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James Ellroy: “Hollywood is still a place of perversion, sex and drugs”

James Ellroy (Los Angeles, 1948) has portrayed the underworld in his novels and dedicates the last one to freddy otasha former police officer who in the 1950s spread gossip and extorted money from movie stars and politicians to cover up scandals in a Hollywood that, he says, is still a place of perversion, sex and drugs.

Panicpublished in Spanish by Random House Literature, is the title of this novel by James Ellroy that he presented in Madrid and in which, in a comical tone, he recounts the life of this real character who defined himself as “the tyrant who had as a hostage to Hollywood.

It was in the 50s when this “disgusting guy” dedicated himself to the magazine ‘Confidential’ to spread all kinds of stories about politicians, actors and actresses: James Dean, Burt Lancaster, Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson or Montgomery Clift They were some of his multiple victims, although he also helped some of them to cover up notorious scandals, always paying.

This magazine talked about love lives and sexual peculiarities of movie stars and politicians, recalls Ellroy, who personally met Otash in 1989 and treated him until he died in 1992: “talking about the old days we had a laugh,” he says about this detective.

“I knew many things and they were all true, some of them for money I divulged in the magazine,” says the author of novels such as LA Confidential either black dahlia in a meeting with journalists.

And he believes that both the main character and the magazine he worked for were forerunners of the internet in defamation, “in scandal journalism”.

Regarding the stars that appear in his novel, the author maintains that Otash did not have the keys to death Marilyn Monroe: «He simply died of an overdose. She took many pills, she was addicted and drunk ».

And about James Dean and ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ director Nicholas Ray the writer maintains that they were “some guys”, “perverted and weird”: “I wanted to show it and hit them hard, from a comic point of view” in his book, he says.

This author writes crime novels set in those years because, he says, he lives in the past and doesn’t give a shit about the present. Y he is convinced that a crime novel writer will never win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

«Yes, I am nostalgic», recognizes this author, who likes them «the corruption of the past, the old cars, how women dressed in the 40s and 50sWorld War II or the atomic bomb, Roosevelt, Eisehower or Kennedy».

Ellroy does not use computers, he has never used the internet, does not have a mobile phone, does not watch the news on television or read the newspapers. He has a landline and uses a fax. She does know that Putin has invaded Ukraine and says that he is carrying a Ukrainian flag.

He also considers that the Russian leader “is another of the psychopaths that exist” and would like the president of his country, Joe Biden, to be “a stronger leader”, but “he is much older”, he adds: “perhaps he is even senile ».

James Ellroy lived for years involved in crime, alcohol and drugs, but he says that he does not regret anything: «before God I confess my sins and I repent. But no matter how hard my life was, I wasn’t that bad either. He was a stupid, careless and a bit reckless boy and that happened. I thank God for the gift I have of writing but for whatever reason, which I ignore, I live in the past », he insists.

He acknowledges that he has a “pretty monumental” ego but says he has learned to behave “a little.”

Several of his novels have been made into movies and all the adaptations “are rubbish,” he considers: “but they paid me.” That is why, for the money, he would let his latest novel also be taken to the big screen because he believes that nothing can be done to his book.

  • literature
  • Random House
  • Hollywood
  • James Elroy
  • Panic
  • freddy otash
  • black dahlia
  • LA Confidential
  • Sex
  • drugs
  • perversion
  • USA
  • cinema
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • james dean
  • liz taylor
  • Montgomery Clift
  • rock hudson
  • burt lancaster

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