Originally Published on the 23rd of February 2010 on my Blogger Account. This post has since been edited.
The other week I finished reading White Jazz by James Ellroy. It goes without saying it was amazing – I believe Ellroy is one of the greatest living author – but it was also a little bit sad. Back in 2006 Warner Independent Pictures announced they were making a film of White Jazz. It was going to be directed by Joe Carnahan, director of Narc, Smoking Aces and the New A-Team film, with George Clooney and Chris Pine starring.
However, as of writing this movie is no longer in production. It’s stars have moved on with Chris Pine now filming Star Trek and the promise of being the next big thing in Hollywood while George Clooney has left because other films got in the way.
The thing is that, I believe, both of these guys would have been fantastic. George Clooney would have easily carried the film in the role of David Klein. He has both the natural charm that the character has but would have also stretched Clooney given the way that the character develops.
Along side this, I believe that Chris Pine would have been amazing as Junior Stemmons. He would have done the collapsing and madness of the character really well.
The other sad thing is that a couple of the most important characters didn’t even make the script. Thanks to a rights issue, Dudley Smith and Ed Exley would not be in the film, as the makers of L.A. Confidential were looking to make a sequel to the Oscar winning movie. Joe Carnahan said that Ed Exley had been replaced by a doppelgänger who has all of Exley’s traits and speech patterns. All this means that Guy Pearce won’t be back. He IS Ed Exley as far as I’m concerned. His presence in White Jazz would have only improved the movie.
The other issue is a bigger one though. I don’t know how you would film White Jazz without Dudley Smith. He is the godfather-esque villain of not only the book but three-quarters of the L.A. Quartet. Now I assume that they had a villain in line to replace him but it wouldn’t be the same. White Jazz is all about Exley getting his revenge/justice on Smith for all the things he did in L.A. Confidential – although it isn’t obvious for a lot of the book.
This new villain, like the rest of this film, will never see the light of day. As James Ellroy says, “All movie adaptations of my books are dead.” Let’s hope someone can bring new life to these amazing books!