May to August 2005
|August 31, 2005
Pride and Glory update, Name the Panda cub
There is a POSSIBILITY of EN and Colin Farrell working together on Pride and Glory. Yesterday's
rumor is not a certainty but neither is it total crap (I tend to fall into the total crap rumors more
than I'd like). We'll have to wait and see whether this will happen. Again, this is just a POSSIBLE project.
The male panda cub at the National Zoo has opened his eyes and now weighs over 6 pounds. At the 100 day mark,
he will be given a name. You can vote on a panda name (five choices are given) through the end of
September. I'm leaning towards Tai Shan (peaceful mountain) because he looks so tranquil when he sleeps.
However, if he grows to the size of his father Tian Tian, who weighs 276 pounds, Qiang Qiang
(strong, powerful) might be a more suitable name.
National Zoo Giant Pandas
Panda cub when he's not sleeping
|August 30, 2005
Pride and Glory?, Letter to Governor Schwarzenegger
A possible project??? Eleanor reports that yesterday's Irish Daily Mirror stated that Edward Norton
and Colin Farrell will be starring in a film called Pride and Glory. Since it's not in the trade
papers, I don't know if the Mirror's info is reliable. I started looking around and found that this project has been
around for a while with Hugh Jackman and Mark Wahlberg associated with it at one point. But there were only two
places talking about a Norton-Farrell pairing. In 8/11/05 update of
Hollywood Stock Exchange, the
casting of EN, CF and Jennifer Garner are announced, the source of the info is
apparently Production Weekly.
(8/24/05) has the casting of CF, but states that EN is rumored to be mulling over a role. This all seems very
sketchy to me, especially the part about a post-pregnancy working during the Alias hiatus Jennifer Garner
signed on with no media coverage. Wherefore art thou E! News? And if this info has been available since 8/11,
why has it not been propagated throughout the myriad of entertainment sites like almost every other film project.
I guess we'll find out soon enough. [Thanks to Eleanor for the info!]
Environment California issued
a press release today entitled Hollywood Calls for
Schwarzenegger to Take Action on Rocket Fuel in Colorado River. Here's some of the press release.
Close to twenty members of the
entertainment community, including Maria Bello, Edward Norton and Bradley
Whitford submitted a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger today, calling for
immediate action to clean up rocket fuel contamination of the Colorado River.
The letter asked the Governor to immediately establish a drinking water standard
for perchlorate, the primary component of rocket fuel at a level that would
force the primary company responsible for the contamination, Kerr McGee, to
fully clean up the millions of pounds of rocket fuel it has leaked into the
river over decades.
|August 18, 2005 (updated 2 PM)
Happy Birthday Edward!!, Unconfirmed Casting News, Casting notice
Today is Edward's 36th birthday. Still looking for a last minute gift? Take a look at the
post below and consider donating to one of Edward's favorite charities.
2PM update - I again revisted the IMDB's Painted
Veil message board that I mentioned below and found some unconfirmed casting info. "chinachick" reports that
Toby Jones is playing Waddington and Liev Schreiber is playing Charlie Townsend. Note that the casting notice
below is looking for a stand in for Toby Jones. It was earlier reported (
CRIENGLISH.com) that Anthony Wong has stated in an interview that he plays
a Chinese army officer in the film.
I found an interesting post on IMDB's Painted
Veil message board that provides some info on the upcoming movie.
casting for warner bros. in beijing for this movie
by brightkelly 3 hours ago(Wed Aug 17 2005 18:00:57)
I saw this on a chinese website, it recruits part-time
actors and actresses for this film.
East-Line Talent Management
Casting Call for “The Painted Veil”
A Warner Bros. film starring
Edward Norton and Naomi Watts
Looking for faces of all types and
colors, artists of all ages and sizes
European-looking men and women aged 35-40
- available to film on August 29th
- non-speaking: wage 800 rmb/day
- French women, aged 45 and up;
- available to film on 9/2, 9/7, 9/9, 9/12
wage 800 rmb/day
- French woman 50-60 years; role: nun
to film on 9/6, 9/7, 9/9
- speaking; wage 2,000/day
Edward Norton: 6’, fair-medium complexion, medium frame
waist 32, chest,
Naomi Watts: 5’5”, fair complexion, small frame
(shoe 7, waist 25, chest, 33)
Toby Jones: 5’8”, medium complexion,
(shoe 7, waist 25, chest, 33); - only 5 -
Requirements for height and measurements are somewhat flexible
- Ideal for
artists wanting on-set experience; involves standing in for
actors during lighting adjustment in preparation for
- A lot
of time will be spent on set, active time: working directly
for the actors, down-time: can be spent reading
- Must be available at least
on weekdays over the next month in
Beijing. Preferably a long-term
commitment, which would involve
shooting with the crew from 8/22 – 9/13 in
Beijing, and 9/14 – 11/7 in
Shanghai and Guangxi
- Wage: 30 dollars
U.S./day; hours: 5 – 12 hrs/day
Please send your photo, no more than two
(one headshot, one body shot)
at the earliest possible time to :
Specific Roles and Stand-In: email@example.com
|August 10, 2005
Edward's upcoming birthday, More Useless Trivia
Only a few more days remain until Edward's 36th birthday (Aug 18). What do you give a man who's got
so much? Why not donate to one of Edward's favorite charitable organizations.
