- By Debbie Emery
- Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Edward Norton is renown for peeling away the layers of complex characters with surgical precision. He played an accused murderer with a severe stutter in Primal Fear, a reformed neo-Nazi in American History X, and an insomniac who was lured into a brutal underground world in Fight Club. Now Norton has finally brought his pet project, Motherless Brooklyn, to the big screen after wanting to direct the neo-noir crime drama adaptation of a Jonathan Lethem novel since 1999. Norton directed, produced, wrote the screenplay and plays the lead role of Lionel Essrog – a private investigator who struggles with Tourette syndrome.
Lethem’s novel was set in modern times, but Norton thought the plotline was a better fit for the 1950s. “I felt like that was the period when a lot of enormous institutional corruption and racism essentially baked itself into the fabric of modern New York permanently,” the Massachusetts-born actor said. “A lot of what we still struggle with in New York and a lot of what we are seeing in the political landscape today was taking place in a very subversive way back then.”
Having been compared by critics to cinema masterpieces such as The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon, Motherless Brooklyn co-stars Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin, and Bobby Cannavale.
“Motherless Brooklyn” hits theaters November 1st.