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Warner Bros’ ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ from Director Edward Norton to Close New York Film Festival

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Film at Lincoln Center has announced Edward Norton‘s “Motherless Brooklyn” as the closing night selection at the 57th New York Film Festival. Norton directs the crime drama which sees him in the lead, with a supporting cast featuring Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann, Alec Baldwin, and Cherry Jones.

From the press release:

In an unusually bold adaptation, writer-director Edward Norton has transplanted the main character of Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel Motherless Brooklyn from modern Brooklyn into an entirely new, richly woven neo-noir narrative, re-set in 1950s New York. Emotionally shattered by a botched job, Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective with Tourette syndrome, finds himself drawn into a multilayered conspiracy that expands to encompass the city’s ever-growing racial divide and the devious personal and political machinations of a Robert Moses–like master builder, played by Alec Baldwin.

Featuring a rigorously controlled star turn by Norton and outstanding additional supporting performances by Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann, and Cherry Jones, plus a haunting soundtrack (featuring a score by Daniel Pemberton, with orchestration by Wynton Marsalis, and an original song by Thom Yorke), Motherless Brooklyn is the kind of production Hollywood almost never makes anymore, and a complexly conceived, robust evocation of a bygone era of New York that speaks to our present moment.

Edward Norton (Photo by Glen Wilson)

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said, “Edward Norton has taken Jonathan Lethem’s novel as a jumping-off point to craft a wildly imaginative and extravagant love letter to New York, a beautifully told hard-boiled yarn grounded in the mid-20th century history of the city. What a way to close the festival!”

“NYFF has been my hometown festival for nearly 30 years, and it’s consistently one of the best curated festivals in the world,” said Norton. “Every year I look forward to meeting up with old friends and colleagues to go watch the year’s best films in their program. NYFF always perfectly straddles everything I love about the movies. They balance serious audiences and thoughtful conversations about film with just the right level of glamour and celebratory fun. To have this particular film—which grew out of my love affair with New York—selected for Closing Night is just a huge thrill . . . a dream come true, actually.”

“Motherless Brooklyn” is Norton’s second directorial project, coming nearly a decade after his debut effort with 2000’s romantic comedy, “Keeping the Faith.” He is an Academy Award-nominated actor for his roles in the Best Picture-winning “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “American History X” and “Primal Fear.”

“Motherless Brooklyn” will be making its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 11, 2019. Warner Bros Pictures will be releasing the film toward the end of the year. The festival recently announced its Opening Night selection, the highly anticipated mob drama from Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman.” The 57th New York Film Festival runs September 27 – October 13.

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Written by Jessica Peña

Jessica Peña studied journalism at Volunteer State Community College before she began writing about film on a personal blog that sprouted from an electronic media course. She is now a film journalist for Awards Circuit, as well as a content editor and writer for the UK-based site JumpCut Online. She also loves the Child's Play/Chucky franchise with no end in sight.


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