|August 18, 2003
Happy Birthday Edward!
Edward Norton was born in Boston, Massachusetts 34 years ago today.
|August 15, 2003
CR audio, Oyez to Hustler, The Job never dies, Bye Bye for Blumberg
If you missed EN's July 24 appearance on the Charlie Rose Show, the audio is now available on the
show's website in the archive section
(or you could just put in "edward norton" in their site search engine). Also, I read an Aug 7 NY Times
article on Oyez.org, which posts audio files from U.S. Supreme Court
cases. I visited the site and found the audio of the December 1987 argument given by Alan Isaacman in
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. In The People vs. Larry Flynt, Edward Norton
reenacts portions of Isaacman's argument. Oyez.org:
Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. The Italian Job is going to be re-released in theaters on
Labor Day weekend (Aug 29). On October 7th,
The Italian Job will be
released on DVD. I don't have all the info yet but it supposed to have deleted scenes, featurettes,
a gag reel, as well as some other features. Also coming out on DVD that same day will be the original Italian
Job which stars Michael Caine, so if you try to buy it, double check your getting the one you want. Just
to you remind you, EN did The Italian Job out of a contractural obligation, not by choice. So why
am I pushing the DVD? Short answer: Mortgage. Of note, EN's collaborator Stuart Blumberg is writing the
script to remake Bye Bye Birdie (Variety Aug 11). The reason I'm bringing it up is I
don't know how that will impact on some of EN's upcoming projects. Blumberg wrote and is producing
Fear Itself (EN is also a producer - no word on the status of the project).
For Motherless Brooklyn, both men are producing with EN working on the script.
However, the Variety Birdie annoucement implied that Blumberg was also working on the script
(maybe a product of poor phrasing). Blumberg wrote the Keeping the Faith script,
both he and EN produced, and EN directed and starred in the film.
|July 25, 2003
EN on Charlie Rose Show
Last night, EN was a guest on the Charlie Rose Show, not to promote a film, only to
talk. And they talked, nonstop for nearly forty minutes, on several different topics but
all with a similar theme. Rose started off with a quote from EN : "Whatever you do in life, you have
to connect with a sense of service." EN discussed several projects
outside of his profession with which he has been involved.
- Friends of the High Line- an "organization dedicated to
the preservation and reuse of the High Line, an elevated rail structure on the West Side of
- Yale University - Alumnus EN has endowed a fund to sponsor
undergraduate travel study grants to the Middle East.
- Enterprise Foundation - nonprofit
organization started by his grandfather Jim Rouse to assist in providing affordable housing. EN stressed that
they are not only focused on families at the very lowest income levels. He talked about the high number of
people who are spending more than 50% of their income on their housing.
In the remaining minutes, Rose asked EN about why he chose acting as his profession. EN also mentioned
that he had been and continues to work on a screenplay (he did not include the name). Right now, I can only
convey the bare essentials
of the conversation. The Charlie Rose Show
website will post a Real Audio file of the conversation probably sometime today or next week (I may get one up
before then - we'll see).
Getting back to the topic of his work, the unnamed screenplay mentioned in the
program is probably for Motherless Brooklyn. When EN and Spike Lee were on
the Charlie Rose Show in January, EN stated that he was going to take time off to work on the MB script
(he is also a producer and plans to star in the film as well). There is a slim possibility that it could also be
Fear Itself [he is a producer, the screenwriter is his longtime friend
Stuart Blumberg (Keeping the Faith), no mention of him acting in the film]. Back in August, Variety
announced that Miramax had hired John Polson ("Swimfan") to direct and that they were "looking to cast right away".
Almost a year later, there has been no additional info in the trades, however, EN has spoken about looking
forward to the project during press for the U.K. release of 25th Hour.
|July 13, 2003
High Line reception, Friars Roast
EN co-hosted a reception opening the Designing the High Line exhibition Wednesday night, July 9th,
at NYC's Grand Central Terminal. The exhibition consists of new ideas on how to use the High
Line, a no longer used elevated train track on Manhattan's lower West Side. Read the
NY Times article:
Playground? Park? Pool? All's Public but the Hair on the reception or
check out the Friends
of the High Line press release.
Tonight, the Friars Club of California will roast Hustler magazine publisher
Larry Flynt. EN and Woody Harrelson (both starred in The People vs. Larry Flynt)
will be there. Will they share a few choice words about Flynt at the roast?
Probably, but I'm not positive.
Friars Roast Flynt in the Flesh
|June 13, 2003
EN at De Niro tribute, Update on
Last night, EN was one of the presenters at the AFI tribute to Robert De Niro. "'What Brando was for his
generation, Bob became for mine,' actor Edward Norton says. 'He is the kind of actor others aspire to be --
not as a good-looking actor, but because he is a transformative character actor. We have careers
because he helped change what young actors were shooting for and what the
possibilities were for us.'"(source: Hollywood Reporter's
Leading role). The tribute will air on the USA network Monday, June 23. The only pics I have of EN at the tribute
are a handful of baby thumbnails from (the unpaid section of) Wireimage. Hopefully more will turn up.
