The actor - who stars in Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom - expressed his belief that the director's darkly comic films are so beloved because they are unlike any other movies being produced today.
"There's a humour in his films that people love, but playing it is the opposite. It's all about the seriousness of the character's intention," Norton said at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, reports The Huffington Post. "The humour is rooted in characters so serious that they are funny."
The star further explained: "All the humour is sourced in the depth of the sincerity and earnestness with which they pursue their interests - like my character's value of boy scouting.
"They are lovable because they're so passionately committed to what we might call slightly Quixote-esque [pursuits]."
Anderson recently revealed that his next feature film will be influenced by his life in France as well as the French cinema.
Moonrise Kingdom opens in theatres on May 25 in the US and the UK.
Watch the trailer for Moonrise Kingdom below:
Photo gallery - Cannes Film Festival in pictures:
Copyright: Rex Features Matt Baron/BEI/Rex Features