In 1979, James Ellroy wrote an incredibly intense novel based on a brutal murder that took place in LA in 1947; the book was also heavily influenced by the unsolved murder of Ellroy's own mother when he was child. The 1947 killer was also never caught.

For the past nine months, Brian De Palma has been working on a film version of Ellroy's work (called The Black Dahlia, after the nickname the press gave the victim) that stars Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart and, since it's apparently now illegal to make a movie without her, Scarlett Johansson. And, according to informal statements by Ellory this week, De Palma has finished shooting and the film is ready to be edited; there is even a chance it will be ready in time for a Cannes premiere in May. In addition, though Ellroy was initially very unhappy with the movie, he has now come around. Not only did he describe (with typical grace) the three hours of dailies he saw as "fucking gorgeous" and the compositions as "amazing," but he also made a rather bold statement about the film as whole: "the big story coming out of this is...Hartnett, who is a revelation." Whoa.

This is great news for Ellroy fans - his books are outrageously complex, and the task of translating them to the big screen must be unimaginably difficult. (L.A. Confidential is so brilliant partially because of how seamlessly it cut and changed the book, without sacrificing quality or credibility.) It sounds like De Palma and writer Josh Friedman just may have done it - after all, if Ellroy didn't like what he'd seen, he certainly wouldn't be shy about.

[via GreenCine Daily]