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Russell Crowe And James Ellroy Together On Film Again?

Nordling here.

Now that it's been almost 15 years, I think it's safe to say that L.A. CONFIDENTIAL is a classic.  Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland took James Ellroy's sprawling epic novel, streamlined it, and made a genuinely great film, and much of that is also due to Russell Crowe's masterful performance as "Bud" White.  Crowe was coming off ROMPER STOMPER at the time and I'd argue that his performance in CONFIDENTIAL may still be his best work.

Now, it looks like Crowe wants to return to James Ellroy, even going so far as to make his directorial debut with 77, according to Deadline.  77 covers two seemingly unrelated events in 1974 - the murder of a police officer and a shootout between the Symbionese Liberation Army and the LAPD.  Crowe would play one of the officers in the film as well as directing.

The script is by David Matthews from a rewrite of Ellroy's script, and if the rewrite is good, Crowe will make the leap.  I'd like to see Crowe do gritty again, and this sounds like it would be a good project for him.  I'd also love to see a good 1970s cop film again.  I miss those films, like THE FRENCH CONNECTION or SERPICO, and this one sounds like something right up that alley.

Nordling, out.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 26, 2011, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Jebus H. Criminey!!! 15 years!!!!!

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    Wow I feel very old all of a sudden.

  • April 26, 2011, 8:01 a.m. CST

    LA Confidential is one of the top 20 films in last 25 years.

    by Mr Soze

    A pure masterpiece...Crowe hit it out of the park.

  • April 26, 2011, 8:02 a.m. CST

    L.A. Confidential is one of my all-time favorite movies.

    by CreasyBear

    Not easy to have a movie with three different main characters, where they all get meaningful time on screen, each with their own unique personalities and struggles, with the whole thing tied together beautifully. Amazing all the way around. All three guys did great work, but Pearce's Exley was my favorite character, the ultra-principled corporate climber of sorts. Love it.

  • April 26, 2011, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Sounds good

    by Tristan

    I'd also like to see American Tabloid made into a movie or (HBO) mini series. That book is fucking epic. Big Nowhere would make a great movie too.

  • April 26, 2011, 8:08 a.m. CST

    70s films made in the 70s

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    A different animal from 70s films made in the 2010s

  • April 26, 2011, 8:09 a.m. CST

    American Tabloid

    by Thunderbolt Ross

    phenomenal book. Too bad the follow-up wasn't in the same league

  • April 26, 2011, 8:28 a.m. CST

    American Tabloid tv series

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    I really can't believe that didn't get up, read the book a couple of times and seeing the quality on AMC, HBO and FX these days I honestly thought it could make it and would be brilliant

  • April 26, 2011, 8:39 a.m. CST

    I havent watched Robin Hood yet

    by Mr Soze

    Is it really as bad as I hear???

  • April 26, 2011, 8:42 a.m. CST

    In an alternate universe

    by DannyOcean01

    LA Confidential swept the boards at every awards show. Not only is it wonderful in every area, it flips the finger to the unfilmable novel argument. Would like to see Hanson return to this and Wonder Boys form.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:04 a.m. CST

    L.A. ensemble cast EVER

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Crowe, Guy Pearce, James Cromwell (back when he was "that guy" from Babe), Kevin Spacey (when he was cool), David Strathairn, Kim Basinger...not a bum performance in the bunch.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Russell Crowe directing? Hmmm...

    by darthderp

  • April 26, 2011, 9:25 a.m. CST

    I know he botched The Black Dahlia, but I think

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Crowe directed by DePalma would be an exciting combination. If not, maybe this is Crowe's Gone Baby Gone...who knows.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    hey phucko

    by werewolfbynight


  • April 26, 2011, 9:32 a.m. CST


    by Zatoichi

    Do not forget Danny DeVito.....

  • April 26, 2011, 9:35 a.m. CST

    70's and Ellroy?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    Calling David Fincher....

  • April 26, 2011, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Funny, Arriving from Netflix for Me Today

    by Crow3711

    I've seen it 4 or 5 times, obviously. It's one of re best movies ever. But my girlfriend hasn't seen anything, so I educate her as best I can. We've recently watched Zodiac, Casablanca, Closer, and she's getting super into lost. But when I heard shed never seen LA C

  • April 26, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    by Crow3711

    LA Confidential, I just couldn't abide.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    mr soze

    by malcolmtuckersdirtymouth

    Robin Hood is certainly not bad. It's just a bit...meh. Considering the potential of the original Nottingham concept, it seems like a wasted opportunity. It also sets up an intriguing (God I hate this word) franchise that was never likely to materialise due to the age of the leads, never mind the underwhelming box office. Worth a watch though.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Also, LA Confidential...

    by malcolmtuckersdirtymouth

    is the shit. Please someone with real talent make American Tabloid. David Simon, I'm looking at you here.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:51 a.m. CST

    And, for that matter, what became of Curtis Hanson?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    He was hitting them out one at a time for awhile there, then ... poof.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:54 a.m. CST

