Edward Norton, 25th Hour

For Lee, lensing ”The 25th Hour” was an exercise in ”time management.” ”[Norton and I had] been talking the last three or four years about working together,” he says, adding that they simultaneously received the script, adapted by Benioff from his own novel about a convicted drug dealer?s last night as a free man in New York. The pair decided to sandwich the seven-week shoot between Norton?s ”Red Dragon” stint and his rehearsals for this month?s off-Broadway revival of ”Burn This.”

Despite the crunch, costar Pepper says that Lee didn?t skimp on table work. ”Since ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ I haven?t had that kind of intensive rehearsal,” says the actor, who plays a stockbroker friend. ”Spike asked me if it would be okay if I came to New York two weeks early. I told him, ‘I wouldn?t have it any other way — I want to get to know the city and this Wall Street mind-set. And I can?t wait to meet the dialect coach.’ He said, ‘What dialect coach?”’ Instead, Lee set up the Canadian actor with a former stockbroker, who showed Pepper the (velvet) ropes. ”I spent the better part of three weeks with him, going to all of the best steak houses and basketball games.” Poor guy, sounds like real boot camp.

THE LOWDOWN Norton, Lee, and Disney could be Christmas’ oddest combination; we?re intrigued.

25th Hour
  • Movie
  • 134 minutes