Jonathan Lethem

Novelist attracts H'wood attention

Hollywood has seen its share of tough-talking gumshoes, but it’s safe to say that none of the bigscreen’s crime-solvers have suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. That may all change when author Jonathan Lethem’s well-received tome “Motherless Brooklyn” becomes a New Line feature, produced and penned by actor Edward Norton and Stuart Blumberg (“Keeping the Faith”).

Lethem, who divides his time between Brooklyn and Toronto, says he was thrilled to learn that Norton had seen the galleys of his book before its publication by Doubleday in 1999.

“The project took a little hitch when New Line was shaken up earlier this year,” admits Lethem, referring to the departure of production chief Michael De Luca. “But it’s back on track again.”

In addition to “Brooklyn,” two other books by the 37-year-old author have generated interest among filmmakers. “Gun With Occasional Music” is set up at Regency Enterprises, to be adapted by Hampton Fancher, who directed “The Minus Man” and wrote “Blade Runner.” Lem Dobbs (“The Score”) has written a screenplay based on “As She Climbed Across the Table,” to be helmed by Matthew Jacob (“Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”).

Unlike other successful writers who complain as soon as the cameras start rolling, Lethem has a very Zen approach to cinema. Citing “To Have and Have Not” and “Blade Runner” as two of his favorites, he says, “I’m not that particular about fidelity.

“Many of my favorite movies have been based on books, but they haven’t been slavishly faithful to their source material. I see it as my job to write more books — it’s not the writer’s business to worry about the movie. “

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