Observation: Edward Norton and his Rewrites in his Roles


I like Edward Norton; he's in two of my Top 10 movies of all time: American History X and Fight Club. But as much of a good actor he is, it seems that his artistical writing that he places on himself seem to be getting in the way of things, most especially when it comes to movie roles.

Before the much publicized rift between Norton and Marvel Studios, there was these others "less publicized" events (at least 4 that has been made public) that a lot of casual comic book movie goers were not aware of before the clash with Marvel Studios:

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American History X - New Line believed director Tom Kaye had delivered a powerful drama. But even before filming was completed, tensions mounted as Kaye and star actor Edward Norton jockeyed for control of the film.

Norton was involved in rewriting portions of the script; his influence was obvious when Kaye shot a crucial scene where the actor rallies his skinhead troops before they ransack a Korean market.

However, veteran studio hands say that having an actor spend nearly two months in the editing room is a situation fraught with peril -- most established directors would never allow it. Although Norton was there with Kaye's knowledge, the director couldn't contain his anger about having to step aside.

Last fall, New Line test-screened Kaye's first cut of the movie, which earned surprisingly good numbers for such a hard-edged drama. But then New Line made an unusual move; it agreed to have Norton edit a cut of the film himself. Kaye contends Norton broached the idea; New Line President Michael De Luca says he approached Norton, although he acknowledges the actor gave him an incentive, threatening not to do press if he could not "stand behind the movie."

Norton has repeatedly refused to discuss his involvement in rewriting or editing the film.
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The Score - Frank Oz, the director of The Score, had already cast Robert De Niro and Marlon Brando.

Like many people he saw Edward Norton as the natural choice for the youngest generation of thief. Norton though had reservations before agreeing to join the cast.

Oz recalls, "Edward's first concern to me was, 'Can I contribute? I don't just want to be an actor because I have ideas.'"

Indeed, although he remains uncredited, Norton is pretty vocal about his "pretty substantive rewrite" of Kario Salem's original script for The Score.
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Frida - According to IESB.net, The WGA is giving all writing credits to Zak Penn for the Incredible Hulk, who wrote the original script. Norton also wrote the screenplay to Frida, but was denied screenwriter credit. This may be due to the fact that Norton rewrote the script before completing the process of being a member in the Writer's Guild of America.

"I got shafted by the Writer’s Guild at the last minute, but I wrote the draft that got made," says Norton. Clearly angry at the Guild, he describes the organization as being 'very arcane and in my opinion, a very corrupt system which I think is heavily biased against people who are not Guild members like me'.
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The Incredible Hulk - Edward Norton is a smart, talented guy. But he really had a bad time with Marvel on “Hulk.” He spent hours and days rewriting Zak Penn‘s script (not the first time he's rewritten a script). At the 2007 Comic Con, Norton bragged about writing the screenplay. But it was Penn who got the credit.

In the end, Norton had such a falling out with Marvel that he skipped the movie’s premiere and went off to some island to lick his wounds. He exited the promotional campaign without a contract to do sequels, although both co-star Liv Tyler and director Louis Letterier each had them.
Seems Edward Norton loves to do rewrites. I don't fault him per se, since that shows dedication to your work. But that has caused him to butt heads with so many directors and producers in the past, even threatening them he won't star or promote the film if he doesn't get creative control, which is going a little too far.     
 
Just an observation.
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