      Whether Norton truly gave up the Hulk or Marvel took it away from him, it’s difficult to fault either’s decision: Ruffalo was a superb addition to The Avengers, and Norton’s exceptional work since the split—which also includes a Bourne movie—speaks for itself.

      Of course, it didn’t necessarily have to be an either/or scenario for Norton. Ruffalo has managed to maintain his diversity of experiences, with roles in Begin Again, Now You See Me, The Normal Heart, and Foxcatcher. In fact, both Norton and Ruffalo could go head to head in this year’s Best Supporting Actor category, where 40 percent of the nominees could be Hulks.


      • Edward Norton Offers New Explanation for Not Playing Hulk in ‘Avengers’ Films:

        I think Ed Norton is just extremely independent as an actor and never wants to be tied down. I will never forget about how mad he was about The Italian Job. He didn’t want to do the movie, but he had a multi-picture deal with Paramount from when the basically gave him his big break. After years of disagreeing on what the next project would be, the studio finally forced him to do The Italian Job.

        Seems like he doesn’t want to be obligated to do anything.


        • If Ed Norton was Banner/Hulk in Avengers…

          Post by HeAdCaSe on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:54am
          Just a hypothetical here, but since I really enjoyed Norton’s portrayal of the character, and he was supposed to continue playing that role in Avengers too, how do people think he would have worked out in the team? I don’t think he would have been written the same way. Ruffalo’s Hulk had a lighter tone to it, Norton’s portrayal was more serious. I don’t think we would have got “Puny God” or Science Bro’s with Stark and Banner.

          Norton’s Hulk would have had to have been written completely differently to fit in I think. I mean things worked out better because Ruffalo stole the show, but I do wonder what Avengers would have been like if Ed was still Banner/Hulk.

          Post by Joker’s Hydra on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:36am
          I don’t think the chemistry we got between Downey Jr and Ruffalo would have been as good with Norton.

          Post by Goldenbane on 12 hours ago
          Eh, I think Ruffalo is fine, and from what I’ve heard, he’s a much more likable person and easier to get along with, but that’s all hearsay. I think that Norton did look more like comic book Banner, than Ruffalo does, but Ruffalo looks more like Bill Bixby, so it’s kind of a give and take, I guess. If I could take anything from the Norton movie, it would definitely be the design for the Hulk. In that movie he looked like the classic 70’s comic book Hulk…kinda the look I grew up with and the one I like the most. The design they used for Ruffalo looks more like the modern day gorilla Hulk, which I really dislike.

          Post by Citizen Snips on 11 hours ago
          I think they both worked great in the movie they were in, but wouldn’t have necessarily worked if they had been switched. Norton was great at portraying Banner as someone desperate to control the Hulk, Ruffalo excelled as being resigned to his fate.


        • 10 Biggest Mistakes That The MCU Has Made So Far

          1) Ed Norton as The Hulk | 0:27
          2) Steve Rogers’ CGI Body | 0:56
          3) Ant-Man Vs. Falcon | 1:24
          4) Black Widow | 1:53
          5) I’m Always Angry | 2:18
          6) Whiplash | 2:51
          7) No Stakes | 3:22
          8) Terrence Howard | 3:55
          9) Tacked-On Love Stories | 4:24
          10) Spoiling Spidey | 4:50


    • Re: Edward Norton Offers New Explanation for Not Playing Hulk in ‘Avengers’ Films:

      I used to be a fan & I know that Ed is a freakin’ douche…re-writing scripts and wanting to always be the smartest guy in the room. He’s difficult point blank. He’s skinny & he’s got a funny face. If he stops acting, I’ll be a happy gal. I run from his projects.

      Mark Ruffalo is humble, personable, a good actor & gets along with everybody. I’m so glad he’s doing so well and I look forward to seeing him in films. The one he did w/ Keira was awesome.


      • The Best Hulk/Bruce Banner?

        As for the movie ones I’d say Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and his version of Hulk. Norton portrayed Banner as someone who knows there’s a dark scary side to him. He was essentially doing what he did in Fight Club but tweaked it for a comic audience and I feel that’s what the portrayal of Hulk and Banner should be like. Eric Bana felt like he was in a different movie a la a dark drama about split personality and there hasn’t been enough of Mark Ruffalo to properly gauge his performance. Although I don’t like how he calls Hulk ‘the other guy’ makes it sound like he’s talking about someone at work who does the same job as him.

        Norton’s Hulk also looks the best from a CGI standpoint to me. It looks like a realistic portrayal of a guy who’s been mutated by radiation and grown in size.


        • 10 Hit Movies That Somehow Never Got A Sequel

          The Incredible Hulk

          It seems at this point that The Incredible Hulk will be consigned to history as a footnote in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, if it wasn’t for the return of William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it was beginning to look like the movie had been swept under the rug entirely bar a fleeting reference to Bruce Banner ‘breaking Harlem’ in the first Avengers.

          Released just six weeks after Iron Man signaled the start of Marvel Studios’ ambitious plans to build a shared universe of movies, a post-credits cameo by Robert Downey Jr. is pretty much all of the connective tissue that The Incredible Hulk provides to the larger story, which is probably for the best given the lukewarm critical reception and rumors of star Edward Norton proving difficult to work with.

