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Monday, May 4, 2015
James Ellroy, promoting his latest novel, Perfidia, tells Telerama's Laurent Rigoulet that the screenplay for the film adaptation of his book The Black Dahlia was not good. The screenplay was written by Josh Friedman, working under the direction of David Fincher. When Fincher dropped out, De Palma took over direction of the project, retaining Friedman as screenwriter. After talking about watching TV series such as The Killing, Homeland (Season One), and Mad Men, Rigoulet asks Ellroy if he is ever asked to work on such series, which leads him to mention that he is currently working on a series with Fincher, which leads him to talk about the Dahlia film:

"Sure, they want Ellroy," Ellroy tells Rigoulet. "One only has to look at all the ideas that True Detective pinched from me! I hate that series, it's a handjob. They order a lot of things from me, but it rarely leads to anything. It takes so much money and compromise ... I'm currently working with David Fincher on a series that would take place in Hollywood in the 50's. The hero is the private detective Fred Otash, who investigated the stars and was in league with tabloids, like in Confidential. I always admired Fincher. He had long tried to adapt The Black Dahlia, but his script was not good, and it was then taken and killed for the version that was released in 2006, directed by Brian De Palma. When the project collapsed, Fincher shot Zodiac, a beautiful thriller about obsession, and one of my favorite movies, much better than LA Confidential."

(Thanks to Luu!)

Posted by Geoff at 11:58 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 12:05 AM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (15) | Permalink | Share This Post

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 2:01 AM CDT

Name: "gazthecaz"

De Palma is a hack. When it comes to nuance storytelling and detail dialogue with intricate plotting he loses the plot!

De Palma's obsession with the illogical has brought down most of his films and that is why he doesn't have a successful career similar to Spielberg and Christopher Nolan. These two filmmakers can match sophisticated visual style and intricate storytelling where De Palma only cares for sensualist images at the expense of logic and believability in watching stories that have very little logic. 

As a screenwriter he isn't very good with coarse simple dialogue and laughable plotting. When De Palma works from experienced writers such as Oliver Stone and David Koeps CARLITO'S WAY does he shine at his best. A career wasted on pulp rubbish. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 11:36 AM CDT

Name: "C"

Thanks for that nearly incoherent comment. So according to you, Oliver Stone is more "nuanced" and has better dialogue in his scripts? That opinion is shared by virtually nobody.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 2:28 PM CDT

Name: "Matt"

Black Dahlia does have its problems, no question, but in the latest printing of the book Ellroy goes on and on in a closing essay about how much he loved the film. Rumor has it that he saw it before nearly an hour was cut out, but here he's saying the script was bad before it was even filmed. It seems more like he's retracting his praise after seeing the film perform poorly.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 5:47 PM CDT

Name: "gazthecaz"

   JFK is a masterpiece of sophisticated political detective investigation with complex filmic technique and probaly the greatest American film since the days of Costa Gavris Z and STATE OF SEIGE!!!! De Palma certainly does not have a film of the magnitude of JFK in his filmmography. It was nominated for best picture and director at the Academy Award and should have won. Oliver Stone has two best director Oscars for PLATOON and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY.  If anyone tells me De Palma is a better screenwriter then Oliver Stone one has to be commited to the closest loony bin. Oliver Stone picked up a best screenplay Oscar for MIDNIGHT EXPRESS. De Palma's filmmography is mainly B-grade pulp more concerned with the visuals then compelling stories. BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES is junk. The theatrical version of THE BLACK DAHLIA with the last 20 minutes is just too confusing even though all the information is there needed more clarity.

I'll wait till I see the 3 hour version before passing judgement. Ellroy saw the 3 hour version and said it was a masterpiece. The last 20 minutes of SNAKE EYES was a major letdown. PASSION is a lazy De Palma thriller where he's just going through the motions. MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE is a film for young teenagers. His best films are BLOW OUT, SCARFACE, THE UNTOUCHABLES and CARLITO'S WAY working with screenplays by recognized writers in Oliver Stone, David Mamet and David Koepp. De Palma could have had a career like Spielberg but his personal concerns don't translate with the mainstream. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 12:55 PM CDT

Name: "Gustavo H.R."
Home Page: http://viverdecinema.blogspot.com.br/

The man responsible for giving life to Carrie, Scarface, The Untouchables, Casualties of War, Femme Fatale and Redacted is a hack. Yeah, right.

Only in the bizarro world.

