Profile - Edward Norton
- Miles Fielder
- 27 February 2007
Name Edward Norton.
Born 18 August 1969, Boston, US.
Background Interested in acting from the age of five, by eight Norton was asking his drama teacher about his character’s ‘motivation’. He attended drama schools, but didn’t get serious about an acting career until he joined New York’s Signature players, which produces the work of another Edward, Albee. His first screen role was a stuttering psychopath in 1996’s schlocky Primal Fear, for which he nevertheless earned the first of his two Oscar nominations. Acclaim and fame followed swiftly with roles in The People Vs Larry Flynt, American History X and Fight Club.
What’s he up to now? Norton has two films coming out in quick succession: The Illusionist, in which he plays a Viennese magician who rescues his childhood sweetheart from corrupt Crown Prince Leopold; and The Painted Veil, an adaptation of W Somerset Maugham’s romance novel relocated to China.
What he says about the romance genre ‘I certainly am a fan of films like Out Of Africa or Brief Encounter or Doctor Zhivago. I find something more meaningful in films that are really a study of the eternal dynamics between men and women. The reason Out of Africa holds up as a romantic film is that it’s really about loss. It’s not about romantic consummation. You get the romance of period and place, and the exoticism of it, but there’s something in it that people can recognise themselves in. I respond to that.’
Interesting fact In 1998, when Norton was dating Courtney Love (whom he met working on Larry Flynt), he took public exception to an article in New Yorker magazine about Nick Broomfield’s documentary Kurt and Courtney, which suggested Cobain’s death may have been murder. Later the same year Norton rocked out playing guitar at two Hole gigs in Los Angeles.
The Illusionist is on general release from Fri 2 Mar. See review.