          Louis Letterier’s comic book blockbuster earned $263.4m at the box office, which was well short of what the studio was hoping for, and any plans for a sequel were abandoned. Of course, Mark Ruffalo went on to replace Norton as the title character and plays a pivotal role in The Avengers movies and the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.

          Ruffalo has gone on record many times saying that another standalone Hulk movie won’t happen because Universal own the theatrical distribution rights to the character, leaving The Incredible Hulk as the only definitive ‘one and done’ entry in the MCU so far.


  18. birdman should do good for his career he pokes fun at himself


  19. birdman should kill 2 birds with 1 stone help norton and keatons career


  20. Edward Norton has a lot more going on than acting. he is from a wealthy, prominent family and has recently gotten married an had a child.

    Norton is an environmental and social activist. He is a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit organization for developing affordable housing founded by his grandfather James Rouse. Norton is president of the American branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. He ran in the 2009 New York City Marathon to raise money for the Trust. He also raises money for charity through Crowdrise, a social networking community for volunteers and a micro-donations fundraising platform. In July 2010, Norton was designated as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. On 2 July 2014, Edward Norton was elected Chairman of the Board of Trustee to Signature Theatre, a not-for-profit theater Company in New York. Edward has been on Signature’s board since 1996, and served as the co-Chair of the Capital Campaign during the building of The Pershing Square Signature Center.


    • That’s all very interesting. But the article is about his movie career. Even so, thanks for providing some background info for those who are interested. There is always more going on than just one’s career.


  21. yes edward has alot going on but it seems like after fight club he peaked so young. fight club he was 29 his movies since then seems like he only made hits from 1996-1999 with ital in job being his only hit.i think being successful at 26 young age in primal fear got to his head he thought he knew more then directors its sad when a top notch actor like him career dies cause hes difficult like kilmer was difficult only difference is norton has more of a career. the 2000s was alot of forgotten gems but he has oscar buzz for birdman lets hope its a hit


    • 9 Actors Whose Hot Careers Fizzled:

      1. Edward Norton

      Edward Norton is an amazing actor. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Primal Fear” and another for Best Actor for his performance in “American History X;” however, in spite of his obvious talent, since his last Oscar nomination, Norton’s career hasn’t reached the heights that we expected. This is reportedly because he is difficult to work with. He has clashed with directors, studio and/or production crews in a number of his films including “American History X,” “Red Dragon” and “The Incredible Hulk.”


      • 10 Biggest Controversies In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

        Recasting Edward Norton

        Since we’re currently sat in the middle of 2017, it’s quite hard to remember a time when everybody loved Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, and everyone was deeply saddened when it was revealed he would not be returning to reprise his role in The Avengers.

        Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of the character is pitch-perfect, but jump back six years or so and fans were less-than enthusiastic at the prospect of losing a talent as strong as Norton, especially when we were never given a solid reason as to why this occurred.

        And that hurt most of all. It made Marvel look bad, unfriendly and uncooperative. By not fully explaining the situation to people, the media was forced to jump to conclusions. Was the studio being intentionally awkward?

        Conjecture aside, we’ll never truly know what caused the split – Norton has since stated that it was because he wanted “more diversity” in his career – and it was a difficult time for fans to endure. The MCU was just kicking off, and behind-the-scenes trouble this early made its future look a lot less bright.

        In the end, no amount of petitions, Reddit threads or angry comments were able to keep Norton in the role, and this huge change was the first major dent in Marvel’s seemingly-impenetrable armor.


  22. birdman will bring him back


  23. primal fear is what did it to him. his first movie he got oscar nom that probably put an idea in his head that he knows more then the directors it gave him an ego thats what quick success will do to u


    • 15 Greatest Acting Debuts In Cinema History

      Edward Norton – Primal Fear

      Leaving aside the the mediocre performance as Bruce Banner/Hulk in the forgettable The Incredible Hulk, it’s fair to say that Edward Norton has established himself as one of the finest actors working in the film industry today. Movies like American History X, Fight Club and Birdman demonstrate a fantastic range few other actors can match.

      Norton is one only a handful of lucky actors to have been nominated for an Academy Award for their first big screen performance – his debut as Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear, Gregory Hoblit’s 1992 adaptation of William Diehl’s novel of the same name, saw him in the running for Best Supporting Actor (inexplicably losing to Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire). Norton’s performance more than makes up for some uneven plotting, his schizophrenic turns are thoroughly compelling viewing.

      Norton’s upcoming appearances on the silver screen are thin on the ground, with the actor as keen about performing on the stage as he is in movies. It’s unlikely his supporting role in the upcoming animated comedy Sausage Party will see him winning any awards (if ever a movie title spoke volumes about the quality of the content…).


  24. so far if it works well costner keaton reese could have oscar noms


  25. and norton too best supporting actor for birdman


  26. Uncommon Bird: Edward Norton’s Abandoned Movie Stardom:

    One of the most confusing aspects of the movie business is how actors end up in the roles they do. In 1971, William Friedkin did everything short of file a restraining order to keep Gene Hackman from playing Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. John Schlesinger didn’t want Dustin Hoffman to play Babe Levy in Marathon Man. Leonardo DiCaprio turned down Boogie Nights. Every time an actor gets a part, it’s because dozens of opinions, schedules, and circumstances happened to align. It’s like trying to figure out why you ended up in a certain parking spot.