It takes some guts (or foolishness) to come to a fansite dedicated to the man and then post a incomrehensible rant like that. Who the hell needs "nuance" in projects like those? Stop trying to mimic pompous film critics and try learning something about context and artistic individuality for a change.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 10:58 PM CDT

Name: "harry georgatos"

Brian De Palma is a pop art surreliast with films that are a seductive playground of lurid emotions and colors. Body Double and The Phantom Of The Paradise with Raising Cain, Dressed To Kill, Femme Fatale, Obsession and his masterwork Blow Out are entertaining visual hypnotism within the surreal that is De Palma's work.

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 9:44 AM CDT

Name: "anonymous"

True that Ellroy praised the movie in an essay for the book Black Dahlia in 2006 but he does not sound sincere as he was promoting the book. He knew that he was selling a book (already published) to new readers who have probably heard about De Palma s movie which  was released that same year. I think he was very disappointed by the movie and diplomatically he said  that the movie was good. Business is business as always...

http:// www.vqronline.org/essay/my-mother-and-dahlia 

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 9:51 AM CDT

Name: "Luu"

Ellroy  praised the movie in an essay for the book Black Dahlia but he does not sound sincere as he was promoting the book Black Dahlia the same year that the movie release. Business  is business as always.

See the essay here  



Friday, May 8, 2015 - 1:39 PM CDT

Name: "Patrick"

The Black Dahlia is my favorite De Palma of the 21st century (great cinematography, elaborate setpieces and a spellbinding soundtrack). The only wormwood is the absence of Eva Green, De Palma's first choice to play the older Linscott daughter. Don't get me wrong, Hilary Swank does a good job, although only bearing a limited resemblance to the real-life girl or even Mia Kirshner, whereas Eva Green's smile (go on, google it) uncannily echoes what Liz Short must have looked like after she'd been subjected to (in Ramona's words) "the cruelest joke of all" to "look just like my Maddy".

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 1:43 PM CDT

Name: "d"

Since when are Z and STATE OF SEIGE American films?

Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 2:27 PM CDT

Name: "Matt"

I'd not heard about Eva Green being the original choice, but damned if that wouldn't have been perfect casting. Aside from the fact that I think she's beautiful, she actually looks like Mia Kershner, which Swank didn't, even a little.

I'd love to see the rumoured 3-hour initial cut, though there seems little likelihood it will ever be released; why sink money into the re-release of a film that didn't make money to begin with (though on the other hand, how many cuts of Alexander has Oliver Stone put out at this point? Three? Four?) My problem with the film is that it feels really cramped in parts, especially the end. A series of discoveries that the book takes three or four chapters to unspool gets crammed into about five minutes of screen time. There's also way too much trimmed out of both Lee and Bucky's growing obsession with the case. The Dahlia case gets moved into the background behind the whole bank robbery/Bobby DeWitt plotline, when it should have been out front in a film called "The Black Dahlia."

Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 6:46 PM CDT

Name: "Geoff"
Home Page: https://www.angelfire.com/de/palma

Although I think situating the Dahlia case as more of a background is perhaps part of De Palma's personal point with the movie-- presenting Bucky as sort of going through the motions with this case, when he really feels there are more important things he should be doing-- and I think De Palma engulfs the film in Bucky's viewpoint that the things that matter are getting overlooked by the more star-making turns and concerns of the Dahlia case.

Sunday, May 10, 2015 - 8:54 PM CDT

Name: "Matt"

That's definitely true up to a point-Bucky doesn't want to divert from the case he's working, and ultimately people die because they did. The problem is that, of course, the story ultimately DOES have to end up addressing the Dahlia murder at the climax, and it feels very shoehorned in, like it was an obligatory resolution rather than one the film was really building towards. A three-hour cut, however, doesn't seem like necessarily the best way to go; another twenty minutes probably could've given those scenes more elbow room, along with Lee's descent earlier in the film. It's not as if De Palma is unfamiliar with portraying obsessions, after all.

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 3:53 PM CDT

Name: "harry georgatos"

I've always thought the last 15 minutes of The Black Dahlia was extremely rushed in it's resolution and needed more steady exposition.

Still the movie is unjustly maligned and the extended cut would expand on the compelling nature of De Palma's storytelling.  

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 6:30 PM CDT

Name: "Luu"

I think we should have the  right to see one day  an extended version of the Black Dahlia because Aaron Eckhart told Jack Valenti in Deauville in 2006 that it was a pity  that  some  scenes he considered  very important were cut in the  theatrical version.

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