The Enterprise Foundation
provides affordable housing to low-income families. The organization was started by his grandfather
James Rouse. Edward himself donated $1.1 million in January 2004
and is on the Board of Trustees. You might
also consider the Nature Conservancy.
Edward's father Ed Norton is the senior adviser to the
Yunnan Great Rivers Project in China.
The Signature Theatre Company devotes
an entire season to the work of one playwright. Before his film debut in Primal Fear, Edward
was in Signature's production of Edward Albee's Fragments and he received an Obie for his
performance in Burn This in 2002. He also serves on their Board of Trustees.
Edward also works with the The Friends of the High Line, which
is an organization working towards the preservation of the High Line, an elevated train line in Manhattan.
Edward devotes a good deal of his time to drawing attention to these worthy causes and I'm sure that
he would be grateful for a donation as a birthday gift.
article on Ron Livingston includes this interesting bit of trivia: "While at Yale, Livingston appeared in a production of Henry IV with Paul
Giamatti and directed classmates Edward Norton and Jennifer Westfeldt in The
No Longer 'That Guy'
|August 5, 2005
Poll, More KOH, Solar demand heating up
Edward Norton participated in a poll "to find the 100 songs, movies, TV shows and books that 'changed
the world' in the opinion of musicians, actors and industry experts" which is going to be published in
Uncut Magazine. Other participants included
Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher, Robert Downey Jr, Keith Richards, Lou Reed, Brian Wilson, Patti Smith and
Juliette Lewis. The dialogue among today's artists about the cultural impact of songs, films, etc. is
important. However, the articles on this story read like a press release to buy the magazine.
Contact Music reports some comments EN made to Empire Magazine about
Kingdom of Heaven
EDWARD NORTON decided his role as a leper monarch in recent blockbuster KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
should be uncredited because he wanted to bolster the sense of mystery
surrounding the masked character.
The twice-Oscar nominated actor believed his part as KING BALDWIN in the
historical epic had to be as low key as possible, because it would benefit the
characterisation of ORLANDO BLOOM's lead role.
Norton tells British magazine Empire, "I didn't want to be billed because
Orlando Bloom's character keeps hearing about him.
"There's this anticipation, this big mystery about him. It's the whole
"And it was a free trip to Morocco!"
Today's New York Times has an article discussing a solar power drawback: the increasing
demand has led to shortages in solar panels. The article also makes mention of
California's Million Solar Roofs legislation. EN has been a vocal supporter of the legislation
and he set up the Solar Neighbors Program.
NYT: Shortages Stifle a Boom Time for the Solar Industry
|August 4, 2005
Painted Veil filming, Just Rumors, It's a boy!!
Today's CRIENGLISH.com reports that
filming on The Painted Veil will start on August 15 at Beijing Film Studios.
Other locations include Shanghai and the southeastern province of Guangxi. Shooting is supposed to last
about 12 weeks.
The casting rumors about "La scala di Dioniso" (mentioned below) are, in fact, just rumors.
The National Zoo panda cub had its first exam on August 2
where it was discovered to be a male (weight 1.82 pounds and length 12 inches). He will be named by the
Chinese when he is 100 days old. And I'm still glued to the
|August 1, 2005
La scala di Dioniso, Panda cam
From the Italian film news, EN, Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins have been talked about for roles
in the film adaption of "La scala di Dioniso" by Luca Di Fulvio to be directed by Gabriele Salvatores.
All of the info I can find on this project has been in Italian. I'm not sure whether this casting
has moved beyond the "wishful thinking" phase into the realm of possibility. If you're interested in
reading more about this, check out the July 6
Cinematografo.it [Thanks to Silvia
for the info] [NOTE: they are just rumors]
I guess it's time to admit it. I'm obsessed with the Panda Cam. A little over three weeks ago,
a panda cub was born at the National Zoo. Ever since, the Panda Cam
(supplanting my previous obsession with the
National Zoo's Cheetah Cam)
has occupied a corner of my computer screen at both home and work, and my
speakers stay at high volume to carry the vocalizations of the cub. Take a look at
the cub below with mom
Panda Cam at Animal Planet site and
National Zoo Panda Cam (tends to get overloaded)
|July 15, 2005
NY Daily News
Today's New York Daily News has a few paragraphs on EN
Development hell: Ed Norton
isn't mourning stadium
If movie star Edward Norton never hears another mention of the West Side stadium, it'll be too soon.
At Wednesday night's Friends of the High Line summer benefit, the West Village resident
voiced his disdain for the Mayor Bloomberg-endorsed plan to build a new home for the Jets.
"I'm so happy that didn't happen," Norton told Lowdown. "I think that was an attempt to get the
New York taxpayer to pay for a bunch of rich people - who already have enough money and already
have stadiums in great places - to make more money. And it shouldn't be characterized as anything else."
While the Public Authorities Control Board in Albany rejected the football team's bid last
month, the Jets have vowed to keep trying.
But Norton insisted: "I do not think that a bunch of rich sports owners need the public to build
stadiums for them and devastate the already bad traffic situation on the West Side."
The actor has urban planning in his blood. His grandfather was James Rouse, who developed the
South Street Seaport, Boston's Faneuil Hall, Baltimore's Harborplace and the entire town of Columbia, Md.
And what about the Friends of the High Line's efforts to convert 1.5 miles of elevated rail on
the West Side into a park?
