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Edward Norton

the real illusionist

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Edward Norton was born on August 18, 1969 to parents Edward, an attorney who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Robin Norton, a former foundation executive and teacher who passed away of brain cancer on March 6, 1997. Edward also has two younger siblings named James and Molly. From the age of 5 onward, the Yale graduate (majoring in history) has always been interested in acting. At the age of 8, he would ask his drama teacher what his motivation in a scene was. He attended theater schools throughout his life, and eventually managed to find work on stage in New York as a member of the Signature players, who produced the works of playwright and director Edward Albee. Around the time when he was appearing in Albee's Fragments, in Hollywood, they were looking for a young actor to star opposite Richard Gere in a new courtroom thriller, Primal Fear (1996). The role was offered to Leonardo DiCaprio but he turned it down. Gere was on the verge of walking away from the project, fed up with the wait for a young star to be found, when Edward auditioned and won the role over 2000 other hopefuls. Before the film was even released, his test screenings for the part were causing a Hollywood sensation, and he was soon offered roles in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). Edward won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Primal Fear (1996). In 1998, Norton gained 30 pounds of muscle and transformed his look into that of a monstrous skinhead for his role as a violent white supremacist in American History X (1998). This performance would earn him his second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor. In 1999 came the critically acclaimed Fight Club (1999) and in 2000 came his directorial debut in Keeping the Faith (2000).

Personal quotes

"Acting? It's a longstanding compulsion I've had since I was about five or six years old. I can literally identify the moment it struck me. I went to see a play [If I Were a Princess] in which a babysitter of mine [Betsy True, who later acted on Broadway] was performing. I was completely shell-shocked by the magic of this little community-theater play; it just riveted me."

"I don't smoke and I don't want to smoke. I am not a fan of gratuitous smoking in films."

"Life, like poker has an element of risk. It shouldn't be avoided. It should be faced."

"If I ever have to stop taking the subway, I'm gonna have a heart attack."

"Fame is very corrosive and you have to guard very strictly against it."

"I've never felt any particular encroachment of the 'celebrity' stuff into my life."

"I'm an actor and, each time out, I'm trying to convince the audience that I'm this character. Every little thing that people know about you as a person impedes your ability to achieve that kind of terrific suspension of disbelief that happens when an audience goes with an actor and character [he's] playing."

"The more you can create that magic bubble, that suspension of disbelief, for a while, the better."

"It's a nice position to be in; I'm lucky. At the same time, all the excitement of that has been put into stark perspective ... In some ways, the highs of it have been blunted, which in a way, is a gift."

"First of all, you never make all things for all people and can't always pander to the broadest denominator. I keep an eye toward doing the themes that interest me. Do they move me? Interest me? Make me think? When I run across something that is provocative in an unsettling way, it appeals to me."

"People wrestle sometimes making movies, and I think that conflict is a very essential thing. I think a lot of very happy productions have produced a lot of very banal movies."

"I'm not interested in making movies for everybody. I like making movies for myself and my friends and people with my sensibility."

"I always felt that acting was an escape, like having the secret key to every door and permission to go into any realm and soak it up. I enjoy that free pass."

"Nobody makes me uncomfortable here. It's a place where you can be eternally anonymous." - the reason he loves living in New York City

"In fact, the United States today keeps on making the same sort of mistakes. We force those methods we think are useful on a few countries, hoping to make a few changes."

"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?"

"Just because you've made a couple movies, you've done some good movies, you've been nominated for some Academy Awards, whatever, nobody's entitled. It's a business. If they don't see it, I can think they're wrong, but I'm not entitled to a $15 million budget to make a film."

From HERE

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