ALSO: See how Edward Norton’s Tyler Durden fared in our Badass Bracket!
It’s hard to believe that at one time Edward Norton was just another guy submitting headshots and going from audition to audition while looking for any kind of work – waiter, runner – to help pay the bills. Highly educated, earning a History degree from Yale while also taking Japanese and theater courses, Edward knew he had a passion for acting and theater at an early age.
From the time he graduated Yale in 1991, it took about five years for Edward to put himself out there, but it was through perseverance and sheer talent that finally got him noticed. A major year for him was 1996, at the age of 27, in which Edward appeared in the Richard Gere vehicle “Primal Fear,” the lawyer Isaacman in “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” and as Drew Barrymore’s fiancée in Woody Allen’s musical “Everyone Says I Love You.” These provided great exposure for Norton, as well as the Best Supporting Oscar nomination for “Primal Fear,” making clear his ability and range were genuine and unique. His next three pictures, “Rounders,” “American History X” and “Fight Club,” cemented his status as a major star. “American History X” brought him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Reluctant to buy into any idea of celebrity, Edward sought to extend his roles, working with De Niro on “The Score” and Robin Williams on “Death to Smoochy.” He directed his first film in 2000, which he also starred and produced, “Keeping the Faith.” Beginning with Spike Lee’s “25th Hour” in 2002, Edward produces most of his own work now focusing primarily on indie pictures that, without his involvement, probably would not be made (“The Painted Veil” with Naomi Watts, for one).
Despite relationships with Salma Hayek and Courtney Love, Edward Norton has made it a point to let his screen work speak for itself without his personal life distracting it. His desire to continue exploring new avenues and taking risks continues; perhaps his greatest challenge will be as Bruce Banner in “The Incredible Hulk,” for which he is also writing the screenplay. It is to Norton’s credit that he does not see himself beneath such a role, but as a possibility of making it yet another one of his many memorable performances.
Edward on the Web
Edward’s premiere resource page.
TV Guide: Edward Norton
Photos, bio and news of Edward.
Medium-sized bio of Edward with film credits.
Fan site with current news, photos and information on Edward’s career.
Edward Norton Information Page
Up-to-date news on what Edward’s up to.
Total Film Interview
Fascinating across-the-board interview with Edward.
Guardian Unlimited Interview
Lengthy interview centered on “The Illusionist,” as well as other things.
A.V. Club Interview
Early 2007 interview with Edward on his recent screen characters.
Edward talks about one of his most celebrated movies, “Fight Club.”
Edward on the Screen
In his first major screen role he snags an Oscar nomination: 1996’s “Primal Fear.” He’s third billing in “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and he sings in “Everyone Says I Love You.” He’s Worm in “Rounders” and Derek Vinyard in Tony Kaye’s “American History X” in 1998. One of his most celebrated roles is as Tyler Durden in David Fincher’s “Fight Club” opposite Brad Pitt. He began the 2000s with his directing debut, “Keeping the Faith,” in which he also produced and starred as Fr. Brian Finn. In 2001, he works with his idols De Niro and Brando in “The Score,” is Smoochy the Rhino in Danny DeVito’s “Death to Smoochy,” portrays Nelson Rockfeller (and is an uncredited contributor to the script) in “Frida.” He’s Will Graham in the Hannibal Lecter film “Red Dragon” and Monty Brogan in Spike Lee’s post-9/11 drama “25th Hour.” He’s part of “The Italian Job” in 2003, is the uncredited leper King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (wearing a mask the entire time) for Ridley Scott in “Kingdom of Heaven,” produces and acts in “Down in the Valley” and “The Painted Veil,” and Walter Fane (also known as “The Illusionist”) in 2006.
The talk lately is around how Edward will be as Bruce Banner in “The Incredible Hulk,” taking the reins from Eric Bana who was the Hulk in the 2003 Ang Lee version. Before that summer 2008 release, he’ll be part of “Pride and Glory,” a New York police drama with Jon Voight and Colin Farrell. Also in 2008, Edward will reteam with Pitt in “State of Play,” also starring Robin Wright Penn and Jason Bateman. And he’ll direct, star, and write the script for “Motherless Brooklyn,” in which he plays a detective with Tourette’s syndrome.
“I almost forgot what it's like to be proud of my government.”
“Fame is very corrosive and you have to guard very strictly against it.”
On modern L.A.:
“I get heartbroken flying into L.A. It's just this feeling of unspecific loss. Can you imagine what the San Fernando Valley was when it was all wheat fields? Can you imagine what John Steinbeck saw?”
On New York:
“Nobody makes me uncomfortable here. It's a place where you can be eternally anonymous.”