Sense8 actor Brian J. Smith will take on the lead role in CBS' L.A. Confidential TV series. Smith joins recently announced cast member Walton Goggins on the show, which is being developed by New Regency, Lionsgate Television, and CBS Television Studios. Jordan Harper (Gotham) writes and also acts as executive producer along with Arnon Milchan.
Based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel, L.A. Confidential follows a trio of detectives as they track a serial killer against the backdrop of glamorous Los Angeles, CA. CBS reportedly will offer an updated take on Ellroy's story, which took place in the 1950s. The novel, of course, first came to the screen as a 1997 film, directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Kim Basinger. The film ended up receiving a whopping nine Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. Basinger eventually won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, together with Hanson and Brian Helgeland, who both won for Best Adapted Screenplay. CBS will now revive the neo-noir L.A. Confidential as a potential TV series.
Variety reports that Brian J. Smith will star in the lead role as Detective Ed Exley, the role originally played by Guy Pearce in the 1997 film. Described as cold and authoritative, Exley's ambitions gain fuel from his desire to live up to memories of his hero cop father and deceased brother. Smith will star alongside Walton Goggins as Jack Vincennes, the spotlight-hogging detective played by Kevin Spacey in the movie.
Brian J. Smith's TV résumé includes roles on numerous series including Quantico, Blue Bloods, Person of Interest, Gossip Girl and Law and Order. But most TV fans will know him as Will Gorski, one of eight psychic sensates on the Wachowskis' Netflix series, Sense8. Netflix unfortunately elected to cancel Sense8 after two seasons, but fan outcry convinced the streaming service to bring Sense8 back for a two-hour finale. Smith now finds a soft landing place with a main role on a network series.
With Ed Exley and Jack Vincennes now cast, the remaining big roles to fill on L.A. Confidential are Detective Bud White, sleazy tabloid publisher Sid Hudgens and Veronica Lake lookalike prostitute Lynn Bracken. The CBS series will reportedly do a gender-swap on the Hudgens character, played in the movie by Danny DeVito. Of course, Bud White was played in the film by Russell Crowe and Bracken by Oscar-winner Kim Basinger. In addition to casting, the big challenge for L.A. Confidential will be nailing the neo-noir atmosphere conjured by both the book and movie. The movie especially enjoys an enduring reputation, with critics still regarding it as one of the best crime films of the 1990s. The story's central characters, all ambitious and deeply flawed, are certainly rich enough to support a series treatment.