"He would have loved this project," Norton said. "He was a big believer that you could
revitalize the city with the resources that were already in it.
|July 11, 2005
Kingdom of Heaven DVD, Looking forward
According to a Reuters article ("'Kingdom' DVD for DIY documentary makers") posted today, the
Kingdom of Heaven DVD will be released on October 11.
The makers of the DVD "created an interactive production grid that allows viewers to assemble their
choice of 16 custom documentaries, ranging in length from eight minutes to 90
minutes and based on their own interests." Other features include "five hours of other bonus materials,
including a streaming text commentary with historical notes about the Crusades, an A&E "Movie Real"
feature titled "History vs. Hollywood," and interviews with [Orlando] Bloom and [director Ridley] Scott.
It's pretty quiet now so I thought you might want to know what to expect in the coming months. Filming
should start on The Painted Veil in August (unless it's been pushed back).
EN is producing and starring in the film along with Naomi Watts. What about release dates for
Down in the Valley and The Illusionist?
Both of these films (as well as the The Painted Veil) are independent films.
Neither currently have distribution deals (at least none that have been reported in the trades). Until the
distribution rights have been sold, there's no way of knowing when to expect them at your local theater.
[flatbroke's note: I believe I was wrong in the case of The Painted Veil.
I think that Warners Independent Pictures is involved in the film, however, it's not yet mentioned on
their official website]
|June 27, 2005
Solar Roofs opposition, Stella
Today's L.A. Times has an article on growing opposition to the Million
Solar Roofs Initiative, a California bill that EN has been vocally supporting.
Solar Plan Is Generating Opposition
Don't forget to catch the premiere episode of Stella Tuesday night on Comedy Central. EN
has a small cameo in the episode. If you can't wait, take a look at the episode which is posted
on the Stella website
|June 21, 2005
More press on Solar project and LAFF, Ricky Jay, High Line Benefit
EN made the first few minutes of tonight's Entertaiment Tonight. The Newslink section started off
with pictures of Brad Pitt with a family that apparently was receiving a new solar system through
EN's Solar Neighbors program. Footage of EN at Friday's Million
Solar Roofs Initiative press conference
was shown. They also explained the principle of EN's Solar
Neighbors program: if a celebrity buys a solar powered system for their house, BP will donate a second
solar system to a low income family. Pitt is thinking about getting a system, while EN already has one
for his L.A. home. Jessica found an article on the
ET website which goes into detail
on EN and the Solar Neighbors program and even has a video of EN talking about the program when
he was at the press conference
Brad Pitt Joins the Solar Cause .
Here's some excerpts from the article [Thanks to Jessica for the article!!]
"Solar energy is natural and important in California, and we think it's extremely important
that affordable housing and low-income families be included in the solar model and in any solar subsidy
program," says Norton, who has recruited some of his highest-profile friends to join the cause -- like
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, California governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER and Brad, who are all trying to determine
the best course of action for their residences.
"I started with some of my colleagues and friends who I knew were interested in the issues," says
Norton. "Brad's interested not only in environmental issues but also in design and stuff, so he was
interested in the architectural aspect of it. Danny [Devito] and Rhea [Perlman] are involved in a lot of great social
causes and things like that, and then you have people like DARYL HANNAH or Pierce [Brosnan] who are specifically
interested in environmental issues. Everybody loves the fact that in buying a system -- taking that
step for their own families -- that they're engaging another family within our community."
RenewableEnergyAccess.com has another article on the Million Solar Roofs Initiative press conference
Star Power Promotes Solar Power
Comingsoon.net has a small article on the Down in the Valley premiere at
the LA Film Festival. Down in the Valley Premieres
at LAFF. This Saturday's New York Times had an article on Ricky Jay, who served as a consultant on
The Illusionist, and his new book "Extraordinary Exhibitions".
NYT: Step Right Up, Folks. Behold What Amazes!.
Visit Ricky Jay's website
Tickets are now on sale for The Friends of the High Line Summer
Benefit. One of the honorees is Ed Norton (Edward's father and the Founding Chairman of the
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy). EN is one of the event's co-chairs.
FHL's Summer Benefit
|June 19, 2005
Million Solar Roofs Initiative
A small article in the
described the Million Solar Roofs Initiative presentation that took place on Friday. EN, Ed Begley Jr.
and a few California lawmakers were there. "Norton said in a statement that installing solar panels on low-income homes
'helps reduce energy bills for families who can benefit from those savings the
Backers of solar panel bill join forces For more information on Million Solar Roofs, go to
|June 17, 2005
Valley LA premiere
Down in the Valley opened the LA Film Festival last night, which
also served as its premiere in the U.S. There are no articles on the event thus far, but there has
been a blog entry from the L.A. Times:
Opening night? You could say it was a zoo... The blogger was not enchanted with the film but it
provides an idea of the atmosphere. From the Reuters wire photos EN, director David Jacobson, and
cast members Rory Culkin and Bruce Dern were present (according to the blog, David Morse was also
there). You might want to check out the entertainment news programs such as Entertainment Tonight,
E! News, Access Hollywood, The Insider, etc. this evening for any red carpet interviews from the event, but
chances are they'll spent reams of time on the just announced Tom Cruise- Katie Holmes engagement.
Hopefully, we'll also get some coverage of EN and others as they try to draw attention for the
Million Solar Roofs Initiative this morning.
|June 16, 2005
LA Film Festival, Million Solar Roofs, High Line
Tonight Down in the Valley will be the opening film for the L.A.
Film Festival. Hopefully, they'll be some good articles afterward.
