I have always been interested in Los Angeles (LA) as a town, a destination, and as an idea. The city embodies much of what makes America a great place to live. It is a patchwork quilt of ethnicities, cultures, and people. Although they are distinct in their own right, they blend in LA in a way that no other city seems to accomplish. Make no mistake; Los Angeles is not a great melting pot. Beneath that calm exotic exterior, there lies a history of a seething mass of unresolved jealousies, discrimination, and disappointment.
What has made the city famous and interesting are the novels and films that show these tensions, hopes, and opportunities. Instead of the bright, shiny, and plastic views presented about LA, I have always been interested in those novels and films that push the boundaries. The ones that investigation where power, opportunity, and corruption intersect. The area we know intuitively but never seen explicitly. The underbelly of a city that fuels the ambition, the drive, and the success that is so public, yet, sustained by private vices, flaws, and plots.
Capturing the many sides of LA
To me, the authors that capture these themes and ideas best are James Ellroy and Walter Mosely. I would like to see them collaborate on a novel that brings together Easy Rawlins and Bud White and Ed Exley. Alternatively, the novel could contain brand new characters. In any case, we could see LA from two different yet intersecting levels. The novel could be historical (focused on the 50s) or it could be a generational picture with an arc from the 50s to the 90s. The film could culminate in the LA riots, which have done much to shape the city. The storylines behind these characters intersect and moves through the history of LA.
Who would I cast? Here are some names to consider
I could see male characters for Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Samuel Jackson and Idris Elba. I could also see Nick Nolte, Chazz Palminteri, Sean Cullen, Don Cheadle, Will Smith, Larenz Tate. I could see female characters for Cary Mulligan, Virginia Madsen, Dana Delaney, Barbara Hershey, Jada Pinkett Smith, CCH Pounder, Naomie Harris, Joely Richardson, Kerry Washington and Theresa Randle.
Would the collaboration be its own reward?
What would be interesting as well is to see Mosely and Ellroy working together. I am not sure if they get along with each other, know each other, or are even interested in the idea. It would be a literary partnership that I have always thought would be interesting to see in action. They approach the same subject, the same period, yet with a different view and outcome. Then again, it could be a damp squib of an idea. Perhaps, both men have egos that would stop such collaboration. Perhaps, it cannot be written. Perhaps, both are tired of the genre. They may have moved on from their early success to other areas to push their own creative and personal boundaries.
In any case, it would be interesting just to have them discuss the idea or see them in a discussion about how they would approach such a project. I would be interested to know whom they would cast and how they would develop characters for the actors or whether they would work forward from character to actor.
What is your view on this idea? Does it have legs? Or is it a non-starter?
- Walter Mosely Teams To Launch Company To Produce His Own Books (m.deadline.com)
- L.A. Existential: Rampart Reviewed (thequietus.com)