    Because of this, the sense that Edward Norton has deserved better roles than what he’s gotten over the past 10 years is both hard to shake and not particularly instructive. It could be Norton’s fault. It could be Hollywood’s. It could be an act of God.

    In the late 1990s, Norton was nominated for an Academy Award twice, for 1997’s Primal Fear and 1999’s American History X. In 1999, he starred in Fight Club, and in 2002, he shined in 25th Hour. If Norton had stopped there and spent the rest of his life wandering the High Line in Manhattan or protecting the Maasai, he’d still have a significant place in American film — he was the avatar of Generation X’s weird impotence and self-loathing.

    He didn’t stop: He was a villain in The Italian Job, a magician in The Illusionist, a cop in Pride and Glory, and a post–Eric Bana, pre–Mark Ruffalo Hulk. Two years ago, he played a government official in The Bourne Legacy, with the perfect blend of Machiavellian menace and perverted patriotism. Like every other actor in Hollywood, he’s been in a couple of Wes Anderson movies. But nothing from his recent work rivals the heights he reached between 1997 and 2002.

    Instead, he got a reputation for being a bit of a thorn. Norton wouldn’t just act in films: He’d try to wrestle them into a certain shape. That meant an incomprehensible Hulk that heavily bore his fingerprints, but not enough that he would promote it upon release. He also washed his hands of The Italian Job, which he starred in only under threat of lawsuit. And his true starring vehicles became more and more esoteric: Leaves of Grass and Down in the Valley grossed less than a million each domestically; Stone and The Painted Veil made only seven figures.

    With Birdman, the new film by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, this all changes. Norton plays a stage actor named Mike Shiner, (in)famous for taking the authenticity of theater — a truth in Birdman’s philosophy of Old Man Yells at Cloud — to its illogical extreme. Every time he enters the frame, he could show any emotion and behave any way. Shiner’s only trait is his inconsistency; he’s like a roulette wheel.

    Birdman is about Riggan Thomson, played by Michael Keaton, an actor known for his two-decades-old turn as a superhero, now trying to resurrect his career by way of Serious Art. (Is this a description of Thomson or Keaton? Exactly!) Thomson opts to adapt, direct, and star in a Broadway version of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” and Shiner comes on at three minutes to midnight as a replacement cast member.

    Norton’s first scene in the film sees Shiner rehearsing the play with Thomson. In 90 seconds, Norton runs through a Crayola box of tones and emotions, jumping between Shiner and Shiner’s character in the play like he’s changing shirts. Throughout the rest of Birdman, flexibility defines his performance. He fistfights in a floral Speedo. He wields an erection like it’s his first. He throws himself into being a maniac. Norton empties the playbook, turning a flimsy role into Dada madness.

    So far, in the hype cycle around Birdman, Keaton’s been the main point of praise, but his performance feels showy to me, through no fault of his own — he just doesn’t have much to work with, and his fireworks seem unearned. He’s at his best in his scenes with Norton, when his character has a real counterpoint. When Keaton and Norton go at it, the spectacle becomes the point.

    Norton is so good in Birdman that it makes you imagine alternative histories. What if, instead of focusing on United Nations ambassadorships and Obama documentaries — you know, important things — Norton had acted more? The mind reels. Could you have seen him in the Matt Damon role in The Departed? As Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer? As a member of Ocean’s Eleven?

    In an industry full of antiheroes, there might not be an actor better than Norton at making us feel like we’re seeing anger and confusion for the first time. He’s so good at playing frustrated, searching, and sexually unwell that he’s ready-made Sunday-night TV. Somebody, please make that show.


  27. These articles are really insightful and I think it might be interesting if the author wrote articles about actors who have managed to stay relevant for more than a decade such as brad pitt whose arguably at the top of the A-list right now or even Tom Cruise who despite the couch jumping has still managed to make atleast somewhat profitable films.

    I just like to figure out why certain actors flame out after a promising start and why some keep on going even after 3 decades.


    • I have done a few articles along the lines of what you are talking about. I call that series, The A-list. As it turns out, there is even an entry on Tom Cruise although it’s a couple years old.


      • Thanks for the reply and the article was a good read. I have to admit though I am a fan and I will always give his movies a watch because I like the majority of his work and yes hes not the same caliber as daniel day lewis but I think his performances in magnolia and collateral prove that he has some acting talent.


        • Cruise is a talent and he has been incredibly smart with his career choices. You won’t find a better constructed movie career out there. It’s why he remains one of the top movie stars in the world for decades!


  28. it also helps cruise lets directors call the shots lebeau u forgot also jack nicholson hes the few actors who still remains at an old age his last leading role was bucket list he was 70 years old it made over 100 million him and cruise bar none have the best resume like cruise if u look at jacks resume almost spotless he needs an article u nemtioned before connery the only actor u can think of that became an a list leading man at his age jack done that his resume is better then connerys too bar none best resume ever


  29. Actors who should have been huge?

    « Reply #52 on: July 15, 2010, 05:19:04 AM »

    Ed Norton I think got into the habit of playing the smarmy ahole, and it hurt his career. Maybe its me, but I think the sign of a good actor is the ability to take almost any character or role and make it yours. Oh, and never get stuck playing one role or that’s your a.


