Shoes loom large in the story of NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER. So, it was only right that when I spoke with that film’s writer/director, Joseph Cedar, on April 6, 2017, there would be a question or two about the expensive pair that is both the best and worst investment the title character ever makes.
While sipping coffee, we started, though, with the peculiar relationship that Norman has with the truth, He never quite lies, but he is certainly not being entirely honest, either as he finds himself going from small hustles to having the ear of the Israeli prime minister, and the ancillary influence that such a connection engenders. We moved on to the irony of such a people person being so very lonely; the pleasures and perils of shooting on location on New York City streets, and why fixers like Norman are so necessary to society.
We finished up with how the idea of the Court Jew influenced Cedar’s script; how Richard Gere disappeared into the role; what happened to those designer shoes after filming ended; why simple isn’t necessarily good; and the fluid meaning of the word “macher.”
NORMAN is a tale of truth, lies, and the power of the right pair of shoes. Richard Gere stars at the eponymous fixer, a man who has made it his job to be at the right place at the right time, and who uses the entire city of New York as his office. Putting together people and deals for everyone’s benefit has been his currency as long as anyone can remember, but with middling results. A not-so-chance meeting with a minor Israeli politician changes Norman’s life, and his fortunes rise with those of the politician, who eventually becomes Israel’s Prime Minister. It’s a position for which Norman has prepared himself his entire life, when his big talk can also be translated into big things, including saving his childhood temple, and redeeming himself in the eyes of his nephew. The film co-stars Michael Sheen Steve Buscemi, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Hank Azaria, Harris Yulin, Josh Charles, and Lior Ashkenazi as the politician who enjoys dressing well. Cedar directed from his own script and his previous work includes the superb study of a father-son relationship