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‘L.A. Confidential’ Writer: Warner Bros. Rejected Sequel with Crowe, Pearce, and Chadwick Boseman

The sequel, developed with crime novelist James Ellroy, would've taken place in the 1970s.

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, 1997

“L.A. Confidential”

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Curtis Hanson’s “L.A. Confidential” was one of the defining neo-noir crime movies of the 1990s, winning the writer/director and his co-screenwriter Brian Helgeland the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In an interview this month with The Ringer, Helgeland revealed that Warner Bros. turned him down after he went to the studio with a package for a sequel to the 1997 movie, even despite a massive lineup of talent.

As reported by The Ringer: “A few years ago, the Oscar-winning filmmaker Brian Helgeland went to Warner Bros. with what seemed like a dynamite movie pitch: a sequel to ‘L.A. Confidential,’ the 1997 Hollywood cop drama he cowrote with director Curtis Hanson. Helgeland had already secured a top-tier cast, including returning ‘Confidential’ costars Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, alongside Chadwick Boseman, who’d be playing a young police officer. He’d developed a new story with ‘L.A. Confidential’ novelist James Ellroy, one that would be set in the mid-’70s.”

Helgeland revealed nothing about about the axed sequel, other than adding, “We worked the whole thing out. It was great. And Warners passed.”

Considering the A-list cast assembled and that famed novelist James Ellroy was directly involved in development, you’d think an “L.A. Confidential” sequel would be catnip for Warner Bros. The 1997 original was a box office hit ($126 million worldwide on a $35 million production budget) and a nine-time Oscar nominee, including for Best Picture. The movie won not only the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay but also for Best Supporting Actress thanks to Kim Basinger’s performance.

Helgeland’s “L.A. Confidential” sequel joins a long list of axed films and television series inspired by Ellroy’s 1990 novel of the same name. All the way back in 2012, “Suspiria” and “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino was attached to direct the “L.A. Confidential” prequel movie “The Big Nowhere.” Then there was Ellroy’s attempted television series in 2018. A pilot was shot for CBS but the network passed on it. Attempts to shop the series to another network failed.

As for the original movie, viewers can check out “L.A. Confidential” by streaming it on Starz Anytime or through the Starz add-on with Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.

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