  30. There was a long-lost article profiling Ben Stiller, who worked for Norton when Norton was directing “Keeping The Faith”, one of my favourite movies, and more than a little underrated as a 1950s throwaway style flick. In the article, Stiller expressed that Norton was a little difficult to work with as a director and as an actor–that he was a bit of a perfectionist.

    I believe his reputation (and his PR person’s inability to battle the bad press effectively) killed off his momentum, but ultimately every big star has about 3 years where they are huge, and Norton was never huge–just very talented and lucky at the right time. I think he will eventually maneuver enough clout to impress the world again, but it won’t be in a big-budget film. More than likely it will be a supporting-actor turn, then a move to TV.


    • 12 Bitchiest Movie Stars In Hollywood:

      “You don’t want Edward Norton to star in your movie.” ~ screenwriter Joe Eszterhas in his sleazy memoir The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood.

      Ever wondered why Edward Norton doesn’t star in more movies? The two-time Oscar nominated actor has proved his thespian powers again and again, but somehow he still remains more of a supporting actor than a leading man. Rumors that Norton can be hard to work with have circulated for years, but no one really took them seriously until The Incredible Hulk incident.

      Marvel cast Norton into their universe as Bruce Banner in what was sure to be a hulk-smash of a move. However, when executives sat down with the actor to hash out the role, Norton made it very clear that he wanted to do more than just star. In their first meeting, despite production already being under way, Norton was insistent that he be able to rewrite the script.

      A dubious Marvel agreed, including most of Norton’s ideas in the beginning, only to cut them out for the theatrical release. Bruce got angry, really angry, especially when the Writer’s Guild ruled he had not contributed enough to the script to receive credit. The fallout was made bluntly obvious when Marvel recast the role for The Avengers with Mark Ruffalo.


      • Re: Who is Blacklisted in Hollywood and why (bring the tea):

        I’ve always heard Ed.ward Nor.ton was blacklisted by the studios after Incredible Hulk. He drove Ang Lee crazy trying to direct himself, rewriting the screenplay. Nor.ton thinks he’s God’s gift. He managed to get into 2 indies this year and was lucky they were both hits. But if you look on his IMDb, the only thing he has lined up is voicing a cartoon. I guess the studios still don’t trust him and it isn’t like he has any box office pull.

        He’s a very good actor, but he’s not as great as he thinks he is. And he isn’t hot at all, so it looks like it’ll take more than one Oscar nom to dig himself out of the hole he dug himself into.


        • Examples of when actors go “Hollywood”

          Post by uppitynerd on 4 hours ago
          5 hours ago Captain White Tiger said:
          What I mean is what actors can you name had started to “feel their hype” and demand more money, try to get creative freedom or just became a pain to work with.

          Terrence Howard is first I can think of in regards to Iron Man where he demanded more money. Edward Norton falls into that category as well with when it came to Avengers.

          I can’t think of any TV show examples at the moment

          Norton’s problem isn’t money or fame, he’s always said he would hate to be the kind of actor that couldn’t ride a subway in New York. Norton is just a pain in the ass to work with, a lot of times he does help with rewrites with the script, but it normally ends up with some kinda of drama behind the scenes with either the director, other writers or the studio.


      • 10 Actors/Actresses No One Wants To Work With

        Edward Norton

        Edward Norton may be responsible for bringing down The Incredible Hulk, and that is no small feat! Super hero movies are normally successful blockbuster hits, but Norton’s insistence on script re-writes and fights with producers over the film’s running time and end product, wreaked havoc on the production. The feud was very public and Universal’s Adam Fogleson was forced to plan a promotional tour that avoided awkward media interviews regarding the feud. For all the extra leg-work, the film was a flop and Edward Norton’s projects have been limited ever since. Guess people in the industry talk! Pays to be nice!


      • 15 ‘Nice’ Celebrities Who Are Secretly Jerks


        Edward Norton has turned in some truly captivating performances in his last 23 years, playing everything from a Neo-Nazi to The Incredible Hulk — but as it turns out, that doesn’t mean the actor is always the most pleasant person to work with.

        Norton is notorious for making crazy on set demands that often involved him stepping on the writer’s and director’s toes. When he starred in Reg Dragon opposite Anthony Hopkins, Norton reportedly rewrote multiple pages of the script and brought them to set, demanding that they be filmed. On American History X, Norton clashed with the crew again, demanding that he get to assemble a final cut of the film after believing the director’s version was simply inadequate.

        Then there was The Incredible Hulk, where Norton was apparently so demanding with the story that Marvel and the actor decided to part ways, with Mark Ruffalo taking over the role ever since.


  31. How The Director Of ‘American History X’ Sabotaged Himself Out Of Hollywood:

    Everything Tony Kaye does is brash. From the hair he sometimes grows out, until he looks like a skinnier version of Rick Rubin, to his adequate stack of films, to the music he creates, it all screams bold streak. If you were to learn anything from listening to the director strum his guitar and wail into the atmosphere, it would be that compromise is a hell, one he refuses to visit. Once a shoo-in for one of the more talented directors of our time, Kaye moved from commercial work to a breakout feature film debut with 1998’s American History X.

