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About The Production
At the center of Dark Blue is its fascinating main character, Eldon Perry. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of the Rodney King verdict and ensuing riots, Dark Blue is a story about crime, corruption, race, and social issues, but it's also about redemption. The film is complex and covers a wide range of themes and storylines, but it's Perry's journey of self-discovery – and the price he pays for it – that ultimately gives the film such power.

Based on a story by acclaimed writer James Ellroy, actor Kurt Russell was the first choice for the role of Perry, and David Ayer's screenplay was written expressly with Russell in mind. Thankfully, once he'd read the script, Russell knew he wanted to play the part. He was immediately attracted to the character and felt the role would be an exciting challenge.

When he read the script, however, there wasn't a director attached to the project, and Russell wanted to wait to make the film until he was sure the script was in good hands. With the wrong director, Eldon Perry could become too political or too one-note, and Russell wanted to make sure the character was portrayed in the right way. A few years went past, but finally, when director Ron Shelton became involved, the project gained momentum. Russell says, "When Ron became involved and I heard his vision for the movie, I knew it was time to do the film.”

"It really took Ron's presence for Kurt to feel comfortable that the movie wasn't going to be political,” says producer Chubb, "that his character was going to be understood. It took Ron's sensitivity to his concerns and Kurt's faith in that for the project to really take off.”

Explaining his attraction to the material, Shelton says, "I really liked the script. The fact that it was a cop story with a political backdrop interested me a great deal. Plus it's a multi-layered script with really great drama in it. It wasn't just a shoot-'emup.” Shelton, Ayers, and Russell worked together to fine-tune the screenplay, further focusing on the character of Eldon Perry. "I wanted to humanize Eldon without compromising the darkness of the character,” continues Shelton. "We wanted to turn him into a man who is wrestling with the devil, but losing.”

For Russell, playing Officer Eldon Perry was a chance to explore a type of character he hasn't often had the chance to portray. "Perry's a change from characters I've played in the past,” says Russell. "This is a contemporary film about real people, and Perry is as real as it gets. More than any other character I've played, he's a very real person; he's got a full 360 degrees to his character. He's a cop, so he's working for the city and the community, but he's also completely politically incorrect in a real sense. He's a man who has been educated by the street. He's gone over the line. And over the next four days, he's going find out how far over the line he's gone. "

In spite of Perry's obvious flaws, Russell thinks there is something that attracts people to him. "That's what makes him dangerous,” he says. "People like Perry have a side to them that's likeable. He mixes that likeability with a real volatility, though. When audiences watch the film, it will be interesting to see if and where the audience lets Eldon off the hook. Where they buy into Eldon and where they reject him. He's a risky character, one that you can hate, and at times you also like him. In the end I hope audiences feel some compassion for and empathy with him.

"Eldon Perry is legendary in his police force for a number of different reasons, some of which aren't good, "Russell continues. "And he suffers the consequences of that. But he understands there are certain aspects of his job nobody else is going to do. He can do those things, and he does do them. Whether he should or not is another story.”<


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