Norton wrote, directed and stars in the Warner Bros. movie, which uses the main character of Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn novel to tell a new neo-noir narrative set in 1950s New York.
The actor plays Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective with Tourette’s, who, while dealing with the emotional fallout of a botched job, is drawn into a conspiracy that involves the city’s racial divide and the actions of Alec Baldwin’s Robert Moses-like master builder.
“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 semi-musical hard-boiled yarn grounded in the mid-20th century history of the city,” NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement. “What a way to close the festival!”
Norton added, “NYFF has been my hometown festival for nearly 30 years, and it’s consistently one of the best curated festivals in the world. Every year I look forward to meeting up with old friends and colleagues to go watch the year’s best films in their program. Their audiences are serious about film, offering just the right balance of celebratory fun and thoughtful conversation. NYFF always straddles everything I love about the movies. 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.”
The film is earlier set to screen at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival.
Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 57th annual New York Film Festival is set to run Sept. 27-Oct. 13.