Producer Brett Ratner Revives Edward Norton's 'Motherless Brooklyn'
It's been about 15 years since Edward Norton started working on an adaptation of Motherless Brooklyn, the crime novel by Jonathan Lethem, and now the project seems to finally be coming together. Norton started trying to make this project happen after he starred in Fight Club in 1999, but the pieces never came together. Deadline reports the film has new life thanks to Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment banner stepping up to fully finance the film with an eye towards production starting later this year in New York. Norton will direct, produce and star in the film which he also wrote himself. Read on!
Here's the official synopsis of the book:
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.
This is only Norton's second time directing, and the project sounds drastically different than his religion centric romantic comedy Keeping the Faith. It's been a long road to get here, and Norton even had this adaptation set up at New Line after getting an Oscar nomination for American History X. Ratner hypes up the film saying, "Edward’s script has melded elements of Jonathan Lethem’s terrific novel with an original story that at once feels classic and entirely fresh. And with Edward playing Lionel Essrog, the brilliant private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome, this will be a tour de force performance.” Sounds great.