Norton has been known to be very involved as a social activist, being a board of trustee member of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit developer of affordable housing, improving the quality of living in low-income communities, and also has an affinity for Mexican culture (i.e Salma Hayek…and if you don’t, check your pulse). It is somewhat not of a surprise that he would take on such a challenging role. The actor is fluent in Spanish and speaks some French and Japanese (acquired during his consulting work in Osaka, Japan for Enterprise Foundation). I wonder who’d play Robert Kennedy? Maybe longtime friend and actor Brad Pitt? That would make for some talented and sexy social activism. Cesar Chavez Day was celebrated March 31.
Hollywood has celebrated the feats of many iconic American figures who have overcome the obstacles of social, racial, and economical injustices and prejudices. General audiences enjoy a historical character who they can relate and rally around, knowing that their valuable earned dollars are funding the celebration of persons deserving of the “Celebritized” accolades. Ben Kingsley portrayed the modelesque and malnutritioned Hindu leader Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi, and Denzel Washington as the Black Power advocate and civil rights leader Malcolm Little in the film Malcolm X. Aside from being a tribute to the lives of these great persons, it can also be the fast track towards Academy Award nominee recognition. The likelihood of Oscar gold when starring in a biopic, typically with a title surname (or middle name), is more than likely. Just look at the following examples: F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, 1984), Will Smith (Ali, 2001), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, 2005), and Sean Penn (Milk, 2008 ). The list goes on with a slew of other nominations, and soon to be added to the star studded biopic list…Cesar Chavez.
That being said, a couple a weeks ago at the SXSW Festival, Edward Norton was in attendance at the Austin arts and music gathering in support of a few independent films that he had produced, but didn’t shy from the limelight when reporters asked about upcoming acting projects . At a Leaves of Grass panel discussion, Norton responded to such inquiries by saying, “I find it difficult to choose roles that I feel will make a significant change in people’s perceptions of history and the world around them. But trust me, I’ve been meaning to take on a hulk of a project.” Participants in the audience took the remarks as a comment on the upcoming Avengers film, which would feature himself once again dawning the green hue of his character Bruce Banner’s alter ego, the Incredible Hulk. But when asked later if he thought that his venture in comic book inspired franchised films would depreciate his value as a serious actor, he had this to say, “I believe it takes a large amount of attention and work to play any character, real or fictional. But, I’m currently working on a project which would explore and recognize the life of labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.”