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Norton's schedule leads him to bow out of 'State of Play'

The Baltimore Sun

Columbia native Edward Norton is bowing out of the Washington-set political thriller State of Play, his publicist confirmed yesterday.

Norton's departure follows that of Brad Pitt's, who left the film late last month, just as it was about to start production in Los Angeles (Washington filming was to start next month). Russell Crowe was recast in the Pitt role, as a newspaper reporter covering a homicide investigation that points back to his former employer - the ambitious young politician Norton was to play.

But the production delay associated with recasting upset the schedule for Norton's next project, according to a Variety report confirmed by his publicist, Cynthia Swartz. He will be co-producing and starring in Leaves of Grass, a comedy from writer-director Tim Blake Nelson.

Ben Affleck may replace Norton in State of Play, which is to begin production next month. Co-stars in the Univeral Pictures/Working Title film include Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren and Jason Bateman.

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