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Edward Norton’s ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ is Finally Happening

Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton
Doubleday/ Adam Berry, Getty Images

Jonathan Lethem’s book ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ came out fifteen years ago in 1999, and Edward Norton has been trying to turn it into a movie ever since. After adapting the screenplay himself, now Norton finally has backing and the film will go in front of the cameras later this year.

And, oddly enough, the backing is coming from his ‘Red Dragon’ director Brett Ratner, according to Deadline. The film follows Lionel Essrog, a private detective with Tourette’s syndrome, whose latest case involves solving the murder of his mentor/only friend. Essrog is smart, but his ticks keep him from being taken seriously, which works to his advantage in some ways. Norton will not only write and direct, but star as Lionel. No other casting announcements have been made.

This is great news as ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ author Jonathan Lethem is one of the best working writers, but no one has yet translated his books to the big screen. Other titles of his have been optioned (David Cronenberg has long been attached to make ‘As She Climbed Across the Table’), but no one’s yet succeeded. ‘Brooklyn’ is easily one of Lethem’s most commercial works, though it presents a number of challenges in that much of the story takes place inside the head of its main character. Norton has had fifteen years to crack that problem, so hopefully he’s worked out an elegant solution.

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