Tomorrow, EN will be one of the speakers talking about California's Million Solar Roofs Bill (SB1).
He, along with other celebrities and California legislators, will be at 123 East 80th Street in Los Angeles
at 11:30 talking about this legislation.This is according to a press release from Global Green
USA (it hasn't yet been posted on their website) posted on Business Wire.
the press release: L.A. Community Leaders, Celebrities, Call for Statewide "Million Solar Roofs" Initiative
EN has been active in promoting solar energy. He set up the BP Solar
The Friends of the High received some good news this week from a federal
transportation board. EN has been one of the supporters of this organization that works for the preservation
of the High Line. More info can found at Friends of the High Line website
|June 15, 2005
Stella, follow-up on Illusionist filming
EN has a cameo in the new Comedy Central show Stella starring the comedy troupe Stella
(Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain). There's a sneak peek of the show at the
Comedy Central website.
EN's brief appearance occurs well into the episode. Stella premieres on June 28
[Thanks to Alyssa for the info!!!].
David Wain was in EN's directorial debut Keeping the Faith
A May 29th post on the IMDB Illusionist
Message Board stated that "...principal schooting ended yesterday in Krkonose, Czech Republic."
Another post mentions sightings of Illusionist co-stars Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel in Los Angeles.
|June 13, 2005
Still Filming?, Summer's Hottest Fashion Accessory
Is The Illusionist still filming? An article posted today on the Hollywood Reporter's
('Quiet' guy role speaks to Maguire)
stated that producer Michael London "recently completed filming the romantic comedy 'The Family Stone' for Fox 2000
and 'The Illusionist,' which stars Edward Norton as a magician who manages to secure the love of a woman above his standing."
I checked the production listings in the June 7-13, 2005 edition of Hollywood Reporter. It still lists
The Illusionist and doesn't have it as one of the films wrapping this week.
Today's USA Today
has an article listing EN as one of the actors sporting the hottest fashion accessory of the season. What is
it? A mask!? Well, check out the article Mask Appeal
which includes the following comment about EN in Kingdom of Heaven: "
A sterling performance lies beneath the silver mask worn by Edward Norton in the Crusades epic."
|June 9, 2005
Anne Bancroft, Down in the Valley Press Book, Audio Clips
The unforgettable Anne Bancroft passed away this week. Although she is best known for her roles in The Graduate
and The Miracle Worker, she also played Ben Stiller's Jewish mother in Edward Norton's
directorial debut Keeping the Faith
I've posted the Down in the Valley press book which
contains a good amount of detail on the making of the film in the Production Notes. It also contains
a synopsis which you might chose to avoid altogether since it contains a massive amount of
I've added audio clips of EN's interviews: Inside the Actor's Studio,
Charlie Rose Show (7/24/03),
Sunday Morning Shootout (10/12/03),
Larry King Live (1/24/04)
The Le Grand Journal video clip has been removed from the official website.
I've posted the 22 minute show in Real Player format which is unfortunately a lower quality video resolution.
Le Grand Journal
|June 2, 2005
WSOP rumor, Million Solar Roofs Initiative
A press release from sportsbook.com is giving EN 250-1 odds to win this year's World Series of Poker
main event. These odds may be more favorable than they should be considering he may not even be there.
Sportsbook.com is giving odds on professional poker players as well as celebrities Ben Affleck, Leonardo
DiCaprio, Matt Damon and EN. However, I don't know how they've confirmed that any of them will be there.
There is no mention of EN on the WSOP official site. It's
true that EN had previously participated alongside Matt Damon in the WSOP in 1998. There are two important
things to note about that 1998 event: it was before their poker movie Rounders
was released in theaters so their involvement served as great publicity for the film and also Miramax
supplied the $10,000 buy-in for each. In past years, I've heard some rumors about EN and the WSOP, but
to my knowledge they were just rumors. You may want to hold onto your money until there's something more
concrete. The WSOP No-Limit Texas Hold'em championship runs July 7-15.
The Million Solar Roofs Initiative has passed the California State Senate. "SB1 would create a ten-year program of incentives for solar photovoltaic (PV)
systems with the goal of installing one million solar systems throughout the state while leading to a self-sufficient solar
industry." EN has been promoting the use of solar energy systems in his
Solar Neighbors Program.
Million Solar Roofs Victory in California Senate
Time Magazine has an article on Illusionist co-star Paul Giamatti called
The World's Best
|June 1, 2005
Screen Daily review
Screen Daily has posted a favorable review of Down in the Valley
Hailed as the De Niro of his generation, Edward Norton finally has a chance to remind us why in Down In The
Valley. After a string of supporting roles and odd career choices (The Italian Job, The Score, Kingdom Of
Heaven etc), he once again takes centre stage with a charismatic performance as a delusional lost soul
whose innocent demeanour conceals a whole world of trouble.
His work lends distinction to a tale of star-crossed lovers that may be too much of a downbeat,
doom-laden character piece for most mainstream tastes. It still represents a significant move forward in
confidence and polish for Dahmer director David Jacobson and seems likely to provide solid returns from
careful nurturing as a specialised release.
Similar in spirit to the revered American cinema of the 1970s, Down In The Valley is also very much a
latterday western in the mode of the Kirk Douglas 1960s classic Lonely Are The Brave, with a cowboy
galloping across tarmac, riding the barbed wire range whilst a plane zooms over head and even settling
his differences with an old-fashioned shoot-out.
