Russell Crowe finds one of his first big roles in the thriller “LA Confidential”. Before starting filming, the actor was convinced to be on an ejection seat, convinced that he was going to be replaced by another famous comedian.
LA Confidential: But what are the police doing?
Released in 1997, LA Confidential is the adaptation of the eponymous novel by James Ellroy, the third part of the Los Angeles Quartet. To transpose this substantial work to the screen, director Curtis Hanson decides to focus on the moments involving the three main characters.
The first, Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), is one of the most famous police officers in the City of Angels. Working as an advisor on the series The Badge of Honor, he loves social events and takes a disillusioned look at his profession. Conversely, Ed Exley (Guy Pearce) is an idealistic cop who has followed his father’s path and dreams of rising through the ranks. Finally, Bud White (Russell Crowe) is a brute who does not hesitate to carry out the menial tasks entrusted to him by Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell).
In 1953, after the arrest of kingpin Mickey Cohen (Paul Guilfoyle), Corruption plagues Los Angeles. Following an orchestrated massacre in a café called “L’Oiseau de Nuit”, Vincennes, Exley, and White are forced to collaborate. They embark on a tortuous investigation mixing Hollywood personalities, politicians, and police officers, and discover a vast affair of prostitution, drug trafficking, and the quest for power.
Danny DeVito, David Strathairn, Ron Rifkin, and Simon Baker complete the cast of LA Confidential. In 1998, the feature film won two Oscars Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Kim Basinger.
The Russell Crowe Revelation
When he landed the role of the impulsive Bud White, Russell Crowe was still in the process of making a name for himself in Hollywood. After an acclaimed performance in the Australian drama Romper somewhere he plays a neo-Nazi, he participated in 1995 in the duel contest orchestrated by Sam Raimi in Dead or alive alongside Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, and young Leonardo DiCaprio.
A year later, he played a formidable artificial intelligence chased by Denzel Washington in programmed to kill. But it is with LA Confidential that he truly reveals to the general public.
A heavy situation
However, until the last moment, the actor has the impression of being on an ejection seat. Before filming begins, he fears being fired by the producers, as he tells QG in 2020:
I was accommodated in a hotel during the period when we were supposed to rehearse. I have friends in the business who told me that Sean Penn was going to play me. (…) At some point, they stopped paying my hotel bill and my car rental bill, they stopped giving me per diems… so it became quite burdensome.
To the point where there were several times I went down the stairs at the back of the hotel to avoid the manager stopping me and asking me what was going on. (…) The only thing I could rely on was the assurance that the director had made his choice. So I continued to come to work. I think if there had been a day when I was frustrated and didn’t show up for work, that would have been the loophole they would have used to get me out.
Perseverance eventually paid off. Later, Sean Penn also finally had the opportunity to go back in time to Los Angeles of the 40s and 50s. In 2013, he played the big guy Mickey Cohen in the action film Gangster Squad. As for Russell Crowe, two years after the release of LA Confidentialthe actor shines opposite Al Pacino in Revelations, before knowing the consecration in 2000 with Gladiator.