Curtis Hanson’s L.A. Confidential can comfortably be called one of the greatest crime films of the 1990s, and arguably even one of the best of the modern era. The smoky neo-noir boasted an all-star ensemble cast each operating at the top of their game, as well as providing star-making turns for Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, both of whom were relative Hollywood unknowns at the time.
On the surface, the movie didn’t come burdened with much in the way of franchise potential, despite earning $126 million at the box office on a $35 million and winning almost universal praise from critics, which went on to culminate in nine Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Director, with Kim Basinger being named Best Supporting Actress, while Hanson and co-writer Brian Helgeland picked up the trophy for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Despite enjoying such widespread success, a recent report has detailed that Warner Bros. turned down a pitch for an L..A. Confidential sequel set two decades later in the 1970s. Not only would Crowe and Pearce have reprised their respective roles as Bud White and Ed Exley, but Chadwick Boseman was also set to play a major supporting part.
The story outline was even hammered into shape by the source novel’s author James Ellroy, and came with Helgeland’s blessing, so quite why the studio decided that it wasn’t worth the investment is anybody’s guess. Legacy sequels are all the rage these days, and a follow up to L.A. Confidential would have hardly broken the bank in terms of its budget, but a hard-boiled 1970s crime thriller with Boseman going toe-to-toe against Crowe and Pearce would have been something special to see.