[Further dowin in the review]
Dressed in blue jeans and white singlet most of the time, a boyish Norton conjures up images of James
Dean, Martin Sheen in Badlands and even De Niro’s Travis Bickle when Harlan stands in his hotel room,
twirling guns, transfixed by his own image reflected back in the mirror. He never begs sympathy for
the character or stands aside to judge him but plays the sad, misguided reality of a man convinced he
can be something that he is not. His troubles arise from the best of intentions.
Even Rachel Wood is quietly effective as Tobe, a character that develops beyond the conventional
into someone smart enough to finally recognise that all is not right with her devoted admirer. Morse
brings the weight to the father that we have come to expect of him, especially from his work under
the direction of Sean Penn.
It may be a slow burner and a mite idiosyncratic but Down In The Valley is strongly acted,
atmospherically photographed and does have some reward for the patient viewer.
|May 26, 2005
Down in the Valley interview
There was a press session at Cannes for Down in the Valley.
JoBlo has posted a Q&A with
EN as well as one with director David Jacobson. The JoBlo
piece also includes a picture someone took of the film poster.
Here are some excerpts of EN's interview:
You didn’t take a writing credit?
No, it’s David’s vision. This character Harlan and these critical elements of: “What would
happen if Shane walked in a Western town today, and what would he encounter if he got involved
with the family?” are his. That was a brilliant idea, doing a Western in the modern West. I
worked a great deal on the script with David, we wrote a lot of the film together, but it
was very much born of this very strange and specific vision that David had of the Valley
and Harlan and stuff. So I produced it.
I enjoy the process when you’re feeling that you’re flying from the seat of your pants
on a film. This experience was shorter, but it reminded me a lot like working on FIGHT CLUB.
Every day would be like: “Wait a minute, wait a minute, how is this going to work? Can we
do this? He wakes up in a Western town?” I mean, how many people are we going to leave
behind right here?” If by the end of the movie, we’re somewhere under 50% of the people
in the theatre no longer with us, then we’re fine with it. It’s a fun place to be, it’s
stimulating, it's fun to ask yourself: What’s you reference point here? What kind of story
is this? Working in a place where you’re kind of not really sure how unorthodox you can get
with your structure or how far you can stretch your surrealism before it breaks or doesn’t
hold. I don’t know if we succeeded or not, but it's fun to see it through on its own terms.
[later in the interview]
You seem in charge of your career, how do you choose your projects?
Sometimes I have a harder time finding things that feel like they're
attempting anything original, have something to say or are just a good
genre piece. And suddenly, a flood comes in where you catch a couple. Or
like THE PAINTED VEIL or something. I’ve been trying to produce that movie
for 6 years and it finally came together with the right people and money.
And then it happens to be popping out among some other ones, and then you
get busier, For me, it's just more kind of having the willingness to have
it ebb and flow; I don’t really enjoy something that’s not a little bit
fresh for me.
DOWN IN THE VALLEY was very special for me, I think David is very
brilliant and courageous in the way of my favorite filmmakers I’ve worked
with: Fincher, Spike Lee and Milos. He’s willing and committed to the idea,
he’s not going to try to make you feel comfortable with the film, he doesn’t
define a positive film experience as one where you leave the movie
understanding totally and feeling good about it or comfortable about it. He’s
willing to say that exhaustion is a success, or that confusion is a success,
or just being disturbed is a success. You can say: well sure…but when you really
get down to it, there are a lot of highly regarded filmmakers who I don’t
think for a second would leave their audience uncertain as to what the movie
was about or uncomfortable with it.
People sit around and say how great RAGING BULL is, but the bottom line is
that most people were exhausted. If you’re honest, the first time you saw that
movie it beat the shit out of you! A lot of people panned it when it came out.
I think increasingly, it takes a very specific type of filmmaker in the current
environment to say: "Look, I’m not here to provide redemption, I’m not here to
give you an experience that you can encapsulate to your friends 5 minutes after
you saw it, that’s no necessarily the definition of a terrific film".
And David is really rigorous; he never bulked from the idea of letting that character
remain an enigma and forcing people to ask themselves, sort through their own reactions
to it. He just impressed me a great deal early on with the strangeness of those
visions. When we were working on the script, he sent me a disc with photographs
on it of the valley, there was maybe 150 photographs of the valley, there was
all those things, it was like hills and a highway, power lines and houses and
it was just gorgeous. He’s got a real feeling for what he wants to depict here.
He has a sense of how he wants to show what the modern West has become. And
sometimes you just want to dive in on somebody’s wave.
|May 24, 2005
Arte interview, EN's Valley contribution, Giamatti on Illusionist
Another Down in the Valley interview was aired, this time
on May 18 on the show "Arte". Unfortunately, there is no video, but Fleur was kind enough to transcribe
this interview as well.
"Comment – Telling about the incursion of an ambiguous character inside
a Californian family, Down in the Valley disintegrates the American
Dream. Modern western, mad cowboy and motherless family are the ingredients
of a society that is out of phase with its environment and in which
everyone has difficulties to find its place.
David Jacobson – There is not a strong sense of community or society
anymore in America. It’s more about the individual and the individual
rights. The cowboy is really the body of that.
Edward Norton – America has so much of its identity represented in the
ideal of the western mythology. I think that the film examines what has
happened to that spirit. You get the strong sensation in the film of
people trapped in modernity.
