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James Ellroy is making a renewed Hollywood push.
The L.A. Confidential author has signed with UTA, which is already taking his latest novel, The Enchanters, out to producers. The news comes on the heels of his Triple Crown year.
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Ellroy, whom the New Yorker recently dubbed “the neo-noir eminence of L.A. crime fiction,” is best known for his L.A. Quartet novels: The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential and White Jazz. His Underworld USA trilogy — American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand and Blood’s a Rover — has also garnered acclaim and best-seller status. A year ago this month, he received the prestigious Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award in recognition of his lifetime excellence in writing about the American West.
The Enchanters is set in Hollywood in the summer of 1962. The novel, which was released in September, tackles the death of Marilyn Monroe in what NPR calls “classic Ellroy: a filthy, boozy, fast-paced, violent romp through the history and important figures of early 1960s Los Angeles, all told in [Freddy] Otash’s frantic voice.” The latest entry marks the expansion of Ellroy’s Second L.A. Quartet into the L.A. Quintet, with the first two volumes, Perfidia (2014) and This Storm (2019), set in the early days of World War II. Per his new reps, “The Enchanters and the subsequent two volumes will collectively constitute a micro-history of Los Angeles in 1962.”
Ellroy is no stranger to Hollywood adaptations, of course, though his involvement in them has historically been minimal and his critiques harsh. During a 2023 appearance at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, for instance, Ellroy offered his unfiltered take on the adaptation of L.A. Confidential, which was both a critical and commercial hit when it was released in 1997. “People love the movie L.A. Confidential,” he said, adding: “I think it’s turkey of the highest form. I think Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger are impotent. The director [Curtis Hanson] died, so now I can disparage the movie.”
On the audio side, a 20-hour uncensored and unabridged version of Ellroy’s American Tabloid launched last year. Ellroy reads all of the narrative passages himself, with a series of actors — including Brian Cox, Elliott Gould, Maya Hawke, Bobby Cannavale and Matt Dillon — reading the dialogue.
Ellroy, who was born in L.A. and now resides in Colorado, will continue to be represented by The Wylie Agency, in addition to UTA.
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