    As good as that film was, Kaye disowned it, wanting to rather position his dog or Humpty Dumpty in the “directed by” credit. He clashed with actors, studios, producers, editors, and ultimately himself. It’s a story that continues today. Kaye has softened, but according to several co-workers (including Bryan Cranston), not by much. His antics, controversial and incendiary, have placed him on Hollywood’s list of the ex-communicated, and it’s hard to tell when or if he’ll be scratched from it.

    The trouble with Tony didn’t really begin on the set of American History X, it happened in the preceding months during post-production. According to Kaye — who was considered “hot-headed” even during his brilliant commercial work era — he received the script for the film, and immediately began rewriting large portions of it. When New Line was pushing for Edward Norton to receive the lead role of a violent skinhead who goes through a rehabilitation process in prison, Tony pushed back. Eventually, after he couldn’t find anyone “better” to take the role, he agreed to direct Norton with an air of begrudgery.

    “He’s a phenomenally talented guy,” Kaye said in a 1998 interview. “And if I had a project that I thought he was right for, I would most certainly work with him again. Even though I have described him as a narcissistic dilettante, which is exactly what he is…”

    After the film finished wrapping, Kaye handed in a 96-minute cut, and that’s when things slid downhill faster than a greased up boxcart. New Line gave Kaye pages of notes, the producers gave him a stack of questions, Norton handed him pages of editing changes, and it was more than Kaye could handle. The director threw what he calls a “hissy fit,” and New Line in response banned him from the editing room while giving Edward Norton the keys. In 2002, Kaye wrote a piece in the Guardian detailing his time on the film:

    My problem all through American History X was that I could never tell anyone what I wanted to do with the film. Sometimes I didn’t even know myself. More often, I was so intimidated by the process that I went into meltdown if I wasn’t left alone to work things out. Of course, if you actually listened to what Norton was saying, you could hear that none of it made sense in film-making terms: that’s not his forte, as you’ll know if you saw the movie that he directed, Keeping the Faith. “Pretty f*cking awful” hardly covers that one.

    Despite Kaye’s attempts to get back in the editing suite, New Line produced its own cut of the film that was roughly 40 minutes longer than the one Kaye created. He took this as a renegotiation and ruining of his work, and his antics began escalating. When the studio asked him to discuss coming back for the marketing and press surrounding the film’s release, he showed up to the meeting with a rabbi, a priest, and a monk. When the film was set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival — a large launching pad for many smaller films — Kaye disrupted the proceedings by convincing TIFF not to screen the film.

    At one point, Kaye stopped speaking to the studio and producers, hiring an intermediary to take his phone calls and communicated with New Line through paid ads in Hollywood trades like Variety. He showed up at interviews proclaiming he was better than Hitchcock, and said in one interview, “I’ve been playing with film for 15 or 16 years and to be honest with you, I consider myself the greatest craftsman/director/imagemaker on this planet and I defy anyone to try and create film like me when I’m allowed to work in a way that suits my style and my personality.” Between the ads and the extra editing suite time, Kaye had spent over $1 million of his own money trying to see his cut of the film to fruition. It was all for naught when the studio released their cut.

    Afterwards, Kaye fell into debt, his marriage began crumbling, and even the Hollywood friends he did maintain wouldn’t work with him anymore. Marlon Brando had taken him under his wing during this time, finding a kindred, rebellious spirit in the director, but Kaye managed to sully that relationship, as well.

    When I decided to start using the phone again, (Brando) called and asked me to direct an acting masterclass that he wanted to film for a DVD. He intended it to be a tutorial in how to use acting, performance, lying, in your everyday life; it was really a genius idea. After asking me to direct, he then decided we should co-direct, which sounded like hell to me. So I said: “No, Marlon, I’ll just be in it.” On the first day, I turned up dressed as Osama bin Laden. He wasn’t too happy. He phoned me the next morning and said, “I didn’t like that. This is my show, not yours.”

    The next day, Kaye dressed appropriately, but led a revolt of the students — against Brando — right out the front door. Believing that he was doing the kind of farcical work that Charlie Chaplin did with Hitler, Kaye took the bin Laden bit to comedy clubs and poetry readings — right after 9/11 — where he was overtly chastised. After several years of being blackballed and falling into bankruptcy, Kaye finally got in the good graces of a few names in Hollywood, and he was offered some directing work only to be fired from two separate projects after throwing a tantrum. In the mid-2000s, Kaye went back to commercial and music video work, directing the video for the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Dani California” among others.

    These days, Kaye said that he’s learned from his mistakes. He’s directed a handful of shorts, documentaries, and features, but nothing close to the bravado that came with American History X. “I’m trying to work with great actors and get performances that are different,” he told the Guardian. “I like to think I’m going to be more successful in the future – and have the things I could have had if I’d contained my passion better than I did with American History X. Now I’ve learned. Now I hope I’m having a moment.”

