Behind the Scene
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
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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