Edward Norton’s ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ to Close New York Film Festival

Alec Baldwin, Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann and Cherry Jones co-star

edward norton motherless brooklyn
Courtesy of New York Film Festival

“Motherless Brooklyn,” Edward Norton’s second directorial project, is set to close the New York Film Festival, the festival announced Friday. The film will make its New York premiere at the Alice Tully Hall on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, and will be released in theaters by Warner Bros. on Nov. 1.

Norton stars in the crime drama alongside Alec Baldwin, Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Leslie Mann and Cherry Jones. “Motherless Brooklyn” is based on Jonathan Lethem’s novel, and while the book was originally published in 1999 and is a neo-noir narrative, it is now set in the 1950s. Here’s the synopsis:

Emotionally shattered by a botched job, Lionel Essrog (Norton), a lonely private detective with Tourette syndrome, 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, played by Alec Baldwin.

The film also features a score by Daniel Pemberton, orchestration by Wynton Marsalis and an original song by Thom Yorke.

“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. What a way to close the festival,” New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair Kent Jones said in a statement.

“NYFF has been my hometown festival for nearly 30 years, and it’s consistently one of the best-curated festivals in the world,” Norton said. “Every year I look forward to meeting up with old friends and colleagues to go watch the year’s best films in their program. NYFF always perfectly straddles everything I love about the movies. They balance serious audiences and thoughtful conversations about film with just the right level of glamour and celebratory fun. 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.”

“Motherless Brooklyn” was already announced as part of the Toronto International Film Festival lineup. Of the three main presentations as part of NYFF, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is kicking off the festival with its world premiere. Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver will be the centerpiece film.

NYFF is presented by Film at Lincoln Center. The selection committee is chaired by Jones and also includes Film Lincoln Center director of programming Dennis Lim and Florence Almozini, the associate director of programming.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on Sept, 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now, including for the closing night. Support for Closing Night of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its non-profit mission to support the art and craft of cinema.

The New York Film Festival runs between Sept. 27 and Oct. 13.