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SIFF Part 2: Leaves of Grass

For today we have a play-by-play breakdown of day two of Da Morgue’s Seattle Film Festival Exploits. On our plate this fine afternoon was Tim Blake Nelson’s dark comedy Leaves of Grass starring Edward Norton. One of the few films I’d heard of before the festival this was one I was so excited about I bought tickets in advance. I’d liked the trailer and what I’d read beforehand but what really sweetened the deal was the promise of an Edward Norton appearance afterwards. Wow Edward Norton! Maybe I could ask him what the first rule of FIght Club is? I bet no one ever asks him about Fight Club but we’ll get to that later.

We headed out at about noonish with Sean behind the wheel. As usual him and Colin argued over GPS gobbledygook as Paul and I talked about the worst questions we could ask Edward Norton if we got the chance. We arrived about an hour before showtime and waited in a long but casual line outside the Egyptian theatre in Seattle’s Capitol Hill District. We killed time as Sean once again regaled us with his idea for a graphic novel called Choice: The World of Shadows about people with shadow powers defending themselves from these guys sent from god. Naturally it would be made into a movie starring Jesse Eisenberg as the hero and Will Arnett as the villain. Seemed like a good project to pitch to Edward Norton, maybe he’d be interested in providing some financial backing?

By the time we got inside most of the good seats had been taken. Sean and Colin found decent seats further back but Paul and I wanted to be close for Edward Norton’s appearance. We sat in the front row right next to the steps leading to the stage. So the film began and turned out to be an easily enjoyable experience for all, at least I hope. A dark comedy where Edward Norton played twin brothers, one a renowned philosophy professor, the other a drug dealing hick. Of course Norton played both continuing his fascination with duality. Writer/director Tim Blake Nelson co-starred as the hick brother’s blue collar best friend and what followed was a few hours of off-the-wall dark humor, violence and sweet Edward Norton x2 action.

The audience appeared to eat it up, I mean the lady next to me laughed so loud I practically went deaf. I definitely enjoyed it, not like it was amazing or anything but it was different and humorous. Though it would of been a lot better if I could hear more of the dialogue covered in rowdy audience laughter.

As the film came to a close the big moment was soon to come… And midway through the ending credits they called him up, “Ladies and gentleman, Edward Norton.” He came out and literally walked right in front of me to get on stage. As a matter of fact I had to scoot back my feet to clear a path. To think I could of tripped a two time Oscar nominee if I had it in me… That could of been on the news. It was a typical Q & A and really no one had any really great questions. They went something like this and I’m serious, these are the questions verbatim.

– “Edward Norton, why are you so awesome?”
– “What’s been your most challenging role?”
– “What advice do you have for aspiring actors?”
– “In the movie which brother did you enjoy playing more? And can I have your autograph?”

Those are what I can remember and he answered them with pretty modest answers, except that one chick didn’t get an autograph. For the most part he just seemed like a normal guy but it was still a surreal experience. It couldn’t of lasted more than ten minutes before he thanked everyone and made his exit through an outside door. Afterwards we went to Dick’s and the rest is history, overall a good film, a good day and an unfortunate missed chance to trip a celebrity.

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