Dear Mr. Norton,
I have been waiting for an opportunity like this for a while now. I am familiar with your interest and passion for the project concerning the novel, Motherless Brooklyn. I as well have seen big potential for the outcome of this movie and would love a chance to be a part of the project. I know you already have many different ideas for this movie and I want to help you bring those ideas to life with a little twist. The only issue in my mind for this project is having an active director in the film. I think it would be best for a well-known actor to play the role of Lionel, like Jonny Depp. He did a remarkable job in Edward Scissorhands and I feel that Edward and Lionel have many traits that are similar to one another. The focus of Lionel’s character should be how his Tourette’s have positively contributed to his overall success in the novel through means like his work, his loyalty to others and consequentially being more innocent than usual.
Lionel has a great passion for his work, and it has contributed to his overall character in the novel. In some cases his, tics allow him to have an advantage over his coworkers since he always has the element of surprise. During a conversation between Lionel and the doorman:
“I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” I said to the doorman.
“Dickweed!” I winced, waved him off, I tried to focus on the voices coming over the headphones.
“ Hey, hey” the doorman said. He held up his hands. “I’m just bringing you a message friend.” (12)
When Lionel tics he can come off rather aggressive when having conversations with others. During the time of work this comes in handy while dealing with suspects or in this case, snoopy doormen. The doorman is rather surprised when Lionel says, “dickweed!” and he even backs off by putting his hands up and trying to play it off all cool calling Lionel his friend. Lionel is so focused on the job while the man is talking he’s basically ignoring him. Tourette’s has also blessed Lionel with a compulsiveness that aids him when on stakeouts. Lionel stated, “Coney and the other Minna Agency operatives loved doing stakeouts with me, since my compulsiveness forced me to eyeball the site or mark in question… saving them the trouble of swivelling their heads”(4). Here it is stated that Lionel can do one job that should take multiple people to accomplish. His compulsiveness allows him to stay on edge and always in the loop about what’s going on around him. Even though he is being taken advantage of he still proves to be a hard worker. Work is something Lionel enjoys doing because either than his Tourette’s its all he really knows best. Lionel says, “ Everything we both know comes from Frank Minna or gangster movies”(184). During a conversation with Tony, Lionel points out that most of the things he’s ever learnt was from his boss therefor his work. His disorder gives him the opportunity to learn from great man he admires without having to figure it out on his own, sort of blindly loyal you can say.
Due to the stigma behind the Tourette’s syndrome, Lionel has a hard time building relationship therefor when he finally does he clings on to them. Lionel’s loyalty revolved around the fact that people think he’s remarkable behind the initial picture. You can compare Lionel to an onion that needs to be peeled layer by layer until you find the best part. He is blindly loyal to Frank Minna a man who believed in him. Gerard even says to him, “You are so like Frank”(232). Lionel was so loyal to Frank that he wanted to be exactly like him and from what I stated earlier he was his mentor. Having that much loyalty towards someone is quite admirable yet it is a quality not understood by all. Lionel had a fling with a woman he truly loved and was extremely loyal to. This loyalty was different because it involved Lionel and another woman, Kimmery. She expresses to him, “ You’re kind of overwhelming, actually, if you don’t already know. I mean, I like talking to you, too, but it isn’t a good idea to call three times right after, you know, spending the night”(259). Lionel gets so attached to kimmery that he loses sight of everything else. She says that he’s overcommitted and from a normal standpoint this would make sense, however Lionel is not your ordinary guy. I believe that when someone accepts him he really becomes attached to that person. Lionel, not understanding the social norms behind dating becomes too loyal to the point that he and kimmery split up. From the point of view of kimmery, she wasn’t in a place where she could accept all that from Lionel yet, and his inexperience causes him to be rather innocent.
Lionel has an innocent mind, meaning he hasn’t had a regular life experience so it is difficult for him to distinguish certain situations or ideas. This innocence allows him to grow and develop throughout the novel. In Lionel’s mind he interprets things differently than others which, maybe even aids with his job as a detective. The first time he met Kimmery during an interview he had made a childish assumption, “She made it sound as if the two were exclusive”(216). In this case, he was really talking about some sort of exclusive relationship between kimmery and a monk, who has taken a vow of silence… Is Lionel really too inexperienced to connect the dots? I believe he’s just so innocent that he hasn’t had time to understand the concept of exclusiveness. On the other hand, his mind is a tool that allows him to stay under the radar at times. Minna described Lionel’s Tourette’s as “unique as a snowflake”(82). This is a simile, which describes how Lionel is so unique to others. His innocence is seen by the public in the form of his disorder because that is what is at the surface. All snowflakes are different in their own way and Lionel can use his innocent self as a cover for what he can really do. Every human is different just as the snowflakes are; yet only some of us can see the beauty and detail not simply little pieces of snow.
Lionel is a very complex character with lots to focus on but the most evident aspect has to be his Tourette’s. Although it may seem harming to others, there is beauty behind his disorder. I believe that the portrayal of this film should revolve around the positive side of his life. I also stick with the idea of having Johnny Depp represent Lionel. Edward scissorhands and Lionel are quite similar: they both struggle to fit in, in a world not cut out for them and both had mentors who died before they could learn all there was about the world. It is remarkable how such positivity can stem from such a life altering disorder. The ideas are all here for you to see, and I believe we both know that this is the best way to portray Lionel in the right light.
Thank you for your time,
- Work cited: Lethem, Jonathan. Motherless Brooklyn. Vintage Books, 1999.