Sitting opposite Ed Norton in an empty conference room in a skyrise, one can’t avoid thinking about the hyper-charged situations he’s glared down on film. Clad in a black shirt and noticeably relaxed, he takes a moment before responding to a question, pressing a small washer-like object into the table and letting it spring back. It allows a brief window to search for the chiseled Nazi skinhead who forced a thug to tooth a curb in American History X. And for the office drone who scaled barbwire fences late at night to steal the excess fat of women and absorbed grueling punches in Fight Club. And for the smack dealer in 25th Hour who walked man’s best friend by a World Trade Center-less horizon, as unprepared for a future in the clink as the U.S. was for its uncertain present.
Norton is obsessively drawn to characters whose scariest adversary is in the mirror. It doesn’t matter if the playing field is a study in madness or a testy, possibly concluded, stint in the Marvel Universe as Bruce Banner. His latest film, a thoughtful thriller entitled Leaves of Grass, puts a literal spin on his interest in duality. He plays formerly estranged, highly intelligent twins—one a respected and reserved philosophy professor, the other a shaggy distributor of hydroponic marijuana.
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Briefly: Leaves of Grass, the film directed by Tim Blake Nelson in which Edward Norton plays twin brothers, was scheduled for a tiny opening this week courtesy of First Look Studios, run by the film’s producer Avi Lerner, who decided to release the film himself after sales didn’t happen at the Toronto Film Festival last fall. But the movie has now been bought by a different, larger distributor. The release planned for this weekend has been scrapped, and the film will get a larger bow later this summer.
So far the new distro has not been announced, but we’ll update as soon as the info is revealed. (EDIT: Anne Thompson reports that Telepathic Studios has bought the film.) Norton announced the change via his Twitter account, saying that the new deal was “very much due to great audience response and reviews and press out of SXSW.”
Over the years, we’ve come to expect the sight an actor playing twins or clones on screen to either be yanked for low-brow laffs and shenanigans (Multiplicity, Double Impact) or to spiral down a freaky reveal about the human condition (Dead Ringers, Moon, Big Love). The latest word on Leaves of Grass, starring the challenge-welcoming Ed Norton in roles as a longhaired drug dealer and his straight-and-narrow twin, is that it’s an original and scrappy mix of twin genres, with a healthy splash of violence.
Below we have an exclusive clip where Norton offers a green hit to his twin and gives meta-meaning to peer pressure. One of my friends felt the stoner twin’s accent and personality bordered on kooktarded—personally have no problem—but let us know what you think. Leaves of Grass opens on April 2nd and premieres this Friday, March 12, at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.
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Steve Buscemi has been doing a lot of indie films recently, and his latest is no different. Saint John of Las Vegas is a dramedy directed by another first time feature film director Hue Rhodes. The film follows “the wild and funny trip a guy has to take to discover there’s more than one way to hit the jackpot in life.”
After a run of bad luck, John (Steve Buscemi), a compulsive gambler, runs away from Las Vegas and toward a normal job and life. Taking a nondescript position in an auto insurance company in Albuquerque, he tries to get ahead in the straight world, amid the ever-present temptations of scratch-off lotto tickets. When his boss, Mr. Townsend (Peter Dinklage), asks John to accompany his top fraud debunker, Virgil (Romany Malco) on an investigation of a dubious car “accident” near Vegas, John sees an opportunity to get a promotion , though he’s concerned about returning to the gambling game. Before leaving he becomes involved with his eccentric co-worker Jill (Sarah Silverman), a dalliance that has the potential to become a real relationship. Soon John is on the road with Virgil, where they encounter a series of offbeat characters. Through the journey, John’s confidence builds, and he realizes that he can’t escape his gambling addiction by running away from it—it will follow him wherever he goes. It’s only when he returns to Vegas and his experiences there finally send him on the path to breaking free.
The movie also co-stars Emmanuelle Chirqui, Tim Blake Nelson and John Cho. The film played at Cinevegas and the Starz Denver Film Festival and was met with mixed reviews. Watch the trailer now after the jump, and as always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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We were beginning to wonder if Leaves of Grass, a pot comedy thriller starring Edward Norton in the role(s) of identical twins, had hit a buzz or release snag. Or worse: try to recall the actor’s Pride and Glory from last year. But judging by this new, rapid-clip trailer, complete with Norton pronouncing “crystal meth” in a thick country accent, Leaves might have yielded a nice return on a visual gag so infamously exploited by Van Damme actioners. Add in wretched black light posters, scenes with Susan Sarandon as the twins’ knowing mom, and Richard Dreyfuss channeling Nic Cage’s iguana rage, and it’s worth a laugh.
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The first production photos from Leaves of Grass have premiered on the Toronto Film Festival website. The firlm is written, directed and produced by Tim Blake Nelson, starring Edward Norton as Bill Kincaid, an Ivy League classics professor, who “returns to rural Oklahoma to bury his dangerously brilliant identical twin brother, only to discover that the brother he believes to have been murdered has lured him home to involve him in a doomed plot against a local drug lord. Before Bill can flee, he’s implicated in a murder, and his life has become completely unraveled, suggesting that no rational philosophy can protect us from life’s twists and dangers.
Bill Kincaid, an Ivy League classics professor, who returns to rural Oklahoma to bury his dangerously brilliant identical twin brother who had remained in their native state to grow hydroponic pot. The official plot synopsis says that “Leaves of Grass is a fast-paced comic film that contrasts two distinct approaches to life.” You will see in the photo above that Norton plays both of the twins. The film co-stars Susan Sarandon, Keri Russell, Melanie Lynskey, Maggie Siff and Richard Dreyfuss, some of wholm you can see in additional production photos included after the jump.
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“While Shaun of the Dead played with the conventions of the Zombie film genre, Fido plays against them.”
Fido was one of the flicks we really dugg at Sundance this year. So much so that Lionsgate even quoted us on the theatrical movie poster. Soon enough you’ll finally be able to see the film for yourself. Watch the new trailer below, followed by the official plot synopsis and six production photos.
[flv:http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/trailers/fidotrailer.flv 450 190]
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