×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Telluride Film Festival Names ‘Motherless Brooklyn’ Author Jonathan Lethem as Guest Director

The Telluride Film Festival has selected novelist Jonathan Lethem as its guest director for its 45th annual fest.

The festival, running over Labor Day weekend on Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, announced the selection on Friday. Lethem will pick a series of films to screen at the festival and plans to participate in discussions at the screenings.

Lethem has written 10 novels, five short story collections, a novella, two books of essays, a comic series, and articles in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney’s. He’s best known for his fifth novel, “Motherless Brooklyn,” the 1999 book that won the National Book Critics Circle Award, Macallan Gold Dagger for Crime Fiction, and Salon Book Award.

The film adaptation of “Motherless Brooklyn” — directed by Edward Norton, and starring Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, and Leslie Mann — is currently in production and slated for release in 2019. Lethem’s more recent novels include New York Times bestseller “The Fortress of Solitude” (2003), “You Don’t Love Me Yet” (2007), “Chronic City” (2009), “Dissident Gardens” (2013), and “A Gambler’s Anatomy” (2016).

In “Motherless Brooklyn,” Norton stars as Lethem’s protagonist, Lionel Essrog, who has Tourette syndrome and works as a private eye at a makeshift detective agency, set in 1954. The story focuses on a young woman protesting against a powerful developer, who designs neighborhoods as slums so his people can buy up property. Norton optioned the novel it 1999.

“He did so with my blessing and we mutually agreed that I should not be involved in the movie,” Lethem told Variety. “I did go on the set this March and it was fascinating and a little surreal.”

Lethem has attended Telluride only once. In 2016, he participated with Kenneth Lonergan in a post-screening discussion of “Manchester by the Sea.” He recalled being impressed with the feel of the festival — particularly with guest director Volker Schlöndorff’s selections.

“I’ve been winnowing down my list of films, which won’t be completely obscure, but something of a discovery,” Lethem said. “Hopefully, when people see them, it will be like, ‘Where have you been all my life?'”

Last year’s guest director was documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer. Others have included Rachel Kushner, Guy Maddin, Caetano Veloso, Michael Ondaatje, Alexander Payne, Salman Rushdie, Peter Bogdanovich, B. Ruby Rich, Phillip Lopate, Errol Morris, Bertrand Tavernier, John Boorman, John Simon, Buck Henry, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Sondheim, G. Cabrera Infante, Peter Sellars, Don DeLillo, J.P. Gorin, Edith Kramer, and Slavoj Žižek.

More Film

  • Chris Evans attends the "Lobby Hero"

    Chris Evans' Action Film 'The Red Sea Diving Resort' Bought by Netflix

    Netflix has bought global rights, excluding China, to Chris Evans’ action-thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort” for release later this year. Haley Bennett, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michiel Huisman, Greg Kinnear, and Ben Kingsley also star. “The Red Sea Diving Resort” is directed by “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff from his own script. Raff had [...]

  • 'Star Wars Episode IX' Has Officially

    'Star Wars Episode IX' Has Officially Wrapped

    The end is nigh! Filming for “Star Wars Episode IX” has officially wrapped, bringing an end to a franchise that has spanned more than 40 years and eight films. Director J.J. Abrams confirmed the news Friday tweeting, “It feels impossible, but today wrapped photography on ‘Episode IX.’ There is no adequate way to thank this [...]

  • Ben Affleck Batman

    Ben Affleck Explains Why He's Done Playing Batman: 'I Couldn't Crack It'

    Ben Affleck is hanging up his cape and saying goodbye to Batman. In an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday, the actor explained why he will not be returning as the Caped Crusader in the 2021 film “The Batman,” to be written and directed by Matt Reeves. Affleck is retiring from the role after playing [...]

  • 'Great Bear Rainforest' Review

    Film Review: 'Great Bear Rainforest'

    Imax documentaries take us into the wilderness in ways we could only ever dream of experiencing in person, inviting us to marvel at the majesty of mother nature. Director Ian McAllister’s “Great Bear Rainforest” journeys deep into a remote, relatively untouched landscape where crystal clear lakes mirror the mountains and misty, mossy cedar forests tower [...]

  • Seu Jorge, director Wagner Moura, Bella

    Makers of Berlin Competition Title 'Marighella' Worry About Distribution at Home

    Worried that growing political tension in Brazil may hamper the domestic release of “Marighella,” Wagner Moura’s directorial debut about a leftist revolutionary, the movie’s producers may seek to crowd-fund its distribution independently. “We are going to fight for it,” producer Andrea Barata Ribeiro said ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Berlinale on Friday. [...]

  • Isle of Dogs

    ‘Isle of Dogs’ Called for a Thousand Sophisticated Puppets

    Andy Gent says it was clear as soon as he read Wes Anderson’s script for “Isle of Dogs” that the project was very ambitious. It just took a while to understand exactly how ambitious. For example, it was originally estimated the animated movie would require between 300 and 400 puppets, the same number needed for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content