L.A. Confidential Oscar-winning scribe Brian Helgeland had cracked a sequel with the original author James Ellroy to the City of Angels film noir — but no one bit, not even the pic’s original studio, Warner Bros.
Helgeland shared his war story on pitching the sequel around town in Deadline’s Toronto Studio. The first L.A. Confidential won Helgeland an Adapted Screenplay Oscar as well as a Supporting Actress Oscar for Kim Basinger. The pic, directed by the late Curtis Hanson, was nominated for nine Oscars including Best Picture.
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Helgeland tells us, “James Ellroy and I worked out an elaborate pitch for L.A. Confidential 2 that takes place during the Patty Hearst (era), when the Symbionese Liberation Army came down to L.A., and we had Guy Pearce attached and Russell (Crowe) and Chadwick Boseman playing a young cop working for Mayor Bradley.”
“We pitched it to everyone,” Helgeland, “We had to go to Warner Bros first and Warner Bros is like we don’t make movies like this.”
“Ellroy is a performance artist and he would do the pitch; and it was the most amazing pitch,” Helgeland says.
Then he reveals:
“Our executive at Netflix fell asleep during the pitch.”
“They fell asleep and nodded off during the pitch.”
Defeated, Helgeland says, “I got home, and said ‘we can’t do that anymore’.”
Helgeland is here at the fest to promote the world premiere of his Paramount+ crime thriller, Finestkind, which is inspired by the filmmaker’s days as a Massachusetts fisherman. Helgeland was also Oscar nominated in 2004 for his Adapted Screenplay of Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River.
Finestkind stars Ben Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Jenna Ortega and Toby Wallace. Originally, Helgeland wanted Heath Ledger for the movie, which he wrote some 30 years ago. Listen to the rest of Helgeland’s interview here. Finestkind hits Paramount+ in November.
Watch Helgeland talk about L.A. Confidential 2 below:
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