Edward Norton Really Compared His New ‘Birdman’ Film to ‘Gravity’
NEW YORK — The Hulk and Batman walked onto a stage to small talk about another superhero. No joke. Edward Norton and Michael Keaton totally teamed up Friday night at New York Comic Con to discuss their Birdman film, with Norton going so far as to compare the upcoming dark comedy to the Oscar-winning space epic Gravity.
The cinematography in Birdman is indeed a work of art. Scenes involving the titular character’s (Michael Keaton) telekinetic powers and the flick’s special effects incited gasps from the panel’s attendees, who were treated to the film’s first 10 minutes.
Scenes played like one-shot music videos, where a single camera seamlessly captures continuous action as characters move from room to room. Norton enthusiastically likened Birdman’s cinematographic wonders to those seen in Gravity:
“If you look at Gravity, which [Birdman cinematographer] Emmanuel Lubezki shot also, it’s really like a singular technical achievement — the kind that really pushed a certain kind of effects work and camera work to a new level. If it’s possible, I think what he pulled off in this film is as technically phenomenal while also being married arguably to something so artistically poetic. It’s amazing what he pulled off as a cinematographer in this film. I think it’s every bit [as] amazing as what he did with Gravity and yet in a totally different type of story and context. I really can’t think of a lot of things that you can point to that are an analogy to what he did with this movie.”
Keaton seconded Norton’s analysis on Birdman‘s visuals, saying, “I’m sure film schools will be deconstructing for a long time how all of it was done.”
Keaton plays Riggan, a film star whose fame plummeted ever since he stopped portraying his popular superhero character Birdman to instead pursue a Broadway career. Norton stars as cocky stage actor Mike, whose big ego clashes with Riggan’s older, bruised ego.
“The movie has a lot to do with ego and how ego propels you and hamstrings you,” Norton said, adding that although the film technically isn’t a traditional superhero action flick, “the superhero genre is kind of the heart of the debate of the movie in a way.”
Both actors notably spend time in their underwear. In the film’s opening scene, Keaton is wearing tighty whities while meditating in his dressing room (“How did we end up here? This place is horrible. Smells like balls. We don’t belong in this shit hole”). In another heated scene, Norton is in patterned briefs before Keaton punches him in the face.
Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man plays Riggan’s daughter, who in one scene aggressively tells her father, “It’s not important, you’re not important, get used to it!”
“That scene where she lays me out is really hard to watch,” Keaton said. “She rips into me in that scene. It’s really funny and difficult to watch at the same time. It makes you want to cry and makes you want to laugh at the same time.”
Birdman, due out Oct. 17, has already been receiving rave reviews across the film-festival circuit. Now only time will tell whether its touted cinematography can achieve what Gravity‘s did, which was win Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects.
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