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A dead girl

with political connections.

A pain-in-the-butt NY cop

sent to chase wild geese in LA.

A health food-eating,

house-sitting LA cop

ordered to babysit the NY detective.

A killer with a penchant

for lethal toys.

A college kid kidnaped to break through a firewall.

Fire Season in L.A.



First things first — was it stolen? The simple answer is, I don’t know. I believe it was, but I can’t prove it and proof is the issue, not theft. Hollywood Homicide bears a number of uncomfortable similarities to Firewall. It pairs two cops who are total opposites (nothing new there), an older cop who is transitioning out of police work into real estate, and a younger health addict and would-be actor. Firewall also features two very different cops, an alcoholic, emphysemic, chain-smoking New Yorker and a health addict who is transitioning into real estate. L.A.’s air bunny traffic reporters also figure prominently in both stories, although more in Firewall than in Hollywood Homicide. There are other similarities I won’t bother to detail.

When Hollywood Homicide was released, I went to see it with Jackie. We looked at one another and our expressions said it all — it’s happened again. Over the ensuing days friends familiar with the script called to report that Hollywood Homicide was obviously stolen from Firewall. I was with a new agent when Firewall was marketed all over Hollywood, and left him a year or so before Hollywood Homicide was produced. I began looking for sneaker tracks, the only proof that is meaningful in court — did you have contact with or possession of the material in question before making your movie, sir? — and could find no connections at all. Still, my script had been submitted virtually everywhere (almost). There the issue was left.

Even though Firewall is an action genre piece, I wrote it from personal experience. Pete Meagher, my emphysemic, chain-smoking New Yorker character, was based on Paul Meagher, my friend who had just died several years before. In truth, Pete and Paul are the same guy, with the same annoying habits and expectations. Paul was a royal pain in the butt to know. He constantly challenged you to prove your friendship by putting yourself out in some way, often unnecessarily. I knew from many hours of talking with him that this trait went back to his childhood when he figured out that if he was a problem kid his mother would spend more time worrying over him than her two other boys. Paul cried wolf about dying many times, and the final time he cried wolf I didn’t believe him, and he died, of course, the bastard. I was really annoyed with him much of the time we were friends, and of course I loved him, too, although why I really can’t say.

Paul Meagher was a bombardier aboard B-17s during the Second World War, had spent his life in pursuit of pleasure and entertainment, and was so smart he could read technical manuals and know them after one sitting. He was insufferable, funny, witty, opinionated, very often wrong about things, and my friend. I wrote this screenplay to spend some time with him again. Now, nine years later, reading it again allowed me to revisit him.

The bastard.

-- Richard Taylor, Cambria, California, August 2010


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