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Prison Inmates Rewrote Edward Norton's Dialogue in 'Stone'

Fred Topel Fred Topel
October 8th, 2010 10:34am EDT

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Edward Norton always gives an intense, researched performance. To play a parole candidate in Stone, he didn’t have to make anything up. Meeting with actual inmates gave him the clues he needed to play the title role.

“The best thing that came out of getting in to talk to these guys was a sense of how they viewed the process of getting judged by other people,” Norton said while promoting the film at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX. “Apart from that, their language is fantastic. I would say 60% of the lines of Stone we changed based on the ways these guys articulate.”

Role models are one thing. Taking script notes from prison inmates may be a first for Hollywood. “They would go through the script with us and we would literally say, ‘ow would you say that? How would you say that? How would you say that?’ ay after day after day, they were just like not only things that were in the script but things that weren’t.”

Prisoners bring new meaning to words like vegetarian. “A one point, one of these guys was telling me about a fight and how he had to just let it happen and not fight. He said, ‘I’m three months out from review. I can’t get a ticket. I can’t get anything. When you’re short time, you have to be a vegetarian.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Vegetarian, you can’t have beef with nobody.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s funny.’ There were so many things like that.”

Including Stone referring to his wife as a dime. “I’d heard that expression but he called his girlfriend a dime. All the way he refers to failing, being flopped, like ‘I’ll do the time standing on my head.’ I’m really not exaggerating, virtually every line that was in the script has a spin on it from these guys and many, many that were not in the script came from these guys in there.”

See Norton represent folks like Stone in Stone, now playing.

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Photo Credits: Overture Films


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