    @nasty in the pasty

    by jazzgalaxy

    don't forget devito.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Robin Hood

    by Keith

    It's okay. Nothing special. Was surprised by how much of a domestic drama it was rather than an action movie. Hints of The Return of Martin Guerre/Sommersby about it. The final battle - SPOILERS - had me laughing out loud at its weirdness. A bunch of English knights/cavalry turn up at the coast to fight the French - somehow all the archers and foot soldiers have either got there magically or had their own horses and armour, as everyone is on horseback - and begin a lopsided slaughter of the arriving French troops while rousing music plays. There is absolutely nothing heroic about it. Then, bizarrely, Marian turns up with her own suit of armour that she's able to move about in perfectly well, together with a bunch of kids on ponies from Sherwood, like mediaeval Ewoks, not to turn the tide of battle but simply to join in the fun of the slaughter. How did they manage to get across to the coast a mere five minutes later than the trained army going at full gallop? Who knows? Who cares? At no point are the French ever portrayed as having a ghost of a chance of winning.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Hanks/Playtone working on Underworld U.S.A.

    by JorEl214

    For least that's the latest news. At one point Bruce Willis wanted to make it, I assume with him starring as Bondurant in a TV show on HBO. Maybe it'll happen now that the third book is complete. you could easily get 4 TV seasons out of that sprawling epic of 3 books.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Soapfart--he's been a part of AICN for years, who are you?

    by George Newman

    a quick search through their [terrible] search engine and you'll see he's posted nearly a 100 articles just this year.

  • April 26, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Hey thunderbolt

    by goatboy500

    The Cold Six Thousand is a fucking great book. It's just written in a different style, due to it being set in the 60's. Big Pete Bondurant is one of the finest ati-heroes ever committed to paper.

  • April 26, 2011, 10:05 a.m. CST

    I don't really give a shit what Crowe does

    by Jaster

    Never been a big fan of his. He's too wooden and stoic. He just doesn't have a lot of personality. Yeah he was good in Confidential and Gladiator, but that's about it. And it's not like tons of other actors couldn't have done those roles even better.

  • April 26, 2011, 10:14 a.m. CST

    15 years? Time to Reboot L.A. Confidential

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Come on studio execs, you're slacking on this. Will Smith's kids need roles.

  • April 26, 2011, 10:26 a.m. CST

    WTF ever happened to the othe "77" aka "5-25-77"????

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    it was supposedly done filming literally 4 YEARS ago, had a early print screening at SW Celebration IV, then disappeared from the face of the earth. It's never coming out, is it?

  • April 26, 2011, 10:28 a.m. CST

    That's ....the OTHER "77"....

    by ShiftyEyedDog

    ...damn will this archaic site ever get an edit button?!?

  • April 26, 2011, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Personally, I'd like to see The Choirboys put to film

    by darthderp

    For those who don't know, it's an old Joseph Wambaugh novel about a group of urban police officers out of Los Angeles, and the effects of their work on them. Not really a crime drama, but it's more like a powder keg that gets bigger until it finally explodes; you'll have to read it to see what I mean. It does have its serious side but it's laced with some dark humor. It got the movie treatment in the late 1970's, but by most accounts, the movie sucked. A major ensemble cast such as in L.A. Confidential could do it justice today, me thinks.

  • April 26, 2011, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Buzz Meeks...

    by Ace of Wands

    ...spoils the film for me; I hadn't read the novel, or any of Ellroy's works, when I saw the film so the Meeks character was no problem. But once I had read LA Confidential and then The Big Nowhere the character of Meeks, as written in the film, became a Big Fucking Problem. Meeks is in the prologue to LA Confidential, where he dies, and he goes down hard, in apocalyptic fashion at the Victory Motel (it's called El Serrano in the book). And in The Big Nowhere he is a massive force, awesome in what he does and making a final decision in THAT book that leads directly to the confrontonation at the motel in LA Confidential. What he isn't is a retired, washed up cop who has become a chauffeur for Paget who is no match for Bud White (his character from the books certainly would be, in fact they share many traits) who ends up dead under a house as a Plot Point. Sure I get that the writers needed a character to enable the story to be pushed on but they certainly didn't need to call him Meeks and by doing so they seem, to me, to have pissed somewhat on Ellroy's wrtiting.

  • April 26, 2011, 11:28 a.m. CST


    by Ace of Wands

    so I can take it from your comments that you have never seen Mystery, Alask, Master and Commander, Virtuosity, Proof of Life or 3:10 to Yuma, every one of which Crowe was excellent in.

  • April 26, 2011, 11:31 a.m. CST

    There is it. Reboot with Meeks done properly!

    by Domi'sInnerChild

    Shia LaBeouf would be a perfect Meeks

  • April 26, 2011, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Do it

    by donkingkong

  • April 26, 2011, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Yes! Do it

    by kafka07

    I'd love to see an Ellroy 70's cop film (with or without Crowe.) And yes L.A. Confidential was Crowe's best performance.

  • It's not a bad movie, but you will hard pressed to remmember much of it afterwards. It pains me to say this about a Ridley Scott movie, but that's how it is.

  • I would never think it was possible to turn BLACK DAHLIA into a light-hearted movie, but they suceeded! My mind is still boggled at that!

