Motherless Brooklyn writer-director-star Edward Norton will be deposed in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over the fire that broke out on the film’s set. An FDNY firefighter died while battling the blaze, which gutted the building in March 2018.
The suit against the filmmaker's Class 5 Productions was filed by tenants of the building who were displaced by the fire. The firefighter’s widow and other tenants of the building joined the suit later. Norton will give his deposition on February 20; read the handwritten court document here.
Plaintiffs Erica and George Cruz say they lost everything in the fire that began in the basement, where they say the production “maintained certain equipment, including highly flammable equipment.” The suit — which also names the building's owner, Vincent Sollazzo, as a defendant — seeks $2 million in real and punitive damages from Class 5 and more from Sollazzo.
The fire started around 11 PM at the five-story building on St. Nicholas Avenue that once housed the St. Nick's Jazz Pub.
According to the FDNY, the fire, which started in the basement and spread quickly throughout the building, drew 39 FDNY vehicles and 175 firefighters. FDNY Lt. Michael Davidson died while battling the fire. His Engine 39 was the first company to arrive on the scene.
Dozens of Motherless Brooklyn crew members were working at the site Thursday when they “noticed that smoke was coming into our set and into other parts of the building from below us,” according to a statement released by the production read it below. “As soon as we noticed smoke coming up into our set, our crew immediately alerted the fire department and began alerting residents of the building even as we evacuated our cast and crew.”
Norton stars in the film as a lonely private eye living with Tourette syndrome in 1950s New York City. The pic, which premiered at Telluride in September. Adapted from the Jonathan Lethem novel, it also stars Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin. The pic opened with $3.65 million last month and has grossed $9.3 million domestic.
Last week, comic, actress, and activist Janeane Garofalo gave the crowd at Yahoo’s live interview show BUILD a juicy behind-the-scenes Hollywood story: That she was one of the original choices for the role of Marla Singer, the messed-up sorta-romantic-lead in David Fincher’s cult classic Fight Club, but that co-star Edward Norton shot that casting down. Now, Norton is claiming that never happened.
As noticed by IndieWire, the actor and director, hot off last year’s Motherless Brooklyn, told his side of the story to CNN. “I’m sorry Janeane is under that impression, but if she was serious, she’s really mistaken,” he said. He continued:
“[Director] David Fincher does exactly what he wants. He makes the call on every dimension of his films, top to bottom. I don’t recall him ever even raising the subject of who he was considering for most other roles. The one suggestion I made, he shot down. I was a big fan of Janeane’s so I’d have loved to do a reading with her.”
Previously, Garofalo had claimed that Fincher approached after the initial choice to play Marla, Reese Witherspoon, turned the role down, saying it was “too dark.” Winona Ryder and Courtney Love were also considered. Garofalo said she accepted the role, but that some time later her agent pointed out that the trades were suddenly reporting Helena Bonham Carter had been cast instead. When she called Fincher, she asked him if he was allowed to do that. He reportedly told her, “Apparently.”
Garofalo later learned, she alleged, that Norton “didn’t think that I had the chops for it,” though she admitted he “may or may not have been correct.” Now that Norton is denying her story, we may never know how close we came to a Fight Club in which our deranged anti-hero enjoys an on-again-off-again pseudo relationship with one of the stars of Mystery Men.
Previously Garofalo had also pointed out that she and Norton are neighbors out in New York City, and that whenever she sees him, “he pretends he doesn’t know who I am.” Norton told CNN that “if she sees me in the neighborhood I hope she’d come say hi.” So things just got even more awkward.
Via CNN and IndieWire
Brooklynn Prince is a very young reporter in Home Before Dark, a new series from Apple TV+. Inspired by the true story of Hilde Lysiak, the youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Home Before Dark kinds Prince’s kid reporter character trying to solve a cold case that haunts the small town her father grew up in. Watch the Home Before Dark trailer below.
Home Before Dark Trailer
In Home Before Dark, The Florida Project breakout Brooklynn Prince plays a young girl “who moves from Brooklyn to the small lakeside town her father Jim Sturgess left behind. While there, her dogged pursuit of the truth leads her to unearth a cold case that everyone in town, including her own father, tried hard to bury.” The show is created and executive produced by showrunners Dana Fox and Dara Resnik; written and executive produced by Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner; and executive produced by Joy Gorman Wettels for Anonymous Content, Rosemary Rodriguez and Sharlene Martin.
In addition to Prince and Sturgess, the cast features Abby Miller, Kylie Rogers, Joelle Carter, Jibrail Nantambu, Deric McCabe, Michael Weston, Aziza Scott, and Louis Herthum. The show is a fictionalized take on the true story of Hilde Lysiak, who launched Orange Street News, a local newspaper in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, when she was only 8-years-old. Lysiak reported on a local murder when she was 9, which raised a few eyebrows, to which the young journalist replied: “I don’t think people should be able to decide for me who I should be and what I should be doing. I never began my newspaper so that people would think I was cute. I started the Orange Street News to give people the information they need to know…I want to be taken seriously. I’m sure other kids do, too.”
This sounds like a neat set-up for a series, and hopefully it’ll all turn out well. Apple TV+ hasn’t exactly had the best run in regards to generating buzz about their original shows. Will Home Before Dark buck that trend? We’ll see. Home Before Dark debuts on Apple TV+ April 3.