9 Amazing Performances By Actors Who Stopped Giving A Damn
9. Edward Norton - The Italian Job
Contractual obligations don't always create great artistry, but in the case of Edward Norton and his behind-the-scenes battles with Paramount over his required involvement in The Italian Job, it cemented the fact that Norton is a consummate professional who's nearly impervious to giving a bad performance.
Norton wanted nothing to do with the remake of The Italian Job, but since he'd signed a three-picture deal before making his onscreen debut in Primal Fear, Paramount threatened to sue him for millions of dollars if he refused to make the movie. After much back-and-forth between the actor and the studio, Norton eventually caved and agreed to participate. Though he was reportedly very businesslike and amiable during filming, he refused to do promote the movie afterward.
You can almost feel the behind-the-scenes disdain seeping out of the screen whenever Norton is present, which imbues his slimy villain with a natural sense of mischief. He doesn't ever come off as detached, though it's likely his natural charisma simply didn't allow that to happen.
The Italian Job may rank just outside of Norton's top 10 performances, but considering the circumstances, it's hard to imagine anyone else coming in and playing the character of Steve Frazelli any better.