Movie News

Capone talks with Edward Norton about his HBO Obama documentary and a little about his HULK/AVENGERS future!!!

Published at: Nov. 3, 2009, 11 a.m. CST by Capone

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. I make no secret of the fact that Edward Norton has long been on my short list of great actors that I have long wanted to interview, pretty much from the first time I saw him in the Chicago-set PRIMAL FEAR opposite Richard Gere. Since then, he has continued to impress me with his talent and his commitment to making the best film possible, even if that occasionally means rewriting a screenplay or completely losing himself in a character to the point where he scares me on screen a little. From THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, AMERICAN HISTORY X, FIGHT CLUB, and ROUNDERS to THE SCORE, RED DRAGON, THE 25TH HOUR, THE ITALIAN JOB, and DOWN IN THE VALLEY, the man is consummate and intelligent force (he's a Yale grad) in front of the camera and someone who's not afraid to occasionally make fun of himself and his reputation as a perfectionist. See his recent cameo in THE INVENTION OF LYING or the parody he did on the Jimmy Kimmel show when THE INCREDIBLE HULK was released, and you'll see what I mean. Hell, even his failures are interesting. His latest work, LEAVES OF GRASS (written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson), in which he plays twins, received high praise when it premiered at Toronto, and the jury is still out on whether he'll reprise his Hulk role either in a sequel or in THE AVENGERS feature. But none of what I've just said really matters when it comes to this particular interview with Norton because we weren't put together to discuss acting at all. Norton is the producer of a documentary premiering on HBO Tuesday, November 3 called BY THE PEOPLE: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA, from director's Amy Rice and Alicia Sams, who began following Obama and his family when he was still just a junior senator from Illinois in 2006. But when rumblings of a presidential run began happening in 2007, they decided to stick with the rising political star that made a profound impact with a single speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Norton did not sign onto as the film's producer late in the game; he has been a part of its making from Day One. Any while he makes no apologies about his liberal leanings, Norton's film isn't about celebrating Obama's presidential victim. Much like THE WAR ROOM, the film digs deep into what makes up a campaign, mistakes and all, controversies and all. And you see a side to Obama and his team--from David Axelrod to the grassroots ground teams in each state who went door to door and made tens of thousands of calls to get people out to vote--that you've simply never seen. There are moments that show Obama at his most vulnerable--dealing with the blowback from the Rev. Wright scandal or his friendship with David Ayers or his grandmother's death just before election day--while also showing us such fascinating, behind-the-curtain details like debate prep to speech writing to issue forming to calling Hillary Clinton to concede her primary wins in Texas and Ohio. The directors' access is unbelievable, unprecedented, and unlike anything I've seen to date. This fantastic film ends on election day, so this isn't a film that celebrates Obama's accomplishments; it's one about the tireless work and maneuvering it took to get him where he is today. I was asked in advance of the interview that I stick to talking just about BY THE PEOPLE during my conversation with Norton, but I couldn't resist sneaking in a few extra question in at the end that result in some interesting dance moves on Norton's part regarding his future dealings in the Marvel universe. Enjoy me getting political with Edward Norton. I know how much you guys love politics on a film about movies!
Edward Norton: Hey man! Capone: Wow, I thought there would be some sort of intermediary, but you just picked up the phone and called, didn't you. EN: [laughs] Yeah, I'm like that. Capone: First of all, I live in Chicago and just watching all of these things unfold again almost made me cry, it was really beautifully done. EN: Yeah, I saw you were at “312” [area code] there. Capone: Yeah. I guess the obvious first question is how far back is your involvement with the film and with the Obamas go? EN: I met him first in the winter of 2005-06. I’m involved very heavily with an organization that is one of the biggest developers of affordable housing, a nonprofit affordable housing developer, and it’s an organization that has contributed a lot to developing housing policy. So we often will have sessions with new senators and stuff like that, and I helped orchestrate a meeting with him and his housing staff and this organization, so that was the first time I met him. Which was nice, because we got to engage on a subject that was interesting to both of us, and I think he was able to meet me in a context not having to do with wanting to make a film about him. Around that same time, the two directors of this film had come to me and my producing partners with the idea of not doing a film about Obama per se, but more like chronicling his experiences as a freshman senator through his first term. Their idea was to do a political diary almost. They had been struck by his 2004 speech at the convention, like we all were, and I think the way that they put it, or at least the way I remember, was them saying “Look, this guy is definitely a new generational presence, more our age than our parents' age and definitely not a baby boomer, and you have this increasing apathy and disengagement from politics in younger people and maybe tracking his experiences would be an interesting way to look at politics through a more youthful prism.” And I really liked that. I thought it was a cool idea, because it was like “Let’s find out who Barack Obama is,” it was more “Let’s see what happens when a young person, that a lot of young people relate to and are drawn to, runs into the realities of politics and government.” So one of the directors, Amy Rice and I went down to meet with Robert Gibbs, who is his communications director, and then we met Barack to pitch this idea. And they never really said “Yes, let’s do it” whole hog, they understood the intention and they said “How would this work?” and we kind of said, “Well, let’s just start slow and see how it feels for you.” In the spring of 2006, we started occasionally interviewing staff and following him on trips and getting a feeling for the inside of his team, and then we made that trip to Africa with him. So we had this whole period where we were working on a documentary and loosely kept on following him in the senate, and then in the fall of 2006, we began to get an inkling that they were actually going to take a run at it and that’s when the whole thing shifted, very suddenly, into being an opportunity to track his campaign. Capone: Was there ever a discussion about the level of access that you would get and then the follow-up being, was there a shift in the access that you were given initially as the election drew closer? EN: One of the things that we did that was smart is we never pressed the point too hard. We never said, “We need a guarantee of X.” We always just day in and day out called them and said, “We would really like to be here and here is why.” We were perpetually reminding them that we were not the press. We weren’t looking to exploit anything that we got during the election. We vowed to them, we basically almost agreed legally to say that we wouldn’t release any of it until after the election was resolved. And I think once they had faith that we were genuinely archivists, that we were interested in it for the historical record and not going to affect the outcome of things in any way or try to take advantage of it, then I think they got progressively more trusting and comfortable with the idea that there was something inevitable historic component to his candidacy and that there would be something of value in having a record of that. We were always pressing for more. We always wanted more, and there were obviously times they just wouldn’t let us, but if you look at the film I think you can see that they allowed us a pretty unprecedented amount of intimacy with a candidate as he’s actually going through it from time with his family and direct interviews with himself and Michelle as they were going through this, to letting us film debate preps and senior strategy sessions and stuff, and we were kind of pinching ourselves. [laughs] I think it was a constant navigation, but the way we anchored the film in more than just “Do we have access to Obama?” We talked about it like a pyramid where we would like to have as much intimacy with him as we can at the peak, but then on down from there obviously people like Gibbs and [David] Plouffe and Axelrod were very key figures in devising the ethos and strategy of the campaign, and so we wanted to get good time with them. But then I think the thing that Amy and Alicia did so well was in sifting through the ground troops, they found such great characters in Ronnie Cho and Michael Blake and people like that who really, for me when I watch the film, those people embody what the