'Empathy for each other is what holds things together': Edward Norton on why the underdog is important to film

Edward Norton reminds the audience of their empathy in his new film Motherless Brooklyn, which he produced, directed and stars in.

When Edward Norton set out to make his new movie Motherless Brooklyn, he was acutely aware of how divided, fractured and tense the world can feel these days. It's partly why he gravitated to the story about a detective with Tourette syndrome. 

Norton adapted the story from a novel and produced, directed and stars in the film as Lionel. The character is what Norton describes as the underdog and a person the audience wants to see lifted up and rewarded. 

The actor joined q's Tom Power at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival to talk about the touching personal connection he has tied to the film and how the characters in Motherless Brooklyn remind us of our empathy — especially at a moment in history when we need that reminder the most. 

"Sometimes, through an underdog, you're reminded to be empathetic. You're reminded that when the forces of history are difficult that empathy for each other is what holds things together," Norton said, "Lionel is this great vehicle for looking at how we treat each other."

Motherless Brooklyn is out in theatres on Friday, Nov. 1.

Download our podcast or click the 'Listen' link near the top of this page to hear the full conversation with Edward Norton.

— Produced by Ben Jamieson and Vanessa Nigro

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