The Edward Norton-directed Motherless Brooklyn has been chosen by Film at Lincoln Center to be the closing-night film of the 57th New York Film Festival. The drama makes its New York premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, October 11, before Warner Bros releases it later this year.
Norton adapted the Jonathan Lethem novel and plays the lead character Lionel Essrog in a drama set in 1950s New York. Essrog is a lonely private detective with Tourette syndrome who attempts to find out who murdered his mentor and finds himself drawn into a multilayered conspiracy that expands to encompass the city’s ever-growing racial divide and the devious personal and political machinations of a Robert Moses–like master builder (Alec Baldwin). The cast includes Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann and Cherry Jones.
The film makes its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
“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 hard-boiled yarn grounded in the mid-20th century history of the city,” said NYFF director and selection committee chair Kent Jones. “What a way to close the festival.”
Said Norton: “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 perfectly 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 Martin Scorsese-directed The Irishman opens the NYFF and the Noah Baumbach-directed Marriage Story is its centerpiece film. The rest of the festival slate will be announced early next week.