  • April 26, 2011, 1:15 p.m. CST

    The 70's crime genre

    by captzeep

    I saw "Kill The Irishman" last week and it was good, but not great. It didn't capture the grittiness and claustrophobia that define this genre- which I submit properly includes both crime films made in the 70's and crime films made later set at that time. "American Gangster" was a great modern example, which is maybe why Crowe wants to do it again. I read Ellroy's early stuff but passed on the 60's political thrillers he wrote. I hadn't heard of "77" until now, but I'll definitely check it out.

  • Total badass movie for the ages.

  • April 26, 2011, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Serpico, French Connection

    by CaseyMcCall

    were actually made in the 70's. Hard to make that kind of film for today's audiences.

  • April 26, 2011, 2:03 p.m. CST

    "I'm not your paisan asshole."

    by alan_poon

    Can't believe it was snubbed at the Oscars. After the Goodfellas farce and then L.A Confidential I realised I was past caring about them anymore as they were clearly out of touch.

  • April 26, 2011, 2:07 p.m. CST

    If you care to read a well-written crime story...

    by mjgtexas "The Lost Boys", Texas Monthly, on Dean "The Candy Man" Corrl...makes The Zodiac Killer look like a harmless kitten in comparison.

  • April 26, 2011, 5:36 p.m. CST

    I dig Crowe & LA Confidential, but I have to disagree

    by Jaka

    He's better in Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind.

  • April 26, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST

    Not sure how weight has ever stopped anybody from acting

    by Jaka

    Regardless, heard Crowe lost weight.

  • April 26, 2011, 7:12 p.m. CST

    "Crowe's turn as Robin Hood" - "classical accent"

    by Keith

    "Just the nuance and the classical accent really got me into it. Deserved an oscar nom." Oh, sir, you have got to be kidding! Crowe's accent in that film is a total mess. It is all OVER the place. It wanders between Merseyside, Newcastle, Yorkshire and Ireland. (It was mainly Irish.) At no point does it sound like it's from the Midlands. He was roundly mocked for it in the UK (where people are actually able to tell how bad his accent consistency was, as opposed to the States where people have very little ability to distinguish non-American accents). Do a YouTube search for "Russell Crowe walks out on BBC Radio 4", and listen to Crowe having a mega-strop (as per usual) when Mark Lawson calls him on it.

  • April 26, 2011, 9:09 p.m. CST

    LA Confidential should be taught in film schools...

    by SID 8.0

    So young filmakers can see what a movie looks like when everything comes together perfectly.

  • Only now Matt Damon has an approximated age of Bourne as the character was in the very first book.

  • April 27, 2011, 2:13 a.m. CST

    sid 8.0

    by AsimovLives

    Indeed. Of course, the filmmakers went deliberatly old-fashioned for LA CONFIDENTIAL as a stylistic nod to the times when the movie's story was set, but what you said is still very much spot on.

  • April 27, 2011, 4:03 a.m. CST


    by CuervoJones

    LA Confidential never gets old.

  • April 27, 2011, 5:57 a.m. CST

    One of the very best of the 1990s without question.

    by rosasaks

    Amazing script and cast and the period setting is absorbing. First half of the film creates a whole world and the second half plot crescendo is bat-shit stupendous. A long time since I read the book though if memory serves there was a sub-plot involving a Walt Disney type character building a theme park and the Kevin Spacey cop gets shot running to catch a train while investigating that. The Insider is the other good Russell Crowe performance from that era.

  • April 27, 2011, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Crowe is Jack Aubrey...

    by Mel Garga

    And the fact that no one is working on more Master and Commander films is nothing short of a travesty. If he's not going to revise the role then say so and let the BBC reboot the whole thing from scratch ala Hornblower.

  • April 27, 2011, 12:55 p.m. CST

    "They are to much a bunch of Pussies"

    by Xiphos_2

    And you're a tough guy goatfucker? BWHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAAHah Jesus titty fucking christ, you fucking punk, you really are a stupid cocksucker aren't you boy? You come on a dying website to bloviate your love of all things JJ Abrams with psudo-tough guy prose devoid of anything resembling a coherent thought and then YOU talk shit about other people? You're a shit stains shit stain or how that is commonly called, "Portuguese", you worthless ponce.

  • April 27, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    It would be nice to make it a love letter to Sidney Lumet.

    by Playkins

    Being as his movies are pretty much the voice of the 70s.

  • April 27, 2011, 1:15 p.m. CST

    rosasaks: Brother, you need to see LA:C again.

    by Playkins

    It sure doesn't sound like you're thinking of the right movie.

  • April 27, 2011, 5:40 p.m. CST


    by Ace of Wands

    not sure about rosasaks needing to se LA Confidential again but you certainly need to read the book as he IS correct about the whole Hollywood/theme park/housing development thing and the story also takes place over many years and includes Exley's still alive father and a serial killer; he's also correct about the way that Spacey's character gets killed in the book and the whole Rollo Tamasi scene is made up just for the film. You might like to check what someone is ACTUALLY writing about before too much criticism.

  • April 28, 2011, 10:16 a.m. CST

    ace of wands: egg on my face

    by Playkins

    Thanks for dutifully wiping it off.