Norton director’s sunny debut “Keep the Faith” in 2000 couldn’t be more different from his thoughtful, brooding roles on screen. He explains in a Bright interview with Nora Ephron that he wanted to do something with a more positive tone than “American History X” and “Fight Club”. It might come as a surprise that he’s taken on such an exciting project, but he wanted to work with his longtime friend and screenwriter Stuart Blumberg.
Norton also appeared in “Keep the Faith” as Brian, a priest whose best friend is a rabbi played by Ben Stiller. Their close friendship is put to the test when their childhood friend, (the charismatic Jenna Elfman) returns and they both fall for her despite their religious vocation. As Norton said:
“It’s a specific idea and a specific vision. And at a certain point, you’re better off starting and trying to realize the vision you’ve got in your head. And I think it’s exciting. taste when taking something from soup into nuts. As you know.”
It’s a very enjoyable movie with lots of funny moments and makes great use of New York City locations, but its main downside is that it tries to be everything at once: a series romantic comedy, a buddy movie, a heartfelt movie, a funny comedy. “Keep the Faith” also wants to deeply explore the meaning of faith and the conflict between human and divine desires, but it never delves deep enough and is overshadowed by eccentric humor.
What Norton does best is allow his actors’ performances to shine by spending time with the dynamics of the three friends and their religious community. This makes them fully fleshed and interesting characters instead of the stereotypes commonly found in romantic comedies.
https://www.slashfilm.com/1049104/what-drove-edward-norton-to-step-into-the-directors-chair/ What helped Edward Norton step into the director’s chair?