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Published: June 13, 2008Interview: Edward Norton
Photo: Edward Norton

Edward Norton: The Green Giant

The Incredible Hulk actor talks about being green, his greatest adventures, and giving plastic bags the sack.

Text by Mary Anne Potts
Photograph courtesy Michael Gibson

These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find many Hollywood celebrities who don't lend their star power to some kind of environmental cause. Then there is Edward Norton. The son of a pioneering environmentalist who grew up hiking, paddling, and diving in some of the world's most beautiful spots, Norton is relentless in his commitment to the planet. Besides owning a small, solar-powered home in L.A., the actor also started Solar Neighbors, a project that brings solar power to low-income families. He sits on the board of a sustainable travel initiative in Kenya. And, this spring Norton partnered up with National Geographic and PBS for a second year to host Strange Days on Planet Earth, a program examining how human actions can be linked to unexpected environmental changes across the planet. Here, Norton talks about bringing some green practices to the silver screen, his greatest adventures, and giving plastic bags the sack.

ADVENTURE: The Hulk is, of course, green. But did you manage to sneak some green themes into the film?

EDWARD NORTON: I don't want to pretend that it is an environmental film. But I wrote the script, and I would definitely say that there are themes embedded in it about the arrogance of believing that we can monkey with very sophisticated natural systems that have evolved over billions of years and that it's not going to have a certain blowback on us.

A: This film broke new ground by introducing some environmentally friendly practices to the set. What did you do?

EN: We worked with carbonfund.org on offsetting some of the carbon footprint of the production and to figure out how to calculate the carbon footprint for a production. We also tried to reduce paper use by doing more electronic paperwork. We made a lot of the film in Toronto, where there are good low-sulfur diesel rules and no idling rules with vehicles. But, in all honesty, as much as I thought we did some good things, we have a long way to go in this industry.

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