Edward Norton playing a set of twins in a stoner dark comedy? Sign me up! Cinematical has just received these exclusive images from Leaves of Grass, written and directed by Tim Blake Nelson. In the film, Norton plays twin brothers Bill and Brady Kincaid -- the former of which is an Ivy League philosophy professor who is lured back to his Oklahoma hometown by his pot-growing twin brother in order to assist in his stoner sibling's ill-conceived scheme to take down a local drug lord (played by Richard Dreyfuss). Also starring in the film are Keri Russell as the new woman that comes into Bill's life, and Susan Sarandon as the twin brothers' eccentric mother.

Nelson, who also has a role in the film, last met up with Norton on the big screen in The Incredible Hulk, and he wrote the part in Leaves of Grass specifically for his friend, even though Norton didn't know it until after the script was written (according to a chat from the Toronto Film Festival back in 2008). You can check out the brand new images by viewing the gallery below. Additionally, we've provided a statement from Tim Blake Nelson after the jump.

Leaves of Grass hits theaters on April 2nd.

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Filmmaker's Statement

Prologue: A monologue or dialogue preceding the entry of the chorus, which presents the comedy or tragedy's topic.

In certain respects most of the stories we encounter – in novels, in plays and in movies – are really versions of the same stories told over and over. What we try to do is to make them new and current for our own generation, as well as specific to our own experience. There is a whole history of classical comedies with identical twins like The Menaechmi by Plautus, which in turn is based on a Greek play by Menander leading on through Shakespeare who furnishes his own examples in Twelfth Night and The Comedy of Errors.

In film, the twin metaphor can operate on an entirely new level because you can have a single actor inhabit two characters, and no matter how successful he is in making them different, the audience will always know it's one actor playing both roles. The notion of twins then becomes this irresistible metaphor for the strikingly different poses one can take in a single life. In our iteration, the results are unpredictable, messy, funny, violent and wildly divergent in tone, reflecting (we hope) the gorgeously incoherent mess of life itself. Try as we might to define its terms, it always surprises us, often in violent and tragic ways.

In addition to having this game of twins, Leaves of Grass is peppered with classical, literary and philosophical references. Scattered throughout are allusions not just to Whitman in the title, but to the works of Shakespeare, Catullus, Plautus, Sophocles, Sappho, and many others. We quote a number of philosophers including Epicurus, Aristotle and Socrates. We want people to consider these thinkers as vital, with ideas that are directly applicable to our daily lives. As Bill says in the film's first scene, "these people were alive, they thought these things, breathe them into life." With any luck, we have done just that.


- Tim Blake Nelson