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His grandfather, the philanthropist James Rouse, championed social housing. He thinks the greatest artistic endeavour of recent times was not a performance or a film, but Radiohead asking fans to pay what they want for their albums. “I don’t know that I would politically pin myself down in that way.
We need more definitions than the old ones because the old ones carry associations for people that are now somewhat toxic, and I think somehow divisive, and socialism for some people carries a pre-Sixties definition that puts certain people’s teeth on edge, as do words like ‘conservative’.
When I walk into the interview he despairs at the state of media today, especially what he sees as the commodification of news and sports journalism.
He’s on the side of journalists when he complains newspapers are less and less interested in longer, more in-depth, analytical articles, the kind he likes to read.
He says of the need to express approval of artists: “It’s a feeling I get when I watch Jacques Audiard films.I would cast a brilliant Pakistani, because that’s the most live incarnation of those frictions, and especially in the globalised world, and I think Audiard is tapping into all of them.” Having starred in films for more than 20 years, Norton has narrowed down the type of roles he wants to perform. He blames the gap on the fact that he was obsessed with getting the script perfect, and quips that he’s so slow that if he were ever to write a novel, he’d be 80 and talking about it being half-finished. “I just think that I’m less interested than I used to be in, like, exploring genre for the sake of it.He hasn’t signed on to do another movie, although he has been in discussion. I think I’ve had lots of fun working on what I would call genre pictures, heist pictures, cop thrillers and maybe you’re exercising your muscles in a certain way and trying to challenge yourself, but more and more I think I’ve just gotten more willing to wait for things that feel really strong as an attempt to make an original piece, or are expressing something that is really unique, or [are from] a film-maker that I really admire like Wes Anderson, or Alejandro Inarritu or Spike Lee.” Lovers of great acting will be hoping that the wait isn’t too long.He still sends letters to directors he admires, a trait he says makes him understand why fans want to come up to him and chat.
Although he calls requests for selfies “silly behaviour”, he says most of the time it’s a “nice compliment”.He cites a Lawrence Grobel Playboy interview with Marlon Brando in which the actor said that he found being asked his opinions on world affairs almost as ridiculous as the fact that he actually answered them.