film is about as much as anything else. Through them, you really get this portrait of young people participating in the democratic process and I think Ronnie, like Obama himself, is such the contemporary face of America in the way his story and the way he invests in the whole thing is, I think, the most moving part of it. Capone: I agree. It is interesting, once I realized the structure of the film and how deep it was going into the process, I started to think ahead, like “I can’t wait to see how they cover the ‘greatest hits’ of the campaign so to speak.” EN: Right. Capone: The one thing I thought at the end, the only disappointment I had, was that there was absolutely no discussion of the vice presidential selection. Suddenly Joe Biden is just there. One day he isn’t and then the next day he is and I thought “I wonder if they were blocked from that whole spot.” EN: It was funny, because we had some challenges. We were funding this thing ourselves and with some great private investors. We initially set out to make this very low burn six-year kind of diary type thing, and suddenly we were confronted with… You know, it costs a lot of money to follow a campaign everyday, and we had to be really strategic about what we chose to focus on and invest the time and limited budget that we had in. And then too, I think there were things like that that probably they just felt “We just aren’t tipping our hats on this. We are not going to let anybody inside certain inner-circle conversations.” There are so many things you would love to know throughout all kinds of parts of it, but one of the things that is interesting to me about them is, he got that label “No-Drama Obama,” and that supposedly came from a talk that he gave to his senior staff saying “There will be none of that in this campaign,” and he has such a cool veneer in public, but when we peak around the curtain in this film and you see them in highs and lows, you realize that really is who these guys are. Axelrod in not James Carville. Right in the middle of the Jeremiah Wright thing, Alicia caught him coming off the door step really candid and impromptu, and if you were ever going to get a moment where you got some to sort of just let it fly and all he does is go “I never made her [Hilary Clinton] for someone who was going to raise the white flag. That’s not her gestalt.” You just marvel at what kind of even-keeled temperaments they had throughout it. Capone: Actually just a couple of days before I watched this film, I saw a film called LABOR DAY that documents the same time period from the point of view of the Service Employees International Union who endorsed Obama, and it’s about their grassroots efforts, particularly in Iowa, so there’s actually a lot of the same footage there. EN: Interesting. That sounds really cool. Nobody has picked it up? Capone: It actually opens here this weekend in an independently run theater here, it’s not a chain. Speaking of other films, I’m wondering how much of an influence THE WAR ROOM was as sort of a template for what you guys were trying to do with BY THE PEOPLE. EN: I think that it’s one of the standards in the this kind of filmmaking. There’s the one from the '60s, CAMPAIGN, and there’s THE WAR ROOM and I think the character of every campaign is different, but I definitely think that Amy and Alicia looked at that as… stylistically, I think they were definitely inclined towards a verite kind of experience that didn’t overtly comment on anything, and I think THE WAR ROOM is one of the best on that. But we found ourselves with an opportunity that they didn’t have, which was the ability to actually be near the candidate himself the whole time. And this is just the way it worked out, but we got a little more access above the level they had there, and we focused a little more below that level too. They really were in there with George Stephanopoulos and Carville, and we went up the chain and down the chain a little more, but I think that’s definitely one of the defining political campaign films. Capone: You mentioned that they were going for a verite style, but in fact there are a few scenes where whoever is being filmed sees Amy or Alicia and acknowledges them, recognizes them, having seen them for months and years on end. And every once in a while, one of the directors will throw out a question during filming. Why did you decide to leave those sorts of things in? EN: Some of them, I think, these were people who were aware of the cameras around them all of the time, so there’s no hiding it. You can’t pretend that you are a fly on the wall and they don’t know you are there. I actually think some of the time, those netted really interesting moments. It’s a very small moment, but I really like it, at one point coming through the lobby Alicia said to him “Have you had time to think about what’s happening to you?” He just says, “Not yet, but I will.” I think it’s such an interesting moment, because it’s like he’s aware of the magnitude of what is starting to be put on his shoulders, but it’s like there’s no time. To me, if there’s anything that characterizes the experience of a campaign, it’s that moment, there’s no time to pause for self-reflection. There’s no time to pause and think about the enormity that you are about to be the first African-American nominated for president. Do you know what I mean?” It’s just so wild. Capone: Has the president seen the film? EN: We have shown it to the Obamas and Axelrod and Plouffe and Gibbs and all of those guys before the inauguration, yeah. Capone: That long ago? So this has been done for a while then. EN: It was largely done then. We had agreed, since they gave us access to the family and things like that, we had agreed that we would run it by them, but they didn’t ask us for any changes. Capone: I'm not surprised by that, although there is some swearing and drinking in there sometimes, but I don’t think it paints anyone in a bad light. EN: No, also he commented that his favorite bits and the thing that made him emotional was Ronnie Cho and Mike Blake, and I think that he said to Amy, “I think you should have more of them and less of me.” [laughs] I think he kind of knew they were the real story in a way and of course they're not, but I do think that he knew that having some record of how this campaign took place from the inside and how people experienced it from the inside was worthwhile. And, we were tried to be very rigorous… We didn’t make the film to celebrate Obama, we made it to try to chronicle his campaign and of course the people we are following are on his side, when they get jubilant, it seems celebratory, but I think if you really look at the film, it’s fair to say that the film isn’t really commenting, it’s just chronicling their wild ride. Capone: The funny thing that struck me about the movie was that over the years and over many campaigns, politicians are always trying to court the youth vote, and it’s funny that all it really took was someone who was about their age and knew how to use the internet and who knew a little something about how to work a college campus, that that’s what it took to really get them involved. EN: Yes, absolutely. I think the genius of their use of social networking and all of that, I think it was a seismic shift in campaign strategy policy. I think no one will ever be able to ignore that kind of stuff again. Capone: I guess I’ll have to let you go, but can I ask one question not related to this film? EN: Sure. Capone: Where are you with the future of either an AVENGERS film or another HULK film? EN: I don't… Knowing you guys, you will probably have updates on that quicker than I will, so if you find out, call me! [Laughs] I actually don’t know. I’m not even sure deep inside the minds of Marvel how they are planning to string that stuff out, but I don’t think there is any if it is imminent, I don’t know. Capone: Does it still hold interest for you, at least? EN: Things like that to me are always completely dependent on what they make of it. You know what I mean? It’s like anything can be the crappy version of itself or the great version of itself and if it’s the great version of itself, then that’s one thing. If they don’t get it right, then I don’t know, then I think… A lot of it depends on what they come up with. Capone: Sure. I had heard LEAVES OF GRASS got a great reception at Toronto, so congratulations on that. I can’t wait to see it. Even just the photos intrigue me. EN: Thanks. You don’t ever come through New York or L.A. do you? Capone: New York more than L.A., but neither that often. EN: We want to run it for a few people, and we still haven’t gotten that set up yet. We are trying to get a little bit of an advance critic and fan-site word out on that, because I think it’s a very nervous and tentative time in the indie film-distribution business. Maybe I can get a PR person to reach out to you, so you can check it out. Capone: I do a pretty aggressive screening program here in Chicago with both studio stuff and indie releases, so by all means have someone find me. EN: Cool, will do. That’d be fun. Capone: Okay, well thank you so much Edward for talking to me and good work on the film. EN: Yeah sure, absolutely and thanks for covering the film. Capone: Bye. EN: Thank you, man. Bye.
-- Capone capone@aintitcoolmail.com Follow Me On Twitter