David Jacobson – I’m not someone who wants to argue about the "perfect
nuclear family" with husband and wife and three children. But I
definitely think there is a lack of parenting - with actual parents but also a
social level of parenting, helping children to grow up and sort of
learn who they are.
I have my own political take on "is Harlan a good or a bad man?" but I
want the viewer to have the ability to struggle with that question:
"was he good or was he bad?". In a sense I think that’s a more mature way
of seeing the world, to see that kind of complexity and ambiguity."
On May 14, there was a panel discussion among filmmakers at Cannes where they talked about making
independent films. It was described in the Variety article "Indies: A matter of vision". There
was one relevent comment: "And David Jacobson, the director of 'Down in the Valley,' said that his
star Ed Norton fully supported the helmer's vision and helped steer the pic through the financial
In an interview SciFi Wire
Paul Giamatti talked a little bit about The Illusionist. Here's some of the
Giamatti said that The Illusionist will have fantastical elements as
well. "It does," he said. "Without giving too much of it away, it does. It's
undercut in some ways, but it's ambiguous about what's real and what's not and
what's actual. ... Not necessarily just magic, but there's all sorts of weird
stuff with spiritualism and spirits being summoned and stuff like that. How much
of it is real and how much of it is not is left somewhat ambiguous in the end."
|May 18, 2005
Could EN become a second story man after being chased by the secret police?
Daily News has a little snippet on the upcoming book "Confessions of a Second Story Man: Junior
Kripplebauerand the K&A Gang" by Allen Hornblum. "...Hornblum says copies are in the hands of
Hollywood hitters such as Vince Vaughn, Ed Norton and Tobey Maguire. He hopes film rights are optioned."
Are we likely to see EN in this story? He already has several projects in the works, but you never know.
Premiere magazine (June 2005 edition with Batman Bale on the cover) "The Slate"
section has a
little more on The Illusionist:
At another end of the time-space
continuum - Vienna, circa 1900 - Edward Norton's "master mesmerist, hypnotist, illusionist, magician
guy" in The Illusionist has weightier concerns - namely, seducing a princess and undermining
the royal house of Austria. "They put the chief inspector of secret police on his trail to destroy
his reputation," says Paul Giamatti. "I play that guy."
You too can carry the sword of the King of Jerusalem. In the same Premiere edition mentioned above,
there is an ad at the back for "The Kingdom of Heaven" collection offered by
Museum Replicas Limited. Swords, shields, axes, tunics
are available for purchase to satisfy your inner warrior. Mask not included.
|May 17, 2005 PM update
Down in the Valley articles
Critic Notebook included the following comment on Down
in the Valley
The truth of a mysterious stranger's identity is also unveiled in David
Jacobson's psychological drama "Down in the Valley," a showcase for a topnotch turn
from Edward Norton as a charismatic sociopath, ably supported by a glowing Rachel
Evan Wood. The film fumbled around interminably, though, in search of its ending.
Newsday has a story on both Down in the Valley
and "The King." Here's an excerpt:
In "Down in the Valley," Jacobson (who debuted with the serial killer bio-pic "Dahmer")
gives us Edward Norton as a self-styled South Dakota cowboy whose gift of gab is surpassed
only by his shooting and roping skills.
Norton's sensationally seductive performance keeps the film's simmering violence
under wraps as his character romances a willful Los Angeles valley girl ("Thirteen's"
Evan Rachel Wood) and chums it up with her impressionable younger brother (Rory Culkin)
over the objections of their cop father (David Morse).
Things get nasty after a time, but not in ways that you might be able to anticipate.
Norton, whose breakout role was as a soft-spoken sociopath in "Primal Fear," has a way
with guys whose tender exterior conceals a demon within.
|May 17, 2005
Le Grand Journal video, more post-Cannes, KOH
The Le Grand Journal video
is now online (it should come through automatically through the link, if not it's labelled "SAMEDI 14 MAI"
on the lower left side of the page).
EN's appearance lasts the full program (approx 22 minutes) with the major part of the interview conducted
at the beginning. Fleur was kind enough to provide a
translation of the interview. The interview includes a clip from the
film, a confrontation
between EN and David Morse in front of Rory Culkin. There is also a clip of Evan Rachel Wood thanking
EN which must have been done either before or after the photocall - she is sitting in front of what looks
to be a poster of the film, similar to the pic below (from
L.A. Film Festival). Le Grand
Journal video [Thanks again to Fleur for letting me know about the interview and for providing the
translation. Thanks also to Stéphanie for letting me know that they had posted the video]
I checked the entertainment news programs last night and while there was Cannes coverage, not one
even mentioned EN or Down in the Valley. EN was not so lucky in
Cannes 2005: Midway Report, which took a swipe at both the film and the afterparty.
Today's Boston Herald
has more on EN and KOH (under the Viggo Mortensen story)
Why, oh why, would any actor want to play a role where he's literally invisible?
"It was for kicks," said "Kingdom of Heaven" co-star and Oscar-nominated Edward Norton, who plays
Jerusalem's 12th-century Christian king, a leper whose silver mask covers all but his eyes.
Norton said he pined to work with Ridley Scott, but when the "Kingdom" director offered him only
the role as the evil French baron, Ed took a pass.
He had already played enough bad guys, including his most recent turn in "Down in the Valley,"
his Cannes entry that he also co-produced.
In 'Valley,' Norton rides the San Fernando Valley freeways as a twisted modern cowboy who lusts
for a teenage girl played by Evan Rachel Ward.
