De Niro and Norton down for acting rematch in "Stone"

Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:11pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - "Stone," an ambiguous and dark drama premiering at the Toronto Film Festival, may not be an easy story for some audiences , but the nuanced tale was a draw for acting heavyweights Robert De Niro and Edward Norton.

"I always liked the script," De Niro said of "Stone," which deals with hypocrisy and guilt, and is set in the rapidly decaying environs of post-recession Detroit.

"I thought the whole thing had an interesting tone and feel about it," the Oscar winner told Reuters in an interview.

De Niro plays Jack Mabry, a prison parole officer just days from retirement who has to deal with the manipulative Gerald "Stone" Creeson as one of his final assignments.

Played menacingly by Norton with cornrows and a hard stare, Stone is not above using his sexy wife Lucetta -- model-actor Milla Jovovich in a shift from her "Resident Evil" action films -- as the bait to force Jack to recommend an early release.

However, the line between criminal and upstanding citizen blur as Stone undergoes a spiritual transformation, while Jack's encounters with Lucetta pressure his already decaying marriage and force him to compromise his own principles.

None of the characters are easy to sympathize with, and the film's ending could best be described as ambiguous.

"I think that most of the films that I've really been affected by in my life have been the ones that really left me with a lot of questions in my head, a lot to think about," Norton told Reuters.   Continued...

<p>U.S. actor Robert De Niro speaks beside actor Edward Norton (R) during the news conference for the film "Stone" at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 10, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>