Readers Talkback

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  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:02 a.m. CST

    testing 1 2 3

    by xega

    test

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Wow

    by Switzerland

    I had no idea Ed Norton was a moron.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:07 a.m. CST

    "he's a Yale grad"

    by Royston Lodge

    Would it be too much of a cliché to mention that George W. Bush was also a Yale grad?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Dick In Ass

    by DickInAss

    Dick In Ass.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    How's that Hope and Change working out for you?

    by SmokingRobot

    Worst President in 200 years.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Norton's a Class Act

    by DKT

    That's all I got. Looking forward to this one.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Cannabis.....

    by masteryoda007

    ...sure is great. Thank fuck.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST

    He ran the NYC marathon on Sunday

    by Chakraborty

    His time was 3 hours 48 minutes.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST

    RE: How's that Hope and Change working out for you?

    by Mr. Nice Gaius

    I saw that on a bumper sticker the other day. I guess that's the new mantra of the GOP morons who think everything was just dandy under Bush & Cheney.<P>Quote: "Worst President in 200 years."<P>You're a fucking idiot.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:22 a.m. CST

    SmokingRobot

    by Burgundy82

    "Worst President in 200 years"? That's a joke, right? It has to be. It fucking HAS to be.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST

    my parents say Jimmy Carter was the worst president...

    by blade_walker

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Obama = Corporatism

    by Jack Kovack

    He's helped nobody but corporations especially his goldman sach buddies. I'm not even going to bother to watch this.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Obama can change his underwear

    by Jeditemple

    Because he's full of shit.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:31 a.m. CST

    Mr. Green

    by 3 Bag Enema

    Norton's a great actor and all, but he was boring as Bruce Banner. Steve Buscemi should play it as someone who only ostensibly wants to be good, but ultimately likes becoming the monster, and then kills a lot of people and the Avengers have to bring him down. Like in Ultimates, see. BUSCEMI SMASH!

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:31 a.m. CST

    most politicians are the same regardless of race

    by Meadowe

    Fools are finding that out the hard way. When I'm old enough to vote I don't know if there's gonna be anyone worth voting for in ANY office.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:34 a.m. CST

    No News on the Avengers then

    by donkey_lasher

    Well, that was a waste of 10 seconds of my life.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Worst

    by shodan6672

    President in 200 years? Like Obama or not that statement border on retardation.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Edward Fucking Norton

    by enderandrew

    He may just be the best actor working today. There are a few other actors on his class (like Gary Oldman) who can just own and disappear into roles, but there isn't a single actor considerably better.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:37 a.m. CST

    my parents say Jimmy Carter was the worst president...

    by shodan6672

    I'm sorry but that made me laugh. I thought of the Simpsons "He's history's greatest monster!".

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    "doesn't focus on his accomplishments"

    by Guy Gaduois

    Yeah, because it ends on election day. That's the ticket. How could we possibly cover the incredible revolution that's taken place lo these last ten-eleven months. It would be embarrassing to reveal that B.O. can't remember where the hide-a-key is to the "Get Something Done" room. Maybe the guys at the Upside Down Show could let B.O. borrow their magical remote control. The guy has everything he needs, the White House, the Senate, the House . . . and yet can't get a damn thing done except a car trade in program that amounts to breaking windows to hire a window repair man. <p> He could be one of those contestants on the Amazing Race who has never driven a stick shift or doesn't know how to get her into gear, but this guy is kinda lame. Guys are dying in Afghanistan while B.O. plays hoops, golf, golf and more golf and tries to look like Jack Skellington. Didn't he say he was going to do something about Afghanistan? I thought maybe he did. I think the ball is clearly in B.O.'s court when it comes to military decisions, unless I've misunderstood "Commander In Chief". Time for another twenty minute meeting with old General Whosamawhatshisname between dates with Michelle and golf, hoops, not getting the Olympics and such. <p> Let me guess: It's not theirs to wonder why, eh?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    blade_walker...

    by Blue_Demon

    Your parents were right on the money.<p>Looks like we may be getting a second Carter administration with President Obama. But hey...it took the first Carter to get a Reagan. :)

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    By the People

    by enderandrew

    I'm not an Obama fan today, though initially he was the most interesting candidate to me. However I find the title particularly interesting. He raised a lot of money through grassroots support and the internet. His whole campaign was centered on making people feel involved and saying "yes WE can". Then the second he is in the White House, you can't give him feedback anymore. Transparency and grassroots involvement completely disappears.<p>What happened? Honestly, I'm sincerely curious.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    in the title change the word "little" to "barely squat"

    by Meadowe

    Then again, you gotta get the dorks like myself to read the article, so titling it "Norton's Politcal Propoganda Agenda Coming to HBO soon" prolly wouldn't get as many hits.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    WE NEED AN ACTOR WHO WANTS TO NUKE EVERYONE

    by HaterofCrap

    enough of these freakin wussbags. the world needs an ass kicker!

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    What happened to the transparency you ask?

    by kingink123

    Oldest trick in the book. Lie and tell everyone what they want to hear to gain power.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    The secret

    by enderandrew

    Both parties are far more alike than people want to admit. Most people in Washington are corrupt. Both parties like money. True change isn't likely to happen with either party. Bush was an idiot who made people feel uncomfortable by drawing lines in the sand, but he wasn't evil or the worst president either. Obama isn't the greatest president ever, nor the worst.<p>The two presidents will both have presided over conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both handed HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS out. And I imagine in the end, both will have had similar presidencies.

  • What happened to Edward Norton doesn't do late night show appearances? I've seen him on two maybe three this week?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST

    occasionally means rewriting a screenplay

    by Series7

    I wonder how that 200 million dollar law suit went?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Series7...

    by Blue_Demon

    Money talks.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST

    that I stick to talking just about BY THE PEOPLE

    by Series7

    Lame. I think its so gay that STARS/Politicians set RULES for interviews. If a question gets asked they don't want answer then just fucking say that.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Series7, about the restraining order on you...

    by Blue_Demon

    do you think that - HEY! 'The HELL?! Let go of me! This is an interv - (tossed out of room by "handlers.")

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:52 a.m. CST

    You're a tool if you buy all the rhetoric of the far right/left

    by blade_walker

    Both sides are full of shit.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST

    This TB...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...is gonna get reeeeaaal ugly.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Let's see...

    by Blue_Demon

    Politics, Michael Jackson, Roman Polanski...yeah, those are some wild talkbacks.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:56 a.m. CST

    blue_demon

    by blade_walker

    You for got Avatar

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:56 a.m. CST

    forgot, not for got

    by blade_walker

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Ah yes...the passions over Avatar.

    by Blue_Demon

    Nary a dull moment over there!

  • Nov. 3, 2009, noon CST

    Blue_Demon???

    by Series7

    What are you going on about? Do you even know what 200 million dollar law suit I am talking about, involving Norton's rewrites?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST

    ement

    by blade_walker

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST

    I gathered...

    by Blue_Demon

    that Norton stayed away from talkshows, but probably needs to drum up business so he decided to change his mind.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Norton didn't want to promote...

    by blade_walker

    Incredible Hulk after he didn't get the final say on the edit.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Hook up the screening Capone!

    by jrummel

    I would love love love to be able to check that movie out in Chicago any time soon.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Awesome

    by CedarChopper

    Well, I'm sincerely glad someone documented this. Because, at the time I was like: Why is there no media coverage of the 2008 election? This was needed.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:27 p.m. CST

    How many people skipped past all the Obama BS to...

    by Toby Wan

    get to the Avengers comments?? I will raise my hand. I don't give two shits about ANY documentary on a presidential campaign. No friggin way they are gonna say anything to hurt themselves, so its gonna be the same ole political bullshit. Who gives a shit, who gives a fuck.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Saying he's the worst president

    by Toonol

    In 200 hundred years is crazy talk, and shows a lack of knowledge of history.<p> A much more reasonable claim is that Obama is shaping up to be the worst since Carter.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:34 p.m. CST

    make hulk 2 now!!!

    by krod

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Jimmy Carter > Dubya

    by Foodyssey

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Hulk should not be in the Avengers...

    by exie

    The look of the CGI Hulk completely contradicts what Favreau has set up. Perhaps Norton could cameo in the film as Banner, but having the Hulk line up next Iron Man, Captain America, Nick Fury and Thor would pretty much kill the movie. Hulk is a mindless idiot when he's the Hulk. The mere thought he could "team up" with others and work with them to defeat evil is stupid. Hulk should always be "The Fugitive" on the run. He shouldn't be kicking it at the Avengers Mansion breaking dining room chairs and having the team laugh about it.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Exie, movie Hulk is not a mindless idiot...

    by firewhale

    I think you are forgetting the end of the Norton Hulk movie, when Hulk has enough of a synapse connection to talk for the first time, albeit primitively, but then in the cabin by himself, Norton is willing his turn into the Hulk...I believe this implies a more sentient control over his alter-ego, like the comic book Hulk that joined the Avengers...

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Wish I knew what it felt like

    by gboybama

    to be able to simply tune into big media and find cheerleader after cheerleader for my favorite candidates and causes.<p> Honestly, does HBO even care that they completely alienate half of their potential subscriber base right off the bat when folks get a whiff of their incessant preaching via their original programming? I cancelled my subscription due to their constant attempts at political brainwashing. <p> Oh, that and the abrupt ending of Carnivale, Deadwood and John from Cincinnati.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Politics aside, Ed Norton has had quality time with Salma...

    by HarryCalder

    Hayek. That makes him a pretty awesome cat in my book.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:26 p.m. CST

    For the record, I'm totally in line with his politics.

    by HarryCalder

    So y'all who think Obama is the worst president we've ever had, why not wait until the guy's had a couple of years in office before we pass judgment. He hasn't hung any "Mission Accomplished" banners yet, so I think he has some more work to do.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:31 p.m. CST

    "Alienate half their potential subscriber base"

    by ebonic_plague

    Half? C'mon, "half" of the GOP faithful probably don't watch much beyond "24," "The 700 Club," and Fox News. 60 year old teabaggers aren't exactly a prized demographic for anyone but the infotainment channels and televangelists. If I was HBO I wouldn't worry about that rapidly dwindling "half" either.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Norton is a mediocre actor Like Brad pitt

    by HermesTrismestigus

    But I will give him his awesom Brando imitation in kingdom of heaven and I didn't have to see his face was a plus. I like that magician movie of his but in everything else he seems like a big pussy...even in that afterschool comedy american history x...he was like a shaved pussy with a goatee....and swastika tattoo.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:52 p.m. CST

    I'm self employed. If Obama gets me a public option...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...that costs less than a $12,000 per year corporate gang rape plan that can be dropped the minute I get sick for real I'll be his shoe shine boy till the day he dies.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 1:56 p.m. CST

    ...hmm, should Norton get respect for getting stinky...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...with Selma Hayek?<P>Or has he earned eternal scorn and shame for letting Selma Hayek slip through his finger...s?<P>...Selma...fingers...slipping...I got dizzy for a second there...

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Death to Smoochy

    by enderandrew

    The best Ed Norton film you've never seen.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST

    No scorn for Norton

    by HarryCalder

    You convince a woman like Salma to spend five naked minutes with you, your name is forever inscribed in the Book of Awesome.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST

    "presidential victim"?

    by jazzgalaxy

    "victory" perhaps? I seriously had to look at that for 10 seconds to decipher it.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Obama = V

    by rhine1784

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-tc-tvcolumn-v-1102-1103nov03,0,7062976.story Are you a kool-aid drinker?

  • Huh???

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:12 p.m. CST

    ...so how many people are hanging out here to avoid...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...another STAR TREK talkback...and because the idea of mocap ROGER RABBIT is just too depressing to contemplate?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Blue_Demon

    by BurnHollywood

    Reagan sucked. Senile-ass Grampa got a hold of the nation's credit card, maxed it out, and all the clueless kiddies thought he knew what he was doing.<p> Gotta laugh at all the GOP crybabies..."For eight Goddamn years, our guy did everything he could to fuck the country up...well, Obama hasn't fixed it in the 3/4 of a year he's been in office! Where's your 'Hope' and 'Change', eh, smartypants?"

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:17 p.m. CST

    LEAVE AVATAR ALONE!!!!!!

    by Trannyformers_Apologist

    "Revolutionary Photo-real Original Story "

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Death to Smoochy!

    by TedKordLives

    Seconded as the greatest Norton flick you've never seen. Also, maybe the last great Robin Williams role. <P> 'Safari, motherfucker!'

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:19 p.m. CST

    ...second that. Especially about Robin Williams.

    by FlickaPoo

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Smoochy was okay... didn't get all that carried away by it.

    by HarryCalder

    But we need more anarchic comedy, so I should be more supportive of it. I do think Norton has a comedy vein that isn't tapped often enough, though.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:28 p.m. CST

    And yes, might as well be in this talkback...

    by HarryCalder

    Most of the others today are just filled with Hollywood drekkery at its worst.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:29 p.m. CST

    That is to say...

    by HarryCalder

    most of the "other news items" today are just filled...

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:33 p.m. CST

    I LOVE...

    by ebonic_plague

    ...how Tranny has to come into this TB to troll Avatar because GG scared him away from the actual Avatar TB. <p> You gonna do something, Tranny, or just stand there and bleat?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:37 p.m. CST

    That's why I still love AICN

    by MorpheusTheSandman

    Where if anywhere can you find interviews like this. Thanks to you both, Capone and Norton.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Justice League and Avengers will NEVER happen as films

    by Sick Fixx

    And even if they do, there is no way to assemble all the actors who previously played those characters in the most recent reboots onto one set and satisfy everyone. Justice League and Avengers films are great in theory, but mere pipedreams.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:40 p.m. CST

    ...movies like SMOOCHY...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...it has a lot of memorable lines and scenes, I love the dark place it's coming from, I'm very happy it exists, glad I saw it.<P>Saying you weren't "carried away by it" is a good way to put it though. Doubt I'll see it again. Robin Williams was funny though...

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:43 p.m. CST

    So...no IM2 cameo then?

    by jaysin420

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Williams needs to stay the hell away...

    by HarryCalder

    ...from the "Old Dogs" crap and do more R-rated Smoochy-type things. Too bad the former will likely out-gross the latter by about 10,000 to one.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:55 p.m. CST

    worst american president?

    by ian216a

    dude that Tiger Woods Guy isn't even the worst president in the last 200 WEEKS! <P> I mean you do remember the imcompetent weakminded lying, cheating, stealing, murdering cunthole that came before him don't you? <P> Don't you?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Ed's a cool cat but Hulk was no better than Ang lee's version.

    by Stalkeye

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Stalkeye: Bana's a better Banner, but...

    by HarryCalder

    ..."Incredible's" story, tone and SFX were an improvement over Ang Lee's brave attempt at a "superhero" film, I thought. BTW, if you'll excuse a little racial insensitivity, "You won't like me when I'm Ang Lee."

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Ang Lee... get it?

    by HarryCalder

    I'm so easily amused...

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 3:25 p.m. CST

    HarryCalder

    by Stalkeye

    Sure IH's story was more comphrehensive compared to lee's esoteric opus, but Lee had the better hulk (and even did the Mocap as the Hulk)and yes Bana was more credible than Norton as BB. However the jellyfish and gamma dawgs were weak ass villians.Good and underrated movie nonetheless.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I will grant that Hulk is underrated...

    by HarryCalder

    ...I just had more fun with Incredible. Plus, I couldn't forgive the hulk-puppies and Electro-Dude, or whatever Nolte turned into at the end. But Lee's a damned fine filmmaker who should be applauded for trying something different.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 3:42 p.m. CST

    ian216a...

    by Blue_Demon

    W was/is the most HATED president...but not the worst. Not by far. Jimmy Carter takes the prize for that one.<p>It will be interesting to see how President Obama does. I seem to remember President Carter mentioning the Misery Index during the election campaign only to have it bite him on the ass in 1980.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 3:53 p.m. CST

    ...anglee, vely anglee...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...hehe.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:12 p.m. CST

    robot douche

    by dagwood

    Obama's failures exceed Bush's success (if there were any). Honestly, as a non-American, I predicted that his rise would be followed by a huge fall, but give it a rest, please. It's been like 6 months. The guy has a brain and can formulate a sentence. That alone should shut your gop lovers the hell up for at least a decade. Suck it.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:15 p.m. CST

    dagwood...

    by Blue_Demon

    truth be told, he really can't formulate a sentence without his teleprompter. :)

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:22 p.m. CST

    blue

    by dagwood

    one thing to read a teleprompter, another to understand what's written on it.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Carter? Worst President? Open a history book.

    by MCVamp

    John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Ulysses Grant, Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, Buchanan...Carter failed to right a ship that was already sinking. But he didn't do things like expand slavery or allow a Civil War. Also, he didn't take spend over 1/4 of his presidency on vacation (GWB; almost 1,000 days spent at Camp David or roping dogies on the ranch.)

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Hey, the man wasn't dumb...

    by Blue_Demon

    just inarticulate. Heh!<p>And he DID do more for Africa than any President before (and so far...since.)

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:26 p.m. CST

    MCVamp...

    by Blue_Demon

    Okay, okay...Wost President in Modern History.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Asking a Question is not news

    by MacReady452

    AICN: "What do you hear about Hulk/Avengers? EN: "Nothing." AICN: "Great. Thanks." Aint it cool?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Norton should do The Vagina Monologues

    by NippleEffect

    it seems a natural

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 5:06 p.m. CST

    Norton's too badass. Banner has to be a Nerd!

    by Onin Solstice

    Making a weak, pacifist science geek into a people crushing man-beast is what the Hulk is all about. Even Bana was too intense. Where's the contrast?

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Chester Alan Arthur was the worst president ever!

    by blackmantis

    What a douchebag!

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Avengers can happen if they hire Bryan Singer.

    by Ganymede3001

    He's experienced and very adept at handling an ensemble of high maintenance actors. He's also the only Director that's made a kick ass superhero film that involved a plethora of superheroes.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    I think Norton's just press-tour gunshy

    by Tall_Boy66

    Yeah, he didn't get final edit on Incredible Hulk, and yeah they yanked his name off the script (even thought the novel adaptation by Peter David says "Based on the script by Edward Norton and Zack Penn" right on the cover). But the guy really doesn't do that much press. Yes, he's doing press for the Obama doc, but he's a producer for a little-seen flick, of course he'd do it.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Ed Norton seems like a cool f*cking guy...

    by KISSman24

    I really hope he'll be involved in the future Marvel films. The last Hulk was awesome. And the fact that he's one of the people behind this Obama film makes him extra cool. :)

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 7:01 p.m. CST

    HaterofCrap

    by phifty2

    You wanr James Woods. Find his video on whatever talk show he was on right after 9/11 <p> "Launch" was what he had to say concerning retaliation. God bless James Fucking Woods.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 7:14 p.m. CST

    "Never go full retard"

    by Rocco Curioso

    Words to live by. Norton (correct me if I'm wrong here) seems to be the only actor in recent memory to go full retard (in "The Score"), albeit to serve a purpose within the context of the movie (his cover) rather than any faux pas on his part as an actor. Tellingly, it may be his best work of all.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 7:32 p.m. CST

    eustisclay, that story is fascinating and would make—

    by blakindigo

    — a great book or film. Or article. Please write it.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 8:42 p.m. CST

    That was dissapointing

    by DoctorWho?

    i shot straight to the bottom to the Avengers/Hulk info only to hear Ed say "I don't know nuttin" <p> Next.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 8:48 p.m. CST

    The Documentary...

    by cheyne_stoking_DMS

    "You fuck me, then snub me, you love me, you hate me, you show me a sensative side, then you turn into a total asshole. Is that a pretty accurate description of our relationship Mr. President?"

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Norton is AWESOME

    by fassbinder79

    Been a big fan and DEFENDER of his for some time. Happy to know he's an Obama supporter.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 10:02 p.m. CST

    I love the Leader

    by brobdingnag

    The leader is good. The leader is great. I surrender my will as of this date.

  • Nov. 3, 2009, 11:39 p.m. CST

    Obama's "accomplishments":

    by W3bzpinn3r

    Driving up the national debt past a TRILLION dollars. <p> Igniting racial tensions by saying anyone who disagrees with him is a racist.<p> Drove the unemployment up to 10% nationally.<p> Took over two car companies, 28 banks, the student loan program, and is trying to seize healthcare.<p> Left thousands of US Troops stranded in Iraq and Afghanistan with no mission and no support.<p> Hasn't met a SINGLE ONE of his campaign promises.<p> How's that hope and change working for ya'll?

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 12:49 a.m. CST

    Webspinner...

    by cheyne_stoking_DMS

    The debt was bound to rise (just as it does every year) and the American People started the racial tensions themselves. The way I see it, it'll take a while to clean up the shit that that last guy left for us.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:23 a.m. CST

    This is a poorly timed release date

    by Chakraborty

    If it had been released around the time of his inauguration, I think there would have been more interest. The backlash has begun against the current president, and coverage of his presidency has been saturated. No one will go to a movie theater to watch a movie about the campaign of the current president....it holds nothing of interest..even to his supporters. They should sit on the release for a few years. And a film about a campaign CAN be interesting....like The War Room about Bill Clinton's campaign.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:24 a.m. CST

    Oh, it's on HBO....not in a movie theater....

    by Chakraborty

    ....nevermind then.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:41 a.m. CST

    W3bzpinn3r

    by BurnHollywood

    Uh, genius? The National DEBT has been over $1 trillion since Ronald "Fiscal Responsibility" Reagan first broke through that ceiling. I'm guessing you mean the National DEFICIT, which shot up over $1 trillion the moment Bush left office...<p> Any responsible accountant that saw such a huge shortfall in revenue so soon after an executive left office would be well-advised to contact the authorities about him...it means the son of a bitch was cooking the books and passing the mess on to his replacement. Which pretty much summarizes the rest of your list.<p> Eight years of fucking off, and you're surprised there's a hangover. LOL.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 4:19 a.m. CST

    So EN does a docu about a Marxist...

    by PoeticWarriortoo

    bag of shit who couldn't poor piss out of a boot if the directions were on the heel, and he expects people are going to watch it??? Lowest rated show in the history of HBO.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 5:17 a.m. CST

    hello

    by imad

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 6:41 a.m. CST

    PoeticWarriortoo

    by Chakraborty

    Why would someone want to pour piss out of a boot? And who pissed in the boot in the first place? Don't invite me to any of your parties.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Obama's an arrogant prick with no class.

    by Serious Black

    We thought we were getting change, but we just got more typical politician bullshit. Lots of campaign lies about bringing people together and meeting in the middle. He never had any intentions of swaying from his kooky ultra-left liberal agenda. What a jackass.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 7:25 a.m. CST

    You can't blame Bush for everything, you commie arses.

    by W3bzpinn3r

    Sure, Bush screwed up tons of things (he was a closet socialist, afterall) and weakened America, but it WAS Obama who signed into law a "stimulus package" that helps no one but Obama's billionaire donors. It hasn't created a single REAL job. Oh, and "Saved jobs"? How does one measure "saved jobs"? You can't, it's all talk.<p> Chairman Obama, of the Peoples Republic of Obamarica, is setting us up as the next Cuba/China style communist country, and it's up to REAL citizens (with authentic birth certificates) to save the country from the Hitler and Castro-like socialists that are infecting it.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Health care AND no incompetence leading to mass murder!

    by reflecto

    Thus far Obama's gotten through his first year without a cataclysmic terrorist attack which kills thousands, therefore I call that a win, folks.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:30 a.m. CST

    "so this isn't a film that celebrates Obama's accomplishments"

    by The Nihilist

    That's good. I'd hate to pay full price for a 30 second presentation.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Obama is the Same as Carter = Retarded Statement

    by Judge Briggs

    Obama is less than a year into a shit storm of presidency he's inherited from the rethuglicans and people are already writing him off. Those are the same people who probably didn't vote for him in the first fucking place. Poll after poll show that people realize that Bush and the Rethuglicans fucked this country into a hole and understand it will take time for Obama to dig us out. Nobody can compare to shittiness that Bush was.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Youth Vote Myth

    by nemov

    In 2008 the youth vote made up around 17% of the total electorate; relatively unchanged from 2004. Kerry received 54% of the youth vote in 2004; Obama received 60% in 2008. Is it really a stretch for Obama in a Democrat year to pick up 6% more young voters when he was running against a dinosaur from the incumbent party? Obama didn’t increase the number of young voters. It’s a myth.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Re: Bush inherited a booming economy.

    by nemov

    This is not accurate. The economy was entering a minor recession in 2001. Plus, the attacks of 9/11 made it worse. Ever heard of the business cycle?

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 9 a.m. CST

    Nemov

    by Judge Briggs

    however, Bush inherited a budget surplus. and then rammed a tax break down our throats. he has to use cloture because was unpopular. then on top of that, Bush and the Rethuglicans passed the first ever tax break during a time of war. brilliant.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 10:26 a.m. CST

    W3bzpinn3r

    by BurnHollywood

    Bush a "closet socialist". ROFLMAO.<p> Be honest...you have not even a fucking inkling what "socialism" is, do you? I mean, you're pretty sure it has something to do with the government, and something to do with the law, but that's it, right? Hint: Karl Marx was NOT in DUCK SOUP.<p> Lay off the Alex Jones...just 'cause a black guy's president and you're a closet racist is no reason to go all to pieces...

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 10:34 a.m. CST

    nemov

    by BurnHollywood

    Saying the "economy was entering a minor recession" is about as dopey as a woman saying "I almost got pregnant!"<p> The definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth...no such thing happened in that time period. You're just repeating Dubya's bullshit selling point for his disastrous tax breaks.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST

    BurnHollywood/Judge Briggs

    by nemov

    I know what the definition of a recession is... There was still and economic slow down in 2001. The economy wasn't booming which is the point I was making. The economy grew from 2002-2008. Why is that? I'll save you the partisan answer. It wasn't because of Bush. The worldwide economy is much more complex that a single US president. Again, the business cycle has more influence on the American economy than Clinton, Bush, or Obama.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST

    BurnHollywood

    by TheLastBoyScout

    Do us all a favor and commit suicide you fuckin' idiot.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Chakraborty

    by savagedave

    Did you run on Sunday?

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Where's the stuff on Hulk/Avengers?

    by kuldan

    Or was this another agenda to get us to read more bullshit on Obama? An "Avengers" movie could be revolutionary in a positive way, something that Obama will never come close to being. What good has this guy done since he's been in office, other than promise that our futures will be pointless without thought of the "greater good?" Damn communist and socialist talk.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Hey...

    by Blue_Demon

    Did a couple of Republicans just win some elections? Hope & Change, folks! :)

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Net Neutrality

    by Immortal_Fish

    Can't wait to read talkback once that has been implemented. That is, if a talkback remains to be read...

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 5:20 p.m. CST

    savagedave

    by Chakraborty

    Yeah, I did. My time was 5 hours and 5 minutes. I remember talking to you about it, and saying that my only goal was to cross the finish line and that time doesn't matter, but now I totally understand, and I want to run again and aim for a better time next year.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Good effort, congrats

    by savagedave

    I was in a similar position, not trained much due ot illness and injury (was contemplating not running as of a couple of weeks ago) but did it in the end, got 4:20. I'm looking at going back again too.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Incredible Hulk was good

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

    I hope he'll be back as Banner, I can't imagine anyone else in that role now.

  • Nov. 4, 2009, 11:02 p.m. CST

    TheLastBoyScout

    by BurnHollywood

    Do ME a favor and make even a half-assed, pathetic attempt to rebut anything I post. Or go drive your SUV over a fucking cliff...but don't get out of it first.

  • Nov. 5, 2009, 5:37 a.m. CST

    Good job, savagedave

    by Chakraborty

    Nice time.

  • Nov. 5, 2009, 10 a.m. CST

    W3bzpinn3r

    by The Garbage Man

    "Chairman Obama, of the Peoples Republic of Obamarica, is setting us up as the next Cuba/China style communist country, and it's up to REAL citizens (with authentic birth certificates) to save the country from the Hitler and Castro-like socialists that are infecting it." <p>Got-damn Nazi Communists, ruining everything for Real Americans. 'Course you know, once we get rid of them we still have all those Pacifist War-Mongers and the Vegan Cannibals to deal with. <p>You stay strong, W3bzpinn3rzz!!1

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