When it comes to crime fiction, I have a hierarchy of sorts — there are dozens of very good writers, a handful of outstanding ones, and then there are the true visionaries: writers like Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson, and James Ellroy. That last one is a real knockout — Ellroy’s been writing dark, dirty, breathtakingly beautiful novels, each with a set of fascinating characters that swirl in and out of each others’ plotlines, for decades now. Unfortunately, with the single, shining example of L.A. Confidential, adaptations of his books into film have, for the most part, failed.
Now, Slashfilm is reporting that Oren Moverman, who direced last year’s stirring The Messenger, might be circling a script by Ellroy called Rampart. Even more intriguing is that it’s rumored to star Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson (the leads in The Messengers). I can’t describe how excited I am for this idea. I love Harrelson in everything, good, bad, stupid, whatever. But in particular, when he plays it straight and honest, he’s terrific. Foster is a force of nature on screen. Now that we know he can play more than just crazy/disturbed like he did in 3:10 to Yuma, 30 Days of Night, Hostage, etc., it’s a treat to see him on-screen in any incarnation.
Ellroy’s Rampart is the story of the LAPD Ramparts Division, which was torn apart by a corruption scandal in the late ’90s. The true story is a lurid tale of robbery, drug use and sales, and murder — all at the hands of a couple of deeply crooked LAPD officers. In short, it’s the type of story that Ellroy could write in his sleep.
Unfortunately, this is all rumor and conjecture at the moment — Slashfilm has a write-up of where the various sources come from. But we’ll keep you posted, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed.