Walton Goggins says the ‘L.A. Confidential’ TV show will not be a remake of the movie — and that’s a good thing

1997

caption
1997 “L.A. Confidential” movie, based on the James Ellroy novel.
source
Warner Bros.

  • CBS has ordered a pilot for a TV series version of the James Ellroy novel, “L.A. Confidential,” which was an Oscar-winning movie in the late 1990s.
  • Walton Goggins will play the character of Jack Vincennes, which was played by Kevin Spacey in the movie.
  • Goggins told Business Insider the TV show will not be a remake of the movie, which is a good sign.
  • There’s so much great stuff from the book that the movie left out, especially elements of the Vincennes character.

Since director Curtis Hanson adapted author James Ellroy’s gritty pulp novel “L.A. Confidential” into a movie in 1997 – which went on to win two Oscars – Hollywood has been trying to continue telling the story in different ways with little success.

There was the 2003 show starring Kiefer Sutherland that didn’t get picked up, and a decade later Ellroy pitched around town a series that would be a sequel to the movie; but no takers. Now CBS is the latest to give it a shot.

Walton Goggins.

caption
Walton Goggins.
source
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

The network has ordered a pilot to be written and executive produced by Jordan Harper (“The Mentalist,” “Gotham”) to star an ensemble that includes Walton Goggins, Mark Webber, and Shea Whigam.

Like the book and movie, the pilot will be set in 1950s Los Angeles and explore corrupt cops, tabloid journalism, and the seedy side of Hollywood.

But Goggins, who will play detective Jack Vincennes (the role Kevin Spacey played in the movie), recently told Business Insider something very refreshing about the show: “It isn’t a remake of the movie,” he said. “It is a telling of James Ellroy’s novel.”

And that is a good sign because the movie only touched the surface of what’s in the book.

Arguably Ellroy’s most famous novel from his famed “L.A. Quartet” series of crime fiction books, “L.A. Confidential” follows three policemen as they investigate a series of murders. The book found high acclaim for its colorful characters and fast-paced dialogue that seemed stripped right from a film noir.

Hanson’s movie (which also starred Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and earned Kim Basinger a best supporting actress Oscar win) captures the essence of the book perfectly, and touched on the broad strokes of the plot. But like any movie, a lot of the guts of the book never made the screen. If the pilot is picked up, hopefully a series could delve into that better.

Kevin Spacey as Jack Vincennes.

caption
Kevin Spacey as Jack Vincennes.
source
Warner Bros.

There’s especially more to explore with the Vincennes character.

Spacey played “Trashcan Jack” as a slick detective who loved being the technical advisor of the hit TV show “Badge of Honor” and spill tips to the sleazy tabloid “Hush-Hush” for some extra cash. But what it left out was Vincennes’ drug and alcohol addiction, and that he once killed two innocent people.

Goggins is perfect to play Vincennes and hopefully the show will delve deeper in that darker side of this character.

It’s one of the reasons why the 15-year TV veteran loves the small screen so much.

“With TV it’s just rewarding because in a serialized story things can play out over a very long time so the opportunities to really explore nuances are there,” he said.