Actor Edward Norton, who typically commands a multi-million dollar salary per film, revealed he made a meager $4,200 for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
Moonrise Kingdom, a story about star-crossed outcasts who run away together, ended up grossing more than $68 million at the box office. The film had a budget of $16 million, which is tight for Hollywood standards. Norton joked that he had to offset his salary with Prada ads in order to be in a Wes Anderson movie.
Edward Norton and other actors rented a house together to save money
Norton has appeared in four Wes Anderson films. In addition to Moonrise Kingdom, Norton starred in The French Dispatch, Isle of Dogs, and The Grande Budapest Hotel.
But Norton said even though he would never get rich doing Wes Anderson films, the work was soul-inspiring and the experiences worthwhile. “Wes made this movie, and it was an absolute shoestring to such a degree,” Norton recalled to Entertainment Weekly.
“We all had to rent a house in Newport,” he continued. “We rented a house and all lived in it together. Wes and Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. And me, the editor and the cameraman – in one house. Yeah, we just rented a house and all stayed in it and all did our own makeup and got into costume in the house, got in a van together, and went and did it. It was like being in a summer theater company.”
Why does Edward Norton want to do Wes Anderson films?
Norton explained that money isn’t the reason why he does a Wes Anderson movie. “I think I made $4,200 on this movie. People ask me like why were you in that Prada ad in London? Because I want to do movies like Moonrise Kingdom and Wes doesn’t pay. It was really fun,” he recalled.
“I lost money for sure,” Norton added. “On every Wes Anderson movie I’ve ever done is a money-losing proposition, there’s no question. But it’s worth it. It’s like being in the best theater company ever. In fact, in Rushmore, when he puts up the Max Fisher players when you’re in Wes’s movies, you’re in the Max Fisher players.”
“But Wes is also one of the very few people that I ever just say the line,” he added. “And he says it. He’s so funny. I’ve never really done anything in one of his films where basically I didn’t just say, can you say the line? He says it, and then I just repeat it. I’m just a meat puppet for Wes Anderson.”
Bill Murray agrees with Edward Norton about Wes Anderson films
Bill Murray is another actor who appeared in multiple Wes Anderson films, including Moonrise Kingdom. He echoed Norton’s sentiment about how his films are more of an experience.
“He really makes movie-making an experience,” he said at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (via Collider). “I used to envy those old-timers who went to Hawaii and shot ‘Hurricane,’ and they had to stay in Hawaii for five and a half months for a good storm. That was living. That was really being a movie actor, back then. But Wes’ movies are similar.
“We go to a place, we take over a small place, and that’s all you do, is the movie,” he added. “There’s nothing else, but making that movie and being with the people that are making that movie. All of your daily life is just more grist for the mill. … He really makes the making of movies an experience, and I love that. And every movie he makes just gets better and better and better.”