Wearing a black leather jacket and somehow looking both relaxed and alert, Edward Norton is taking on press duties in Toronto for his much-buzzed new drama Stone. Norton's trying to explain that despite being here last year with the comedy Leaves of Grass and the year before opposite Colin Farrell in Pride and Glory, he doesn't necessarily try to have a film ready for the Toronto International Film Festival every year.
But his answer says a lot about why the stars love coming to Toronto…
"It sort of depends—it has to land at the right moment. But I seem to be on a cycle where we're always kind of ready with the film late spring and then Toronto's the perfect place to bump it out. I'm always happy about that because I really like Toronto and I love coming up to this festival. I live in New York so it's easy, and I've always had a great time here, always."
Stone finds Norton acting opposite Robert De Niro, reuniting them nine years after they last clashed in the heist thriller The Score. But where The Score was a breezy caper, Stone is grim and gritty—a difference that excites Norton. "It's definitely a different kind of movie-making. Let me put it this way: (The Score) was a lot of fun, and I think if 15 years ago someone had said to me, 'You get to make a film with Robert De Niro someday,' I would say [Stone] was very close to the kind of thing I would have dreamed of doing back then. (The script) was very rich and very, very challenging, and it is a dream come true to sit across and play out very, very complex, long scenes with someone as great as him."
Norton was also reuniting with The Painted Veil director John Curran—which let Norton feel like he could take some acting chances, especially with the convict-inspired cornrows. "I felt it was really important with this character to have the initial view of him, the initial presentation be very, very, very, very unsettling and strange and I made a couple of choices. He [Curran] wanted to set the film in Detroit and I said, 'If we're going to do Detroit, I want to go where that takes us.' I said things to him like 'I'm seeing a lot of these [convicts] in cornrows and things.' I think he was like, 'What?'
"One of the big thrills to me was the first day we really started working on it, he came around the corner from the camera and his eyes were really wide and he just came over and went, 'I just love this. I love where you're going with this.' And I went, 'Ah, great...'"
See other Hollywood types, like Megan Fox, visiting the Great White North in our 2010 Toronto Film Festival: Star Sightings gallery.