"So who's playing the guy in the mask?," Norton said he asked Scott.
And Ridley replied, "I'll get someone with a good James Mason voice."
So Norton, using his best James Mason voice, then left a message on the director's
voice mail - and got the part!
|May 16, 2005
post Cannes, Settling the score
EN was a guest on Le Grand Journal Saturday night. Fleur
was kind enough to make an English translation of the interview for everyone to enjoy. EN talked about the
importance of clothes to create his character in Down in the Valley. He
also mentioned that he is almost finished writing Motherless Brooklyn and
he might make it next year. Le Grand Journal EN appearance
[Thanks again to Fleur for all your hard work!!!].
By now, EN is probably back on the set of The Illusionist. Unfortunately,
there doesn't seem to have been a press conference at Cannes for Down in the
Valley. So I'm not expecting any in-depth articles to come out post Cannes, unless interviews were given
to individual journalists instead of the pack. Variety has this useless story about the premiere
afterparty, but it includes a nice pic
'Valley' girls descent on fete. Today's Hollywood Reporter has an article about the market at
Cannes. "U.S. distributor response was mixed on several much-anticipated festival titles,
including Dominik Moll's 'Lemming,' Atom Egoyan's 'Where the Truth Lies,' Kim
Ki-duk's 'The Bow,' Marco Tullio Giordana's 'Once You're Born You Can No Longer
Hide' and David Jacobson's Edward Norton starrer 'Down in the Valley.'"
HR: Majors' buys boost slow market. Hopefully, the film's fate will be decided soon. I've added more
pics from the film to the Gallery. I'll add photos on the Cannes
premiere as they become available.
I received an email from Vanilla about
Peter Salett composing the score for
Down in the Valley. This seemed strange since
back in December, Nathan Larson was hired
for the job. Sure enough, petersalett.com has it on the main page
and when I rechecked the HR review, Salett is credited. Peter
Salett previously contributed songs to Keeping the Faith and the
Maldonado Miracle (directed by Salma Hayek). Edward interviewed Salett for an
Interview Magazine June 2004 article
|May 14, 2005 late afternoon update
The Variety review
is more complimentary [although the writer calls Wood's character "Tove" instead of "Tobe" throughout the body
of the review]. The review contains some plot points (so be forewarned).
The pic below is from Sunday's Variety Cannes newspaper which contains the review. Here are some excerpts:
Following two striking, but little-seen low-budget features, writer-director David Jacobson paints
on a larger canvas for "Down in the Valley." Result is imperfect and overlong, but hugely ambitious and often
breathtaking. The story of a charismatic stranger's encounter with a suburban family is transformed into a
contemplation of myths of the American West and the dangerous pull of movie illusion. Downbeat tone and
stream-of-consciousness narrative feel circa 1975 and signal a tough road commercially in 2005. "Down" should
garner attention, however, for its gallery of outstanding performances (led by star-producer Edward Norton) and
the original vision of its prodigiously talented maker.
[Further down in the review]
First hour makes for especially riveting viewing, thanks to the cool
confidence of Jacobson's direction and story's unpredictability. In a role that
capitalizes on his chameleonic gifts, Norton is superb, projecting some of the
lazy sexuality of the young Jeff Bridges in the early courtship scenes and,
later, a volatile menace worthy of his own Oscar-nominated turns in "Primal
Fear" and "American History X."
Wood is likewise excellent at capturing Tove's mix of seductive young
womanhood and girlish vulnerability. To Jacobson's credit, there's nothing lurid
or exploitative about their scenes together, despite the dramatic age difference
between the two thesps.
[Further down in the review]
Shooting in true anamorphic widescreen with d.p. Enrique Chediak, Jacobson
constantly evokes the tension between pic's Western and urban elements: a
horseback ride alongside the L.A. river basin; freeway headlights shimmering the
way stars once did. There also are direct visual homages to two of Jacobson's
acknowledged influences, Howard Hawks' "Red River" and John Ford's "My Darling
Both the Variety review and the HR review comment on the absence of Ellen Burstyn from the
final product. And it is a real disappointment. Her casting announcement has her listed as the foster
mother of EN's character Harlan. Her absence seems to be explained by the reviewer's comments. It is the
long length of the exploration of Harlan's past which draws some of the criticism in the
|May 14, 2005 afternoon update
The first photos are up from the Down in the Valley photocall. Many more
photos are sure to come.
The first review, from the Hollywood Reporter, has been posted. Unfortunately, it's not too kind.
Hopefully, this will be the exception rather than the norm.
|May 14, 2005
The world premiere of Down in the Valley will be at
Cannes on Saturday. If you're interested in catching a
glimpse of Edward and maybe a few remarks, keep your
eye on Monday's entertainment news shows such as
Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E! News, The
Insider, and probably a few others I'm forgetting at
If you live in France, Le Grand Journal will air an
interview with EN on Saturday evening. If you don't live in France, they apparently post the
previous shows of the week in the video section of Le
Grand Journal's website. I'll place a link to it when it becomes available.
[Thanks to Fleur for the info!!!]
|May 11, 2005
Los Angeles Film Festival
Today's Variety reports that Down in the Valley
will open the Los Angeles Film Festival, which runs June 16-26. The article also includes a
We're just days away from the world premiere of Down in the Valley
at Cannes. Here's the synopsis of the film from the official Cannes site
A darkly compelling drama that charts the course of a malevolent and charismatic
stranger who insinuates himself into an already troubled family. His
increasingly paranoid and dangerous behaviour forces them to fight for their
lives and ultimately rediscover their love for one another.
|May 8, 2005
EN and the High Line, EN's "tiny" role
Today's New York Times has a timeline on the High Line, which
includes EN's involvement.
