Actor takes on double duty in 'Leaves'

Edward Norton is set to play dual roles in “Leaves of Grass,” a comedic thriller to be directed in spring by Tim Blake Nelson, who wrote the script and will also act in the film.

Norton will play identical twins, one an Ivy League classics professorand the other a hedonistic pot-smoking career criminal. He’ll make the film after completing the Universal drama “State of Play.”

“Leaves of Grass” will be financed by Barbarian Films, which recently co-produced “Powder Blue.” Bill Migliore, Norton and Nelson will produce. Norton and Migliore partner in Class 5 Films, which most recently produced “The Painted Veil” and “Down in the Valley.”

Norton and Nelson recently starred together in “The Incredible Hulk,” in which Norton plays the title character and wrote the script for Marvel and Universal. Nelson had already penned “Leaves of Grass” specifically for Norton, and they’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to do it.

“The challenge of playing twins for an actor is very special, and I was very flattered that Tim sent ‘Leaves of Grass’ to me,” Norton said. “I liked it so much, and felt so strongly that it was a film Tim understood to his core, that I took it to my partners and suggested we produce it. This is exactly the kind of personal filmmaking that we set out to support.”

Nelson, who directed “The Grey Zone” and “O,” said Norton “would have been my first choice for either of these roles.” If he’d said no, “there would have been no second choice.”

Norton will next be seen in the Gavin O’Connor-directed Gotham cop drama “Pride and Glory,” which New Line opens in March.

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