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James Norton: ‘I try to present myself as friendly and people see something darker’

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After playing psychopaths and priests, the actor is starring in an almost unbearably tragic role. He discusses bullies, broodiness and blockbusters

James Norton’s latest film, Nowhere Special, has a premise so tragic it should be completely unfilmable. He plays John, a 35-year-old single father who is given a few months to live, and has to find a new family for his three-year-old son. Even before you factor in the incredible performance by Daniel Lamont, who was only four when the film was shot, it sounds too obviously a tear-jerker, especially from Uberto Pasolini, a director known for Still Life, a very finely drawn, understated film in 2013, which comes at death from a much more oblique angle.

In fact, the film slips deftly past any obvious poignance to create something much more complicated, with arresting performances from Norton and his tiny co-star. “Credit must be given to the director,” Norton insists, on Zoom from his home in London. “He said: ‘I don’t want this to be brutally sad, I want this to be about life as much as it is about death.’” This you might characterise as a standard actorly response, generous and modest. Then there’s more: “My taste is aligned to that kind of performance. But the subject is so charged and universal, you feel the responsibility sometimes as an actor to show that you recognise how operatic and sad this is. Every time, I would give him a performance that was big, and schmaltzy and gooey, and he was like: ‘Yeah, I know you really liked that, but I’m not going to use it.’”

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from The Guardian https://ift.tt/3dVaTjj
via Google News

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