Actor-director Edward Norton doesnt want to feature in his next directorial, and says directing a movie is antagonistic to the state of mind you want to be in as an actor.
Norton wears many hats in upcoming “Motherless Brooklyn” as he has written screenplay for the film, directed it, features in it and has produced the movie.
“I would very much like to direct a movie and not be in it next time. It’s a lot. I’ve done it before. It can be done. But, it’s not like I stepped into some transcendent level of multi-tasking. Orson Welles, Robert Redford, Sean Penn, Clint Eastwood and Warren Beatty have all done this,” Norton said..
“I think actors, when they reach a certain level of maturity of self within the craft, and if they’re lucky enough to have a close relationship with audiences, they develop — more than anybody else — a clear sense of where the sweet spot is for them. In making a movie from soup to nuts, a really special project, it will have the type of quality role exactly where we most like to see that artist. Clint Eastwood in ‘Unforgiven’; it’s not only a great film, it’s the distillation of everything that Clint does in a way that almost nobody does better. Warren Beatty in ‘ Reds’ — he understood that in a way that no one else can understand it, and he just owned it. Kevin Costner in ‘Dances with Wolves’. You can point to many examples where people just know that a certain project is hard-wired into their DNA,” he added.
“Those are exciting situations, and that’s what pushes people into the heavy lifting of doing it all. That’s definitely how I felt about ‘Motherless Brooklyn’,” Norton noted.
Norton’s crime drama “Motherless Brooklyn” is based on the 1999 novel by Jonathan Lethem. It follows Lionel Essrog (Norton), a young man who works for a small-time mobster in Brooklyn while struggling with an intense case of Tourette Syndrome. The film revolves around Essrog’s decision to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis).
Warner Bros. Pictures will release the film in India on November 15. It also stars Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe.
Talking about the project, Norton said: “I’d created that fusion of things in a character that I really related to, in a story that is about my town. When talking to studio head Toby Emmerich about the project, he was incredibly encouraging—he said, ‘I really don’t think there’s any point to anyone else directing this. You know what you want out of this, and you should just do it’. That was very empowering to me.”
He thinks the challenge is “best taken on by preparation. You have to over prepare. You can’t really practice improvisational filmmaking when you’re wearing multiple hats”.
Norton said: “Directing a movie is almost, by definition, antagonistic to the state of mind you want to be in as an actor. You want to be out of your head when you’re acting, and you have to have your head on top of everything when you’re directing. That means you’ve got to really own that character long before you ever step in to do it. That also means that if you’re going to have any hope of focusing as an actor, your preparation as a director…you have to have a game plan that moves like a machine, where your collaborators don’t need answers from you on the day as much as possible. We’ve thought it through, we’ve asked the questions—now we show up to execute. That way, you can carve a little bit of space for yourself to be the actor.”