L.A. Confidential remains one of the most acclaimed films of the late 1990s. It won two Academy Awards — for screenwriters Curtis Hanson and Brian Helgeland, and supporting actress Kim Basinger — and became a staple on home video and cable. Around the time of its release, an attempt was made to carry on the story in a TV show, but the 1999 pilot for the series (which starred Kiefer Sutherland) did not get picked up for a series. James Ellroy, who wrote the L.A. Confidential novel, had previously written a sequel, called White Jazz, in 1992. But if you wanted to see more of the characters on the big screen, you were out of luck.

As it turns out, there were attempts to make a sequel, they just never came together. In an interview with The Ringer, screenwriter Brian Helgeland revealed just how far along he got with an L.A. Confidential 2 a few years ago. He said that he had lured back the original film’s actors, Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe, and was ready to pair them with rising star Chadwick Boseman. Helgeland worked out a new story with James Ellroy that “would have been set in the mid-’70s.” Boseman would have played a young cop, nominally serving the role in the story that Pearce’s idealistic Ed Exley played in the original L.A. Confidential novel and film. Helgeland brought this package to Warner Bros. And then...?

“We worked the whole thing out,” Helgeland told The Ringer. “It was great. And Warners passed.”

The article keeps exactly when Helgeland made his pitch very hush-hush. It only says it happened “a few years ago,” so it’s not clear exactly how big of a star Boseman was at that point. (It would make more sense if they passed before Black Panther came out.) And as respected as L.A. Confidential is, it’s not like the film is some classic franchise with millions upon millions of fans desperate for future installments. For those hardcore Confidential fans, though, this is a tantalizing glimpse into what could have been.

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