    Yet, not everyone agrees with the new Kaye. In 2012, Bryan Cranston worked with the temperamental director on Detachment and seemed less than enthusiastic about his time on the set. “…I felt that Carl Lund, the writer of Detachment, wrote a really beautiful, haunting script. And I didn’t feel that it was honored. I was upset with that. I really was. And so I didn’t see the movie. Tony Kaye is a very complicated… interesting fellow. I don’t believe that I’ll be working with him again… And I’m not the only actor on that film to feel that way.”


  32. Edward Norton Has Some Thoughts On Fixing The Expensive ‘Dog And Pony’ Oscar Process:

    For the 2015 awards season, Edward Norton enjoyed the honor of a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Birdman. This nod from one’s peers is amongst the most coveted moments an actor can enjoy, and the search for validation sends grown adults into student council election mode. The only problem with Edward’s nomination is that he didn’t enjoy the process much. The back pats must have been flattering at first, but the process takes months. Norton didn’t even suffer as much as Michael Keaton, whose campaign somehow continued long past the awards season itself.

    Birdman crusaded like a champ. It’s a wonder that director Alejandro González Iñárritu had a spare moment to direct his next overwrought production with all his campaigning. In addition to all the pavement pounding from nominees themselves, studios waged expensive “for your consideration” ads. Norton believes the whole process is a waste, and it places indie movies in a precarious financial position. Norton has some thoughts on how to staunch the Oscar-related wallet bleeding:

    “I’ve talked about this with some people. I think the Academy could do things. Nobody in the industry cares about any of it except the Academy, which carries weight, because they’re peers. The rest of it is seen as a dog and pony show. The Academy, which is a private organization, could save the industry by saying, “It’s our award and we can do whatever we want.” They could say that any film putting out paid solicitation ads of any kind – all these for your consideration ads that cost millions and millions of dollars, which just solicit awards – they could say that any film using them is disqualified from the Academy Awards. It would end it overnight.”

    Norton, who must not have held a meeting with Harvey “Scissorhands” Weinstein before this interview, believes the studios would love his idea:

    “It’s not that radical. The studios would fall over dead, they’d be so happy. They don’t want to spend that money. I think they could go further. They could do things like say, “Look, we care about the Academy brand. You can go to your private appearances and your guild awards. If they’re televised, then you’re disqualified from the Academy Awards.” People would be like, “I guess that’s that. I’m not going.”

    Yeah, this won’t happen. The awards circuit only helps indie movies that few people would otherwise watch without the buzz. Plus, the TV and fashion industries profit from televised awards shows, and the advertisers clearly get something out of the bargain, as well. Norton could always refuse to attend awards shows on his own, but that’s probably about as far as this will get.


  33. ‘Fight Club’ was released in theaters 16 years ago today.


  34. Dustin hoffman ,russell crowe and Bruce willis had reputation for being difficult to work with. It never hurt their career. As good as norton is for most part he chooses less mainstream movies anyways. I don’t think he ever cared about box office.


  35. I like keeping the faith. It wont go down as nortn best but it something different for him. It was chance to take break from heavy drama doing a light fun comedy.


  36. Why wasn’t Edward Norton’s career as big and successful as Leo DiCaprio or Brad Pitt in the 2000s?


  37. Why Edward Norton is impossible to work with

    Edward Norton was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2015 Academy Awards for his performance in Birdman. The movie, and Norton’s role, blur the lines between reality and fiction. Michael Keaton—a former Batman—plays an actor trying to escape the shadow of a string of superhero movies. Norton plays a selfish, pretentious actor whom nobody wants to work with because he’s so difficult. At least Norton has a sense of humor about his reputation—he’s reportedly not the most easy-going guy on movie sets, due to his demands to “help” write or rewrite a number of movies in which he’s appeared.


    • Why Edward Norton Doesn’t Get Many Movie Offers


      • What I’ve gathered from here is that Norton cares more about the films he’s making than the people “in charge”. Norton seems to only want to star in films as long as they’re good – which is understandable.

        With the “Hulk”, seems like he wanted to make more of an obscure romantic, humanized drama with a monster twist, than Marvel’s generic action mumbo jumbo (which, in his defense, this was before we knew where Marvel was going with their films). With “Frida” it seems like he was asked to make it more accurate and he did, and still got flack for it. In “Death to Smoochy” it seems like he just didn’t think the clothes the costume designer had picked were good enough.

        However on the same token, the problem with Norton isn’t that he wants to make the “movie good”. Lots of actors push their ideas to the directors. That’s why the quality of their projects is consistent despite different writers and directors The fundamental problem with Norton is how he does it. He rides roughshod and burns bridges. Your co-workers are people too. Also, we only know that “American History X” turned out good but we don’t know how many projects he messed up with his meddling (other than “Hulk”) because of course he doesn’t send his publicist to leak that part.


      • Why Edward Norton doesn’t get many movie offers

        Edward Norton was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2015 Academy Awards for his performance in Birdman. The movie, and Norton’s role, blur the lines between reality and fiction. Michael Keaton—a former Batman—plays an actor trying to escape the shadow of a string of superhero movies. Norton plays a selfish, pretentious actor whom nobody wants to work with because he’s so difficult. At least Norton has a sense of humor about his reputation—he’s reportedly not the most easy-going guy on movie sets, due to his demands to “help” write or rewrite a number of movies in which he’s appeared.

