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The Black Dahlia (2006) Poster

Trivia

Average Shot Length = ~7.3 seconds.
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Jump to: Director Cameo (1) | Spoilers (2)
James Ellroy's book was based in part on the true story of the murder of Elizabeth Short, an aspiring actress who'd moved to Hollywood in the mid-1940s from Medford, Massachusetts. A drifter and hanger-on who never managed to break into films, she disappeared in early January 1947. On January 15, 1947, her horribly mutilated corpse was found in an empty lot in south-central Los Angeles. Her murderer was never publicly identified or apprehended.
Josh Hartnett trained for the boxing scenes for seven months in four-hour sessions
When Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert goes searching through some photographs, you can see a real autopsy photo of Elizabeth Short.
David Fincher had originally planned to direct and intended to make a three-hour version shot entirely in black and white. Fincher subsequently left the project, apparently because he doubted that he would be able to make the film exactly the way he envisioned.
The screen test that characters keep watching are not in the James Ellroy novel. They were a plot device created by screenwriter Josh Friedman. The real Elizabeth Short claimed to have screen tested at major studios but no such footage has ever been found.
The book was optioned in 1986. It took 20 years for it to be made.
Mia Kirshner was originally intended to be feeding lines to potential actors in screen tests. However, her performance so caught the attention of director Brian De Palma and writer Josh Friedman that she was cast as Elizabeth Short and her role expanded significantly compared to the novel.
Brian De Palma's longtime friend, character actor William Finley, a frequent star of many of De Palma's previous films, took the role of George Tilden, his only post-1994 film role.
Brian De Palma's initial cut ran at roughly three hours and was a faithful adaptation of the book, with more time dedicated to Bucky's psychological breakdown during the investigation and his obsession with avenging the Dahlia. James Ellroy was shown a print of this version and wrote an essay praising it; entitled "The Hillikers," it was published in re-issued prints of the novel, which were released before the film premiered. In the interim between Ellroy's having seen the director's cut and the publication of his essay, the film was significantly edited. After seeing the theatrical cut, Ellroy refused to comment on it, except to tell the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer", "Look, you're not going to get me to say anything negative about the movie, so you might as well give up."
Rose McGowan's character Sheryl Saddon appears to be inspired by a real person, one Sherryl Maylond, who had shared a room with Elizabeth Short and six other girls.
The source novel comes from the same series as L.A. Confidential (1997), with Patrick Fischler playing the younger version of Ron Rifkin's character Ellis Loew from that story. The book also featured a younger version of Darrell Sandeen's character Leland "Buzz" Meeks.
'Elizabeth Short (I)' (qc) had no middle name in real life, but she is referred to as Elizabeth Ann Short during the autopsy.
The character of Lorna Mertz, played by Jemima Rooper, was based on a figure in the real case named Norma Lee Myer. Under the name Lynn Martin, she had been living with Elizabeth Short and another girl named Marjorie Graham in a hotel shortly before the murder. At the time of the investigation, Martin was 15 years old and had several arrests on her record.
On the advice of a friend, screenwriter Josh Friedman included the screen tests in order to get the audience insight into the character.
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The eccentric character George Tilden is mentioned as being a "son of a surgeon," a description which also applies to director Brian De Palma.
Brian De Palma offered the role of Madeleine Linscott to Eva Green, but she turned it down because she didn't want to be typecast as a "femme fatale" and the role went to Hilary Swank.
In at least one earlier version of the script, Kay has auburn hair, not blond hair, as she does in the film.
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Brian De Palma met Rose McGowan a year before the filming of this movie, and offered her the role of Sherryl Saddon.
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Mark Wahlberg had initially signed on to play Lee Blanchard opposite Josh Hartnett, but scheduling conflicts with the planned The Brazilian Job prevented him from taking part even though production on The Italian Job (2003) sequel was eventually pushed back.
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Fairuza Balk, Rachel Bilson and Kate Beckinsale were all considered for the role of Madeleine Linscott.
Maggie Gyllenhaal was offered the part of Elizabeth Short but turned it down.
When The Brazilian Job was pushed further back in development, Mark Wahlberg, director Brian De Palma's first choice, was once again available for shooting. However, Wahlberg was offered the chance to work with Martin Scorsese on The Departed (2006) and turned down the role, which eventually went to Aaron Eckhart.
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Although credited as an Executive Producer, James B. Harris had little to do with the production, other than being the first person to option the material.
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In the earlier drafts, the Linscotts were written as the Spragues, the family name in James Ellroy's original novel.
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Gwen Stefani was considered for the role of Kay Lake.
James B. Harris first optioned the book rights from James Ellroy in 1986. Harris wrote a screenplay and was to direct before he left to make another film.
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Screenwriter Josh Friedman claims he worked on the script from 1997 to 2005.
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Universal Pictures reportedly paid around $20 million for the US distribution rights to the film.
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The film opened the 63rd Venice Film Festival in 2006.
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Amy Irving originally signed on for a small role, but Brian De Palma cut her role before filming eventually began.
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James Horner was previously attached, before Mark Isham was hired to score the film.
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Indie financing studio Capella International was originally planning on making this film when it was first optioned.
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Director Cameo 

Brian De Palma: The voice behind the camera interviewing Elizabeth.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The silent film Bleichert, Lake and Blanchard attend is The Man Who Laughs (1928) starring Conrad Veidt, which foreshadows this film's denouement.
Marjorie Graham, a former roommate of Elizabeth Short (see above), was originally a character in the screenplay. She was written into one scene, occurring right after Sherryl Saddon's scene, in which she insinuates that Elizabeth Short and Lorna Mertz were consorting with a lesbian. This scene was written out, and Sherryl performs this function in the final film.
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