In the fall of 2008, when [movieperson id="182818"]Edward Norton[/movieperson] was gearing up to play a virtuosic marijuana horticulturist in “Leaves of Grass,” the question on his mind was a simple one: to puff or not to puff?
“I wondered, ‘Would being stoned look way better on the film than acting stoned?’ ” he told MTV News last year. Norton eventually decided to toke away on some fake stuff. After all, he faced the technical challenge of playing not only the pot grower but the pot grower’s twin brother, an Ivy League philosophy professor . Nonetheless, the stoner community, if indeed there is such a thing, has embraced the actor and his new film (out April 2). He’s recently appeared within the pages of High Times.
“That’s new adventures in journalism for me as an actor,” he said with a smile.
Yet Norton emphasized that “Leaves of Grass” isn’t just for moviegoers who geek out in dorm rooms to Cheech and Chong’s “Up in Smoke.” “It’s more complex than that,” he said. “It’s not just a stoner comedy. It is a comedy and it is a lot of fun. I think it’s like ‘Pineapple Express’ meets ‘Adaptation’ or something. It’s a hodgepodge.”
It’s a cinematic medley Norton knew he had to be a part of as soon as he read writer/director Tim Blake Nelson’s script. “If someone offers you two good parts in one movie, it hits at all your narcissistic impulses as an actor,” he laughed, before going on to make a comparison with his initial reaction to what became one of his most beloved onscreen roles.
“When I read the novel ‘Fight Club,’ and I knew [David] Fincher was going to direct it, there’s this instant charge to it because you go, ‘This guy and his particular talents are so well suited to this material. It’s going to be special,’ ” he said. “It was the same with ‘Leaves of Grass.’ ”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Leaves of Grass.”
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