        What happened with Red Dragon

        During the filming of the Silence of the Lambs sequel, Red Dragon, Norton showed up on set to film his scenes as FBI profiler Will Graham. In his hand: brand-new (and totally unsolicited) script pages that Norton had taken it upon himself to write, and that he demanded to film. Director Brett Ratner and his producers didn’t take kindly to that, and there was much arguing. You can’t blame them though—movie scenes have to be carefully planned out, budgeted, and storyboarded before filming … not to mention the basic chain of command that makes a movie set run smoothly. Norton disrespected all of that, so you can see why everyone else was angry with him.

        What happened with The Incredible Hulk

        In 2008, Marvel Studios reacquired the rights to the Incredible Hulk from Universal, following the poorly reviewed 2003 Hulk. Marvel opted to reboot the franchise as The Incredible Hulk and hired Zak Penn (who’d co-written a couple of X-Men movies) to write the screenplay. The studio approached Norton to star, and he initially turned it down. But after meeting with director Louis Leterrier, Norton signed on, provided any suggestions he made to Penn’s screenplay be incorporated into the shooting script. Norton evidently did a substantial rewrite of the movie just weeks before filming started—far too late to change anything structural or major. But Leterrier shot as much of Norton’s script as possible, along with Penn’s, which resulted in a very messy, convoluted cut of The Incredible Hulk that apparently out-terrible’d even the Universal version. Marvel executives hated the edit, and ordered a new one, with more action and less dialogue and character development—the latter two were largely Norton’s focus. Understandably, the star was livid.

        Marvel so resented Norton’s meddling, in fact, that when it came time to bring the Hulk back to the big screen as part of The Avengers, Norton got the boot and the role was given to Mark Ruffalo. Studios almost never comment on why or why not an actor doesn’t get cast in a movie, but Marvel took the rare step of issuing a statement about why Norton was dropped. According to the statement, they wanted “an actor who embodies the creative and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members.” In short: they were sick of him and didn’t want to deal with his shenanigans again.

        What happened with Frida

        In Frida, the 2002 biopic about legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Norton played Nelson Rockefeller, the billionaire who commissioned Kahlo’s husband, Diego Rivera, to paint a mural in New York’s Rockefeller Center. Norton’s then-girlfriend, Salma Hayek, starred as Kahlo, and Frida was her passion project—she’d been trying to get the movie made for years. She obviously wanted to get every detail perfect, so even though the writers turned in a fine screenplay, Hayek wasn’t satisfied. She asked Norton to conduct scores more research on Kahlo and use whatever information he found to extensively rewrite the Frida screenplay.

        Norton did just that, and despite claiming that he wrote the movie, he was denied credit by the Writers Guild—an organization of which he was not a member at the time. An angered Norton trashed them in the press—while doing interviews for Red Dragon, Norton told a reporter, “I got shafted by the Writers Guild at the last minute, but I wrote the draft that got made.”

        What happened with Death to Smoochy

        It’s not just studio bigwigs, producers, writers, and directors that Norton will go toe-to-toe with: He’ll even clash with the costume department if he has to. During production of the 2002 dark comedy Death to Smoochy, the film’s costume designer, Jane Ruhm, presented Norton with a wide variety of clothes for his character, a laid-back children’s show host. Ruhm’s selections befitted that of the hippie described by the film’s script, but that wasn’t good enough for Norton. Without Ruhm’s knowledge, or anyone else really, Norton commissioned Armani to design him the ultimate in hippie chic: a suit made of actual hemp. Then, because he wasn’t being enough of a jerk, he apparently forced Ruhm to deal with all the paperwork and negotiations associated with getting such a suit made and sent to set.

        What happened with American History X

        Norton was nominated for an Oscar for starring in the searing 1998 skinhead drama American History X, but that’s not all he did on the movie: He also edited it, not that anybody had asked him to beforehand. During the shoot, Norton and director Tony Kaye clashed often about character motivation and dialogue, but nothing major. Things got really bad during the editing phase, however—Kaye worked with film editors to create a tight, economical, 95-minute cut of the film. When he saw it, Norton thought that Kaye had cut way too much of what they’d filmed, consequently ruining the movie. Not wanting to upset their bankable star, the production company relented to Norton’s demand that he make his own (longer, and more Norton-centric) cut of the movie. That new cut, which clocked in at well over two hours, made it to film festivals and theaters. That really made Kaye mad—He even asked the Directors Guild to remove his name from the film’s credits and replace it with “Humpty Dumpty,” but his request was denied. His $200 million lawsuit against the production didn’t fly, either.)

        Despite the film’s obvious success, Kaye and Norton have not worked together since—probably the 40 ads Kaye took out in trade papers eviscerating Norton, and that time he told a reporter the actor was “a narcissistic dilettante who raped the film” had something to do with it.

        He’s working behind the scenes a lot

        One of Norton’s most recent roles came in Seth Rogen’s deliriously profane animated movie Sausage Party, in which Norton voiced Sammy Bagel Jr., a bagel with a voice that sounded a lot like Woody Allen. The character—and his familiar-sounding voice—were actually Norton’s idea.

