How Edward Norton Approached His ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ Character’s Tourette’s | Video

“People get fixated on different words and physical twitches are different,” the writer-director-actor says

Edward Norton and his “Motherless Brooklyn” co-stars visited TheWrap’s studio at the Toronto Film Festival to discuss his upcoming film, an adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel about a detective with Tourette’s who investigates the murder of his agency’s boss.

Along with starring as the detective, Lionel Essrog, Norton also wrote and directed the film to give himself the creative freedom to depict Lionel the way he wanted to. He told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven that while other physical and mental disorders have a set group of symptoms, Tourette’s manifests itself in unique ways depending on each person.

“People get fixated on different words and physical twitches are different,” Norton said. “So in some ways, it was a great liberation for me in that I could come up with the blend of those things that I felt served this character and this story and be somewhat improvisational in those scenes.”

Norton was joined by Willem Dafoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, whom he praised as “very generous, very patient, and very nimble.” It’s not uncommon for a director to also star on the film he’s working on, but Norton acknowledges that it creates a different dynamic on set than when the director is always behind the camera.

Watch the full interview above.

Jeremy Fuster

Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com



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