Getting your passion project off the ground can be a frustrating grind of networking, failed financing bids and frustration, even if you're a known name in the film business. If you do drag it to the screen, the results – as Akiva Goldsman and A New York Winter’s Tale could testify – don’t always turn out as well as you might hope. Still, people keep trying, such as Edward Norton with Motherless Brooklyn.
Norton has been attempting to get his adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s book made since he optioned it around the time he was nominated for an Oscar for American History X (so, 1999). After years of struggling to drum up interest and, more importantly, money, Norton has found a partner in his Red Dragon director Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment.
The film version will switch up the time period for the book, sending Lethem’s main character Lionel Essrog (who Norton will play) back to 1954. He’s a lonely private detective afflicted with Tourette’s syndrome, who travels New York City trying 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...
“We all know Edward Norton is one of the most compelling actors of our generation, but I also know he’s an exceptional writer and filmmaker,” Ratner tells Deadline. “As soon as I read his script I knew this was a project I wanted to get involved with.” Norton will now cast the project and get started filming it later this year in the Big Apple.