We’ve been waiting for what seems like forever for Ed Norton to firm up plans to direct and star in a film based on the Jonathan Lethem novel Motherless Brooklyn. But we haven’t been interested in the idea for as long as Norton has. He optioned the novel when it was first published, in 1999, and has been trying to get the film made ever since. File Motherless Brooklyn under “passion project,” then — fifteen years is more than enough time to qualify the active pursuit of material as such.

After all that time trying to launch the film, the money is now coming from RatPac Entertainment — that’s the company run by Brett Ratner and James Packer, which just had its name on The Lego Movie and is behind Cameron Crowe’s new film, too.  Read More »

David Cronenberg‘s new movie Cosmopolis premieres tomorrow at Cannes, and barring some terrible reviews or other similar misfortune, it looks like it won’t be the director’s only film with star Robert Pattinson.

The actor now says that, in addition to the slate of other films he has lined up (more on those below) he’s going to do another Cronenberg film. And while he doesn’t drop a name, he does say it will be “very strange.” Read More »

Who would have thought that David Cronenberg might be the first to bring a Jonathan Lethem adaptation to the screen? Quite a few producers and other filmmakers have tried to mount films based on Lethem novels over the years. Most famously, Edward Norton has been slowly brewing a screen version of the great novel Motherless Brooklyn, as a starring/directing effort.

Last year we heard that David Cronenberg was attached to direct a film based on the author’s third novel, As She Climbed Across the Table. It’s a book that features love, physicists, and a semi-sentient black hole. If that sounds like a tricky prospect, just cast your memory back across David Cronenberg’s impressive resume, considering particularly that he’s the man who made a bloody great movie out of the nigh-unfilmable novel Naked Lunch. Then read on for the details about how the film just took a step closer to realization. Read More »


No one seems to be able to get a movie based on a Jonathan Lethem novel off the ground. The latest attempt may come from David Cronenberg, however, and he’s got a pretty damn good track record when it comes to getting difficult material from the page to screen. (Think Dead Ringers, Crash, and Naked Lunch.) Cronenberg is reportedly attached to direct an adaptation of Lethem’s third novel, 1997’s As She Climbed Across the Table. But he’s got a few other titles on his plate, too, so will this actually get made? Read More »


In his new book of essays, Eating the Dinosaur, pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman posits that “as a species we have never been less human than we are right now.” Part of the reason why this has happened, he says, is that our growing consumption of media, movies, and entertainment has made it so that “we can’t really differentiate between real and unreal images.” He concludes that we thus, “no longer have freedom to think whatever we want.” For instance, the words, “basketball game,” instantly trigger a mental image of the NBA before (rather than?) a memory of a real experience. The Klosterman twist is that while “reading about Animal Collective on the Internet has replaced being alive,” he’s generally okay with this cultural and social development. I should add that he admits that the Unabomber’s Manifesto and its author had several really good and scarily prescient points.

In his second interview with /Film, many of Eating the Dinosaur‘s ideas are discussed within the context of modern television series like Mad Men and 30 Rock. We also discuss the significance of the odd documentary-style used on The Office and now Modern Family, and why he believes pop-culture writing/blogging on the internet unfortunately has become “an institutional voice” that rivals academia. Is this where I type, “Hopefully the next trailer is better?” For our first interview round with Chuck Klosterman, click here.  For Klosterman’s updates on film adaptations of his books Fargo Rock City and Killing Yourself to Live, click here.

Hunter Stephenson: What’s your biggest problem with 30 Rock?

Chuck Klosterman: [pause] Does it seem like I have one?

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In addition to their many literary charms, the novels of Jonathan Lethem have an unusual superpower: they resist cinematic adaptations with great vigor. Ironic, given the heavy cinematic awareness and influences on his novels. Lethem’s latest, Chronic City, even opens with a scene in the offices of the Criterion Collection, and has some entertaining discussion of cinematic masterworks both real and imagined.

For ages, Ed Norton was promising to direct and star in a version of Motherless Brooklyn, as the tourettes-afflicted protagonist Lionel Essrog. There hasn’t been any publicly-announced movement on that one in ages, and I’m hoping it isn’t dead. And Maria Full of Grace director Joshua Marston is reportedly adapting Fortress of Solitude, but that one has been quiet for a while, too.

Now Gabe and Alan Polsky, the producers behind Werner Herzog’s recent Bad Lieutenant, have optioned Lethem’s first novel, Gun, With Occasional Music. Read More »