        As Rogen told Deadline, when he and collaborator Evan Goldberg came up with the idea for Sausage Party, Norton was one of the first people he told. Beyond playing a part in Sammy’s characterization, Norton was instrumental in helping Sausage Party get produced, encouraging Rogen and Goldberg to proceed when the going got tough and convincing other big stars to voice characters in the movie, particularly Kristen Wiig and Salma Hayek.

        He’s also a producer

        He’s receded from the spotlight, but Norton has stayed busy on the production side. He’s a producer on Lewis & Clark, a long-gestating HBO miniseries about the explorers who trudged through the Louisiana Purchase at the dawn of the 19th century.

        Based on historian Stephen Ambrose’s landmark book Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West, filming on the project began in June 2015, before abruptly shutting down just two months later. Among the other problems facing the miniseries: director and co-writer John Curran quit, and there were script issues. As Norton has done on previous troubled projects, he took a pass at the script; his version was abandoned in favor of one written by Master of Sex creator Michelle Ashford. The six-part series, which stars Casey Affleck and Matthias Schoenaerts as Lewis and Clark, respectively, still doesn’t have a release date.

        His last big movie was a major bomb

        Norton’s most recent major live-action role came in the 2016 drama Collateral Beauty. A quirky film with spiritual themes, it’s about an advertising executive named Howard Inlet (Will Smith) who after suffering a devastating personal loss, writes letters to the concepts of Love, Time, and Death. Norton portrayed a business associate of Howard’s in the star-studded film, which also featured Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Naomie Harris, and Helen Mirren.

        After attracting some pre-release Oscar buzz, Collateral Beauty flopped hard upon its release, earning a mere $31 million, and had the misfortune of opening the same weekend as mega-smash Rogue One. Critics liked it even less than audiences—it amassed just 13 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Although Norton wasn’t singled out by critics as one of the movie’s major problems, Collateral Beauty definitely wasn’t a comeback vehicle for him.

        What’s next for Edward Norton

        Even actors who may not be as visible as they once were still usually have at least a couple of projects in the pipeline. But Norton doesn’t seem to have much planned for the immediate future. The Internet Movie Database doesn’t list any upcoming acting credits for Norton in 2017, and his sole acting project for 2018 release is currently a voice credit in stop-motion animated effort Isle of Dogs, directed by Wes Anderson, with whom Norton previously worked on Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Here’s hoping we’ll see, and not just hear, Norton a little more in the years to come.


  38. If ed norton did appear in avengers as orignal planned i wonder if his career would sky rocket like mark ruffalo. Mark career skyrocket after that, It lead more hit films. robert downy jr did cameo in incredable hulk to set up for avengers movie but i know norton was not called back due to diffuclt ehaviour


  39. Jennifer Shepherd

    I loved Norton as Will Graham in The Red Dragon. Which I’m a huge Anthony Hopkins fan and Love all of the movies which he portrays Hannibal Lector! I never Knew Norton was so difficult to work with




      Now this is a problem which I’m bewildered by. Famous movie stars have been very influential in getting movies made as far back as the early 20th century, but up until the millennium casting tended to be fairly good on the whole. At the very least actors tended to look the part for their roles, but I find with a lot of movies today the casting is totally wrong. Take the movie Red Dragon, which was a remake of Manhunter. The script was decent, the direction was mediocre and the cast was just awful. Ralph Fiennes (or Rafe Fines or however the hell you pronounce his name) is a very good actor, but he looks nothing like the serial killer character that was in the original movie nor the description given in the novel. Same goes for Edward Norton, a good actor who doesn’t fit the role of the cop character he plays. William Peterson was much better in the original. And then the series Hannibal had even worse casting. The guy who played Lecter himself was decent, I thought, but the rest of the cast was awful. Even the genders and ethnicities of key characters are changed from the original novels and movie versions. Was that just to fit in with the stupid social group representation political correctness trend? Scott Glenn was great in Silence of the Lambs as the behavioral crime unit boss – he had that enduring sadness fitting with his line of work, but Lawrence Fishburne (who I like generally) doesn’t fit the bill. And this is happening all over the place. There’s a good reason the studios never took up Dustin Hoffman’s desire to play James Bond.


  40. Salma Hayek recalls Harvey Weinstein ‘fury’ on ‘Frida’ set in op-ed

    Salma Hayek said in her piece that Edward Norton helped her by doing script re-writes (for no credit) that Weinstein was demanding.


  41. Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin join thriller directed by Edward Norton

    Edward Norton just secured some A-list talent for his upcoming thriller Motherless Brooklyn.

    Deadline reports that Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin have signed on for roles opposite Norton, who also wrote the movie and will direct. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Cloverfield Paradox) has also joined the cast that already includes Willem Dafoe, Leslie Mann, Michael K. Williams, Cherry Jones, Ethan Suplee, Josh Pais, Fisher Stevens, and Robert Wisdom.

    Inspired by by Jonathan Lethem’s novel of the same name, the movie is set in New York in the ’50s and centers on Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome. As he tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Willis), he puts his obsessive mind to the test and unravels secrets that could affect the future of the entire city.

    Willis will also star in the upcoming reboot of Death Wish, and he’s working on Glass, M. Night Shyamalan’s sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable and 2016’s Split. Meanwhile, Baldwin is in this summer’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout and he’ll play Jack Nicholson’s role in NBC’s live production of A Few Good Men.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: