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Behind the Scene

Hollywood Homicide is a fast paced action comedy that provides a rare inside look at the professional and personal lives of two Los Angeles Police Department officers. Harrison Ford stars as Joe Gavilan, a hard-nosed veteran. He is paired with one of today's fastest rising young talents, Josh Hartnett, as his reluctant partner K.C. Calden, who is more interested in teaching yoga and pursuing an acting career than he is in detective work.

Director, co-writer and producer Ron Shelton explores the practice of law enforcement in the glamour capital, scraping away the glitz to reveal what's underneath.

"There is an absurdity to L.A. that I find attractive," says Shelton. "Los Angeles isn't really a city in the normal sense, and movies aren't really made in Hollywood. That is, if you can even find Hollywood."

The other milieu Shelton explores is the driving and sometimes chaotic world of the recording industry, in particular the hip-hop music scene, where the killing of a fictitious rap music group seems culled from today's headlines.

After hearing veteran homicide investigator Robert Souza's stories of his colorful career at the Hollywood division of the LAPD, Hollywood Homicide producer Lou Pitt was intrigued by the private side of a policeman's life, an environment movies rarely explore. "It was the personal stuff they have to deal with while they're trying to solve crimes that I found really compelling," says Pitt. "I wanted to know more about who these guys are and to make a film that showed their personal lives in a way we've never seen before. Like too many of us, they have to find a way to juggle the demands of their work and their lives."

Souza says he was influenced by another ex-LAPD policeman turned author, Joseph Wambaugh (The Onion Field, The New Centurions), who also combined his professional exploits as a detective with compelling personal stories. Like the central characters in Hollywood Homicide, Souza regularly had side jobs while he was serving with the LAPD. Where did he find the time? "When you're on an intense case, you rack up tremendous overtime, so you end up with a lot of time off and that creates opportunities for other activities," Souza explains. "Throughout my career, I worked at everything from real estate to private security to repossessing cars. And I worked with guys who were cabinet makers, certified public accountants and tennis pros."

The discussions between Souza and Pitt prompted Pitt to recall the time he came into contact with a police officer, who was also pursuing another vocation. "Once my home was burglarized and when the police investigator learned I was in the movie business, he wanted to know if I was an agent. I told him I was. He excused himself, went to his car and pulled a script out of the trunk of his car and asked me to read it. He said if I didn't like this draft he had several other versions," Pitt laughs.

It's a much more common experience than most people realize, according to Souza, especially for cops on the beat in Hollywood. "I once had a partner who wanted to be an actor. He carried 8 x 10 glossy head shots around with him to hand out to entertainment industry people with whom he came into contact."

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