James Ellroy slams movie version of 'LA Confidential' as being 'deep as a tortilla'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
James Cromwell, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce and Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential (Credit: Warner Bros)

James Ellroy has slated the 1997, Oscar-winning adaptation of his book LA Confidential, branding it 'as deep as a tortilla'.

The notoriously cantankerous crime writer made the comments while appearing at the Hay Festival, where he was discussing his new book, This Storm, set after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“It's about as deep as a tortilla,” he told an audience at the literary event.

“And if you watch the action of the movie, it does not make dramatic sense. I don’t care how many awards it’s won... I don’t like the bulk of the performances.”

However, he went on to say that the experience wasn't exclusively unpleasant.

“They paid me some good dough to sign over the rights… money is the gift you never have to return,” he added.

James Ellroy (Credit: David Levenson/Getty Images)

He also called the 2006 adaptation of his book The Black Dahlia, made by Brian De Palme and starring Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson, 'execrably bad', but then critics agreed with him whole-heartedly on that.

The star-studded LA Confidential, on the other hand, was a critical hit on its release, scoring nine Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture.

It ended up winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Kim Basinger – unfortunately it was up against Titanic in all of its other categories.

The movie, directed by the late Curtis Hanson, who also co-wrote the screenplay, centred on corruption at the heart of the LAPD in the 1950s.

It made a worldwide star of Australian actor Guy Pearce, and also starred Russell Crowe in a breakout role, alongside Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, David Strathairn and James Cromwell.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last week, Ellroy also took a swipe at the BBC's hit thriller Bodyguard.

“That show is really dumb as s**t,” he laughed.

“I thought he was godawful – a little curly haired guy with a big tall woman, and his put-upon wife. And then the woman gets offed in the middle of the show. Yeah, they had the one love scene and then, adios. F**ked it up. Once is not enough.”