Willem Dafoe Reveals the Reason He Wanted to Be Part of ‘Motherless Brooklyn’

     October 29, 2019

With Motherless Brooklyn getting ready to open in theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with Willem Dafoe to talk about the film. Written and directed by Edward Norton, the 50s-set crime noir is set in New York City and focuses on a private eye (Norton) who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When his boss (Bruce Willis) is murdered, Norton and the team he works with set out to discover why their boss was killed. Adapted from the novel by Jonathan Lethem, the incredible cast also includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, and Alec Baldwin.


Image via Warner Bros.

During the interview, Dafoe revealed his reasons for wanting to be part of the film, why he thinks it’s a Valentine to New York City, how it’s tough to make a movie like this nowadays, what it was like sharing the screen with Alec Baldwin, and more.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis. For more on Motherless Brooklyn, watch the trailer here.

Willem Dafoe:

  • What was it about Motherless Brooklyn that made him want to be part of the project?
  • How it’s hard to make a movie like this nowadays.
  • Getting to work with Alec Baldwin.
  • On how all the characters are complex.

Image via Warner Bros.

Here’s the official synopsis for Motherless Brooklyn:

Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York, “Motherless Brooklyn” follows Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton), a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome, as he ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis).  Armed only with a few clues and the engine of his obsessive mind, Lionel unravels closely-guarded secrets that hold the fate of the whole city in the balance.  In a mystery that carries him from gin-soaked jazz clubs in Harlem to the hard-edged slums of Brooklyn and, finally, into the gilded halls of New York’s power brokers, Lionel contends with thugs, corruption and the most dangerous man in the city to honor his friend and save the woman who might be his own salvation.

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