Jumped Aboard a Railroad to Nowhere.
I saw Kingdom of Heaven. I was told that EN had a "tiny" role, a scene and a half.
This is not correct.
I remember about 6 separate scenes: Baldwin meets Balian, Baldwin and knights discuss the
unauthorized raid, Baldwin meets with
Saladin, Baldwin disciplines nobleman, Baldwin meets with Balian again with a deal, Baldwin's death
scene with Sibylla, (there was also a brief scene later with his corpse - I don't know if he was the
corpse). I first found out about the film when there were sightings of EN in
but it looks like at least
one of his scenes was filmed in the desert of Morocco (meeting with Saladin, both armies present).
Although the role is uncredited, EN is mentioned by name in most of the film reviews and
several of them make a point of commenting favorably about his performance. There is much more substance in the
character of King Baldwin IV than most of the other characters, partly due to EN's performance
and partly due to the writing.
Kingdom of Heaven was at the top of the box office its opening weekend. However, it only
grossed about $20 million and it cost about $150 million to make.
of Heaven' worsens box office slump
|Cinco de Mayo 2005 PM Update
more on EN and KOH
Tomorrow's Boston Herald
has a short article on EN with comments by co-star Eva Green about working with him.
'Heaven' can't mask talent of
Cynics might assume that Norton, as a favor to Scott, voiced the role while an
anonymous actor toiled on location as a body double. That theory would explain
why Norton opted out of billing alongside supporting players Liam Neeson, Jeremy
Irons and Eva Green, the 24-year-old French actress who plays Baldwin's sister,
Princess Sibylla. But those cynics would be wrong.
"When I read the script, Baldwin was
one of my favorite roles; he moved me so much," Green said. "And then when I
screen tested, it was with Orlando Bloom and Edward Norton. Edward is one of my
favorite actors. He's an idol."
Green's first scene with Norton was
Baldwin's death scene.
"It was extremely difficult," she
said. "I had to pretend that this was my brother, and I thought, 'How can I do
this? I can't. I can't.' I was so stressed out. I don't know how to translate
that into English, but I was a bit disturbed because when he did this scene, he
reminded me of someone I knew who was dying. Edward has the sensitivity of a
child and is able to do anything - anything. He's very rare as an actor. It was
like a dream."
|Cinco de Mayo 2005
Valley at Cannes, KOH historical accuracy
The Cannes Film Festival schedule is out. Down in the
Valley will be shown on May 14. Hopefully, it will get a lot of coverage.
Historians have weighed in on their opinion of Kingdom of Heaven in the Reuters article
Film shows Crusades still battleground 800 years on. There are different criticisms among them.
Many are around the portrayal of the Muslim commander Saladin, and whether he is presented too
sympathetically or simplistically. One criticism is about the character of Balian (Orlando Bloom). His
character apparently doubts the existence of God, a belief that would have had him "burned as an agent
of the devil" if stated publicly, according to one historian. However, "[director Ridley] Scott is
unapologetic, saying he followed historical fact while admitting
that cramming the events of more than 200 years into a single film meant some
events were given greater significance than others."
Film shows Crusades still battleground 800 years on.
|May 4, 2005
Valley Pics, Dirty Work, Anti-Discrimination group satisfied with KOH
has posted new pics from Down in the Valley Ioncinema.com
[Thanks to Eric for the info!!!]
Dirty Work, the documentary that EN executive produced, is showing this month on
The Sundance Channel
Director Ridley Scott screened Kingdom of Heaven for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee and received a favorable review for its portrayal of Muslims.
Muslim Groups Praise 'Kingdom of Heaven' Kingdom of Heaven will be released on
"It's one of the better representations of Muslims we've seen out of
Hollywood," said Laila Al-Qatami, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based group.
"We thought that he did a good job tackling a potentially volatile subject and
avoided doing a simplified, stereotyped story of Muslim vs. Christian."
[further down in article]
Al-Qatami of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said the only
faults her group found with "Kingdom of Heaven" were small historical
inaccuracies, changes made to beef up the movie's drama and romantic subplot
involving Bloom's and Green's characters.
"At the end of the day, we're happy," Al-Qatami said. "I think it's a fair
picture of cultural and religious relations of the time."
|May 3, 2005
Painted Veil moving ahead
Tomorrow's Sydney Morning Herald
has an interview with Naomi Watts entitled Mega Watts.
It mentions that she's scheduled to start filming Painted Veil in August. There's
nothing else about the film in the article. An earlier report from
Variety had filming beginning in September. I'm not sure when filming on The Illusionist
is scheduled to end, but it doesn't look like he's going to have much time for between films, especially if
there is a rehearsal period before Painted Veil. EN is a producer on the film.
|May 1, 2005
Illusionist Set, Ricky Jay
Coming Soon! has posted pictures of the set of The Illusionist. The set was
built in the historic town of Tabor, Czech Republic. Secrets of The Illusionist
Set Revealed. Illusionist consultant Ricky Jay brings "Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants" to D.C. for
15 performances starting on May 4. Ricky Jay official site
Last updated on Thursday, April 17, 2008
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