In his latest role, Norton plays a task force investigator in "Pride and Glory," who is is faced with a hefty conflict - whether to be loyal to his family or to the police force.
Norton's character comes to the realization that in order to protect your own, it can very well cost you everything.
"Pride and Glory" is based in New York City along with the New York Police Department, which are almost as big a character in the film.
"We shot it all on the streets up in Washington Heights and I've been in New York almost 20 years now and I love working at home and I love films done on the streets here. There's an energy to it that's hard to replicate anywhere else," Norton told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
The legendary Jon Voight plays Norton's father in the film, who is the patriarch of a family of cops. Norton's brothers are played by Noah Emmerich and Colin Farrell.
"Yes. The great Jon Voight," Norton said. "I think it is in a lot of ways about the way that family are the most difficult place to speak honestly and speak the truth. And I think the director Gavin O'Connor had a wonderful sense of almost the old-fashioned ensemble. The movies like 'The Deer Hunter,' or those movies that get you deep inside these working-class characters' lives right at the moment that they hit a moral crisis," Norton explained.
With the tightly intertwined relationships of the family and sense of obligation, Norton's character is tested by his father, who asks him to do something that he doesn't want to do.
"Gavin is very interested in loyalties and the different kinds of loyalties that we all get, bound into family and then institutional loyalties. Loyalties to ideals of service and things like that. And that moment where your loyalties and even the love you feel runs up against your sense of what's right is a very -- it's a very interesting place," Norton said.
Norton isn't taking any time to slow down from the intensity of "Pride and Glory."
He has teamed up with actor Brad Pitt to take on the "Lewis and Clark" story and make it into a miniseries for HBO.
"Brad Pitt and I had talked for many years about 'Lewis and Clark' and how much we loved Stephen Ambrose's book," he said. "It's called 'Undaunted Courage.' It's one of the great historical narratives you could ever read."
With the success of the "John Adams" miniseries on HBO, Norton and Pitt thought that it would be the perfect platform for a "Lewis and Clark" miniseries as well.
"It is just amazing. And after years of thinking it's really too big a story for a film, we finally hit on the idea of going to HBO because they were doing such interesting treatments of big historical subjects," he said.
Although Norton admits that a "Lewis and Clark" miniseries is a work in progress and "an enormous task" to take on, he is confident that someday it will be "a great adventure."
"If you've never read that story, it is one of the great American stories," he said.