Update- Yesterday, 25th Hour director Spike Lee was granted an injunction to stop Viacom from using the name Spike TV until
the matter is decided through trial. EN provided an affidavit on Lee's behalf that the name Spike predominantly
brings to mind Spike Lee.
Spike Lee wins
temporary injunction Spike TV (Lee eventually settled with Viacom and there will be a Spike TV)
|June 4, 2003
EN supports Spike, AFI honors De Niro
Director Spike Lee filed suit against Viacom over its decision to rename cable channel TNN to "Spike TV"
in an effort to signal a shift towards male oriented programming. Lee stated in court documents, "The media
description of this change of name, as well as comments made to me and my wife, confirmed what was obvious —
that Spike TV referred to Spike Lee." EN, former Sen. Bill Bradley, and actor Ossie Davis are a few of the
people who supplied affidavits where they indicated that the name "Spike TV" made them think of Spike Lee and
some believed after hearing the name that Lee had become involved with the network.
story: Spike Lee Sues Viacom on Cable Name Plan or
read EN's affidavit
(Smoking Gun website)
EN will be one of the attendees when Robert De Niro receives the American Film Institute's (AFI) lifetime achievement award
from director Martin Scorsese. The ceremony will be held on June 16 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood with other
guests to include Billy Crystal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Ben Stiller, Meryl Streep and James Woods.
It will air on the USA network Monday, June 23. EN co-starred with De Niro and Marlon Brando in The Score -
AFI official website
|May 20, 2003
EN receives Obie Award
EN received an OBIE award for his performance in Burn This. The
The Village Voice OBIE Awards recognize excellence in off-Broadway productions.
OBIE Awards Official
Site [Thanks to Karen for the info!]
|May 12, 2003
A miracle? EN sings
Seaching news stories, I stumbled upon a FOXnews.com story with one little surprise.
Salma's Miracle Triumphs Over Ed's Job.
EN skipped yesterday's premiere of The Italian Job at the Tribeca Film Festival to attend Salma Hayek's
directing debut The Maldonado Miracle which premiered at the same time. The surprise? Apparently EN
sings "the song that closes the movie." FOX reported this as EN's "singing
debut", they must have missed Everyone Says I Love You, Keeping the Faith, Death to
Smoochy, and Primal Fear (he sang in a choir, but I count it anyway). The Maldonado Miracle
airs on Showtime in September.
|May 8, 2003
PVLF Special Edition, Lortel Awards, Signature Theatre Gala, SARS
Just found out that The
People Vs. Larry Flynt was rereleased in a special edition form
on May 6. The new special edition contains 2 commentary tracks (the first with EN, Woody Harrelson, and
Courtney Love and the second with screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski), (2) deleted scenes,
and two 30 minute featurettes (one is behind the scenes on the film, one is on Larry Flynt), photo gallery,
New York Times film review. The
People Vs. Larry Flynt special edition.
Monday night, EN was present at the 18th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for
Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway. He was nominated for Outstanding
Lead Actor for his work in the Signature Theatre Company's
production of Lanford Wilson's Burn This which also
received a nomination for Outstanding Revival. Unfortunately, Burn This didn't
pick up any awards, however, another of Signature's
productions, Wilson's Fifth of July received the award for Outstanding Revival.
Pic of EN and Salma Hayek at the Lucille
Lortel Awards [Thanks to Karen for the pic!]
Monday must have been a busy night since EN was also scheduled to co-host the
Signature Theatre Company's celebration in honor of Edward
Albee and Elizabeth Ireland McCann. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures or details yet on how much
money was raised at the event for the Signature Theatre Company.
EN has a long history with Signature: he is currently on Signature's Board of Trustees, he performed
sold-out shows of Burn This this past fall, and he was in the world premiere of
Signature's production of Edward Albee's "Fragments" back in 1994. The Signature Theatre
Company devotes an entire season to the works of one playwright- "Rain Dance", the final play of the
season on Lanford Wilson, is now playing and the 2003-2004 season will feature the
work of Bill Irwin. Theater that's Making a Mark (an article written
by EN on Signature and its artistic director James Houghton).
EN's father Ed Norton has been working for the Nature Conservancy's Yunnan Great Rivers
Project in Kunming, China. His wife, Ann McBride Norton, provided a commentary on today's
All Things Considered, on the state of China's medical system and SARS.
Living with the Threat of SARS.
More on the Yunnan Great Rivers Project
|May 5, 2003
What new film?
