After more than a decade away from the director’s chair, Edward Norton will return to helm Motherless Brooklyn, a passion project of his that’s been in the making for nearly 15 years. Norton will direct and star in the adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel that puts a twist on the detective genre by setting the mob-employed, Tourette Syndrome-afflicted Lionel Essrog at the center of the action. Norton also penned the adaptation of the contemporary novel, choosing to set the stage in 1954 New York. Hit the jump for more.
Deadline reports that Norton will direct his adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn, fully financed by Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment. Norton will also star as Essrog, “a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette Syndrome, who tries to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend. Armed only with few clues and an obsessive mind, Lionel slowly unravels closely-guarded secrets that have major ramifications. It leads him through Harlem jazz clubs, Brooklyn slums and sets him against thugs and Gotham power brokers to honor his friend and save a woman who might his own salvation.” The film is planning to begin production later this year in New York.
Here’s the synopsis from Lethem’s novel (via Amazon):
Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in
startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.