Biggest Satisfaction From Making The Movie NORMAN by Richard Gere and Joseph Cedar — In Theaters April 14th
Richard Gere: …Nice…I’ve got new tea…I’m really happy. I’m sitting with my friend.
Film Courage: You both have the same birthdates, which I find very interesting…August 31st?
Joseph Cedar: We do.
Richard Gere: Why did I know that?
Film Courage: Oh…you didn’t know that?
Joseph Cedar: I knew that.
Richard Gere: I didn’t know it? You never told me that!
Joseph Cedar: August 31st.
Richard Gere: This is really bizarre. This explains so much…because we’re not really Virgos.
Film Courage: You’re not…you’re on the cusp?
Richard Gere: Well I don’t really know what the mix is but we’re not like a normal…he’s more like a normal Virgo than I am.
Film Courage: Okay?
Joseph Cedar: I know nothing about that…but I’m happy to share the birthdate…
Richard Gere: I didn’t know that?
Film Courage: I’m wondering if the two of you are simpatico? This was actually going to be my last question but let’s do it now. I mean…if you both have the same birthdate…there must be some similar sensibilities or traits? Maybe not? I’m reading too much into this?
Joseph Cedar: …I think as far as this film (NORMAN) goes…I’m Richard Gere’s inner “Norman.” So if there is an inner Norman in Richard Gere, some of it is on this side of the shot.
Richard Gere: There is no question that the 8 or 9 months which we spent together, there was a point where you had revealed your inner Norman enough to me that I went “Aha! That’s where I’m going with this.”
Joseph Cedar: But you know I do have to say, just for the record (between us)…
Film Courage: Please…
Joseph Cedar: I think part of the fun of working with Norman is that Norman goes further than what I ever would. So there might be something of Norman in me but I hold it back. In the movie, he just lets go. Which is fun.
Richard Gere: It’s great fun. Then you were also generous enough with me that you allowed that inner Norman to emerge and scream once and awhile so I could see how far I could go with this.
Joseph Cedar: Right.
Film Courage: [For Joseph] Well I’m fascinated by your take on watching Richard change into this character. This is not a normal character for Richard to play. He usually plays the alpha male.
Richard Gere: This is not a normal character for anyone. I mean this is a completely unique character and for sure…I mean it’s a big distance for me to play him and I think in reality a big distance for anyone to play this guy. He’s written a completely unique character.
Film Courage: How was it to watch him (Richard Gere) transform in terms of body language, the way he carried himself, his interactions with others, his personal space?
Joseph Cedar: I think that the biggest satisfaction that I have is when each scene has what the scene is about, but then there is this little nuance that has to do with what the character is really going through and it usually has to do with his…this motivation that he has and no one else knows. He’s trying to get close to someone. He’s trying to introduce someone to someone. It’s not the obvious thing.
And seeing Richard grab onto that small nuance and bring it to life and express it in some way was incredibly satisfying to me because it was as if he was revealing this secret about what really goes through Norman’s head.
Richard Gere: I remember him (Joseph) directing me…I’m flashing on one of the early scenes, it’s actually the first scene that is in the movie and I’m approaching Dan Stevens in the park (Bill Kavish in NORMAN) and I’ve got a [real estate] deal and I’m trying to convince him. I remember we were doing the shot where he moves where he…no one wants anything to do with this Norman or any “Norman.” It’s…how do you make them stop without losing your own dignity in making them stop? And you see this a lot with the characters in this movie who they don’t want to have to say “Go away. Leave me alone.” It’s some level of “Please. Enough!”
So [in the scene] I’m chasing…I’m chasing and we’re doing a Steadicam shot and he’s saying (I remember this direction was like) “Maybe you can just kind of bob behind him and try to get his attention while you’re coming behind?” and it was so…I mean I got it immediately what you were talking about and that ended up informing much of what I did in the film. This sense of…
Joseph Cedar: Right…peaking over someone’s shoulder and just waiving “I’m still here!” is…seeing Richard Gere do that is incredibly satisfying.
Film Courage: Great! Thank you. That’s excellent. Thank you!
Written & Directed By: Joseph Cedar
Cast: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Steve Buscemi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Hank Azaria, Harris Yulin, Josh Charles
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Norman Oppenheimer (Richard Gere) lives a lonely life in the margins of New York City power and money, a would-be operator dreaming up financial schemes that never come to fruition. As he has nothing real to offer, Norman strives to be everyone’s friend, but his incessant networking leads him nowhere. Always on the lookout for someone willing to pay attention to him, Norman sets his sights on Micha Eshel (Lior Ashkenazi), a charismatic Israeli politician alone in New York at a low point in his career. Sensing Eshel’s vulnerability, Norman reaches out with a gift of a very expensive pair of shoes, a gesture that deeply touches Eshel. When Eshel becomes Prime Minister three years later, he remembers. With his very real connection to the leader of a major nation, Norman is awash in the respect he has always craved. Flush with his newfound feeling of success, Norman attempts to use Eshel’s name to leverage his biggest deal ever: a series of quid pro quo transactions linking the Prime Minister to Norman’s nephew (Michael Sheen), a rabbi (Steve Buscemi), a mogul (Harris Yulin), his assistant (Dan Stevens), and a treasury official from the Ivory Coast. Norman’s kaleidoscopic plans soon go awry, creating the potential for an international catastrophe he must struggle to prevent.
The new film by Academy Award® nominated director Joseph Cedar (FOOTNOTE) is a comic and compassionate drama of a little man whose downfall is rooted in a human frailty all too easy to forgive — a need to matter.
NORMAN in theaters 4/14/17
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