EntertainmentEdward Norton Did A Lot More Than Act For...

Edward Norton Did A Lot More Than Act For American History X

After the first screening of his 95-minute cut, Kaye received lengthy notes from New Line Cinema and Norton on how it could be improved. This enraged the director, but then he began imagining a radical new version of the film that would require a year to remake. The studio refused and allowed Norton to work on a new cut with an assistant editor — a move that outraged Kaye so much he punched a wall and broke his hand. Kaye unleashed a temper tantrum of epic proportions: petitioning to have his name removed from the credits or be listed as “Humpty Dumpty,” spending thousands on 35 full-page ads in Hollywood trade papers condemning Edward Norton and the producers, and removing the film from the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Kaye was incredibly passionate about his singular vision for the film which, in his opinion, was being destroyed by Norton and the studio. He resented the final version of “American History X,” feeling it over-emphasized the emotional performances and had too many melodramatic close-ups of characters crying in each other’s arms. “And, of course, Norton had generously given himself more screen time,” he chides in his Guardian essay. Yet even though Kaye describes Norton as a “narcissistic dilettante,” he would still work with him again “because he is phenomenally talented.” 

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