Adaptations of books and movies have been incredibly successful on the small screen in recent years, and arguably the biggest show on television is based on another work. Now, CBS is working to bring a new adaptation of an unforgettable novel to TV. A series based on James Ellroy's book L.A. Confidential is currently in development to give a fresh and likely twisted take on the sensational world of showbiz in the 1950s.
The prospective L.A. Confidential series would follow a set of characters whose lives cross as a deadly mystery unfolds in the Los Angeles of the 1950s. Viewers will see the story unfold through the eyes of three homicide detectives, a female reporter, and an actress, all while a sadistic serial killer is working his or her way through the underbelly of the town.
If the show follows the tone of the book, there will be plenty of darkness to counter the glitz and glamor on the surface of the culture in 1950s Los Angeles. James Ellroy's novel first hit bookshelves back in 1990, as the third of four books that would take place in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s. The novel was adapted into a movie in 1997, which assembled an all-star cast for a project that has gone down as one of the great detective movies of modern cinema.
The 1997 film starred Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, James Cromwell, and Danny DeVito. The movie was a hit with audiences and critics alike, with Basinger winning an Academy Award for her portrayal of Lynn Bracken, the prostitute who happens to look an awful lot like a big-name movie star. L.A. Confidential also won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and was nominated in another seven categories. If CBS gives the L.A. Confidential project a series order, comparisons to the movie will be inevitable.
The success of the show may depend on the actors who tackle the lead roles. Of course, given that the show is being developed as an adaption of the James Ellroy novel rather than the 1997 movie, there may be key differences between the stories of the show and the film. At the very least, a TV show will have a lot longer than a couple hours to explore the characters, and it may ultimately be much more faithful to the book than the movie was.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time an L.A. Confidential series has been in development. Variety reports that a pilot starring Kiefer Sutherland and Eric Roberts was filmed following the success of the movies, although the pilot was not picked up to series. James Ellroy was reportedly shopping the book around to become a TV show that would continue the stories of the movie back in 2013. Now, the show really might happen.
While L.A. Confidential seems to be in the very early stages, we do already know that Jordan Harper of The Mentalist and Gotham has signed on as writer and executive producer. We'll have to wait and see what happens next with the project. Stay tuned to CInemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and be sure to take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).