You’d think cop drama The Night Watchman would be an attractive prospect for Hollywood, since it boasts a script by none other than LA Confidential novelist James Ellroy. Still, it’s taken a long, hard slog to get it on screen.
Just how long a slog, you ask? Well, considering that Ellroy wrote the tale shortly after the OJ Simpson verdict in the mid ‘90s and that the producers have been trying to get a greenlight ever since, you can understand that there will be some champagne flowing at the offices run by Alexandra Milchan, Lucas Foster and Erwin Stoff today. After more than 10 years of disappointment, with the likes of Spike Lee, Oliver Stone and David Fincher circling the director’s chair and Sean Penn considering starring, Fox Searchlight and New Regency has decided to pick up the cheque.
They were likely convinced by Keanu Reeves, who has been dallying with the lead for a while now, signing up to play a morally dubious cop – think Vic Mackey on TV’s The Shield – who will go to any lengths to crack down on gang violence and drug dealing. But after a serious incident, he decides he can no longer skirt the law to do his job.
Also hopping aboard is David Ayer, who seems perfect for the job, even if it does mean yet another dodgy cop for the scribbler of the Training Day script and the writer/director behind Harsh Times. Still, he’ll take a fresh crack at the Night Watchman script and is aiming to fire up the cameras at the end of April.