EN's newest movie The Italian Job opens May 30th. Unfortunately, the only reason he did
the film was to avoid litigation with Paramount (full story). Although EN is unable to discuss the
situation, he hints in the May 2003 issue of Total Film that you might want to pass on the movie.
Here's an excerpt of the article:
"Hypothetically speaking, if I was forced into doing a movie I didn't want to do, I would
resent it intensely. Preparation would not be at the forefront of my mind. I would encourage anyone who's
a fan of my work to skip the film. Hypothetically speaking."
|May 1st part 2, 2003
I was rereading London
Times article today and realized that I HAD MISSED a section of EN's comments on the war on terror
that preceded his comments about George W. Bush. These were not included by the New York Post
and without them it seems like he is making random attack on Bush during an interview. When you read all of
it, his frustration with the war on terror is evident.
The authors of The New York Post Page Six column read the London Times article and chose only to use the most sensational
quotes and they did their damage. It influenced a good number of readers. I aspire to better than that- but
I spectacularly missed the mark in this case. They were right in front of me and I missed them.
It was a Thursday night and I had driven back to Maryland from listening to author Dan Brown talk about "The
Da Vinci Code" at a Borders in Falls Church,VA. When I got in after 11 PM and checked my email, I knew
something was going on since several new hate mail messages came in. I found the Post article, found
the Times article when yet another message came in, this time with the catchy subject line "DEATH TO
TRAITORS!!", and I decided it might be a good time to shut off the website email. So by the time I did all this and
skimmed the material and wrote a response, it was 2:30 AM. And I didn't look at it again. I didn't
want to look at it again. So I managed to pass on the edited quotes (along with my own little diatribe) to
everyone who read the News section between April 23 and May 1st. And for that, I am truly sorry. Here are
It would be surprising if someone of Norton's intelligence had no political views, and despite the attack on his home city, he speaks out frankly against the notion of an ongoing "war on terror".
"When you have a vice-president saying that this is something that could go on for 50 or 60 years, invoking this perpetual phantom enemy, it's appalling," he argues. "I have family in the military. I support them and resent their being casually drawn into that kind of situation."
How does he rate George W Bush's performance as president? "As an
actor," he says, "I know in my gut, watching him, what a low-quality mind he has.
Because I've been doing this since I was five years old, I know when a person is
saying words that aren't their own - and it's as apparent as it could possibly be
to me that he's a mouthpiece, and not even a good mouthpiece. Reagan was a
B-movie actor, but at least he had the ability to touch certain emotional notes.
Bush is just utterly incapable of it."
|May 1, 2003
Total Film May 2003
I've been advised that I apparently misinterpreted EN's comments. I hated
Straw Dogs when I saw it way back when and have no desire to see it again, so
I'll just concede that I was oversensitive and I fucked up. And I stand by my mistakes, so it's below if you want
to read it.
"You almost want Susan George to get raped."
-Edward Norton on Straw Dogs in Total Film May 2003
I was physically sick when I read this yesterday. Since then, I've been trying to figure out
what to write about it. But then I realized there's nothing to write. You're either disturbed by it
or you're not. And if you're not, there is nothing I can write. I've been sitting here feeling very
alone, because apparently I am alone in
my reaction. Edward tossed off this comment in an interview without a second thought, it was published, and
has been out on U.K. shelves for weeks, yet nothing. I had been told that there was an interview in Total
and that he had some choice words about the Oscars and The Italian Job, but I was blindsided.
Edward has said a few things recently that I have thought were unwise (some of which, had I read the
all of his comments, I would have been less harsh in my criticism- See above). His prior comments seemed to be
more in the realm of a venting of frustration at the political situation. And I understand that. At best, this most recent
remark would seem to be an emotional
detachment from rape and its consequences, and at worst it's an unconscious throwback to the
"She was askin' for it" defense. Of course, either is an acceptable mind-set as long as you believe films bear
little resemblance to real life.
NOTE: I wrote my response above on the Straw Dogs remark before rereading the
Times article (see above) so I was already unduly influenced against EN. However, I don't
think I can change anything I wrote. It did upset me to hear of a rape (even a simulated rape in a film)
referred to in such
a nonchalant manner as if it was only as bad as receiving a traffic ticket.
Below are all of EN's comments on "Straw Dogs" and his upcoming remake Fear Itself
Moving swiftly on, the only other gig Norton has lined up is the intriguing Fear
Itself, a loose remake of Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs. This he can talk about, and
does so in a typically frank manner: "Straw Dogs is an over-revered classic," he states. "It's
very dated, a blunt instrument. You almost want Susan George to get raped. Me and my partner Stuart
Blumberg are interested in the themes of the movie and how to sophisticate it. We thought, 'What if
it wasn't about a guy finding his inner animal, but about a real relationship that undergoes a
crucible of violence?'"