Sharon Waxman’s latest article has Norton kvetching about the mini-majors’ fear of risk, specifically a movie he starred in and produced called Down in the Valley:
When Mr. Norton joined the cast, he didn’t expect “Down in the Valley” to be snapped up by a studio. Indeed, the $8 million budget was financed by a wealthy producer-financier, Sam Nazarian of Element Films.
But once the film was complete, the actor — who was also one of its producers — thought it had a shot at being distributed by one of the so-called specialty divisions of the major studios — Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Warner Independent, Sony Classics, Miramax or Paramount Classics.
After the film was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year, however, none of those studios came knocking. Instead, most of them said the movie was “a hard sell,” Mr. Norton said over lunch at a quiet Italian restaurant in SoHo, where he was taking a break from shooting his latest studio movie, “Pride and Glory,” for New Line. The film, they told him, was too dark.
I can’t help wondering if the movie had been made without stars like Norton for a budget under a million, it would’ve been more saleable.