Scarlett Johansson as Kay Lake
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by Josh Friedman (screenplay), James Ellroy (novel)
Release Date September 15, 2006
Genre Crime / Drama
MPAA Rating R
The Black Dahlia is based on a novel by James Ellroy, which was inspired by the notorious 1940s murder case of Elizabeth Short. The movie tells the story of two L.A.P.D. cops, Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett) and his partner, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart), whose personal lives turn to madness when the body of Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner), a beautiful and mysterious young woman, is discovered in a vacant lot. The two men turn what should be just another case into an obsession and their frenetic search to bring the young woman’s killer to justice pulls the best friends apart and leads them down a path of corruption, deceit, passion and betrayal – and even more death.
Scarlett Johansson’s Role
Scarlett Johansson’s character, Kay Lake, is a mysterious woman with a dark past. She comes off very confident and alluring but inside she is broken and vulnerable. She is torn between Lee and Bucky. Lee offers her security and friendship but Bucky is the one she is falling in love with. At the same time Bucky is becoming more and more obsessed with the Dahlia case.
… Josh Hartnett
… Aaron Eckhart
… Hilary Swank
… Mia Kirshner
Trivia & Facts
• Filming began on 4th April 2005. It was filmed on location in Sofia, Bulgaria and Los Angeles, California with estimated budjet of $50,000,000.
• The film opened the 63rd Venice Film Festival in 2006.
• Eva Green, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Fairuza Balk and Gwen Stefani were considered for the female roles while Mark Wahlberg was previously attached to play Bucky.
• 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 envisaged.
• In at least one earlier version of the script, Kay has auburn hair, not blond hair, as she does in the film.
• Gwen Stefani was considered for the role of Kay Lake.
Quotes: Scarlett Johansson
• “I play a character called Kay Lake who is a very complicated girl, she is very broken. She is kind of the girl crying behind her smile. It is a wonderful story, a wonderful book, I think it is going to be a pretty exciting movie. Brian De Palma brought together an amazing crew, right through the cinematographer, costume designer, set designer, and it’s a great cast as well: Hilary Swank, Josh Hartnett, and Aaron Eckhart. It was very civil and a totally different experience because we were doing a film noir drama precisely to film noir standards. It is a different kind of focus that Brian has – The Black Dahlia has so much in the whole twisted story, so Brian is only focussing on the actors. There’s not more than a couple of really gory and violent moments that, of course, Brian does very well. Other than that, it’s a completely character driven film.”
• “I play a character from the book named Kay Lake. She’s a girl who is living with Aaron Eckhart’s character and forms this sort of strange trio between Josh’s character and Aaron’s character. She’s this kind of ex-prostitute who’s been kind of beaten and saved by this guy. It’s very twisted.”
• “Kay’s not innocent in any way at all. She’s a survivor really. She creates a fantasy for herself in order to wake up each morning and not dwell on her horrible past.”
• “I really wanted Kay to look nothing like Hilary’s [Swank] character or the Dahlia. So we thought that we would dress her in cream and beige and things that were soft because Hilary’s character is so kind of hard and really a glam vixen. The difference between love and lust? I don’t know. Hopefully, you can find a relationship where you don’t have to compromise that ever, but certainly I think that in this relationship that Kay has with Bucky she has both.”
• “Working with Brian, of course, was just amazing. He’s an auteur director. He’s got a style all his own. And I felt like I was in safe hands working with him. He says things of another era. Like he’ll say, ‘Quiet on the set! These actors are trying to work!’ It’s amazing. He’s great. He’s got an amazing respect for the process and everybody has huge respect for him.”
• “I think the film is an absolutely true film noir in every sense of the word, as retro as the word might be. Hopefully, it’ll be interesting to see how audiences respond to not just a version of a film noir piece but an actual film noir piece. We’ll see how.”
• “I’m very excited about promoting Black Dahlia. I feel very confident about that film. Josh Hartnett, Hilary Swank and Aaron Eckhart are all my co-stars and I would be happy to be with them on the red carpet.”
• “It’s nice to be considered sexy as a young woman in my prime. It’s a sexy scene. Brian wanted it to be aggressive, a kind of exorcism of sorts, and I thought it was appropriate. I never think about it being distracting to my performance. I think it goes hand in hand with the part.”
(on the sexual scenes)
• Director Brian De Palma on Scarlett
“I’d say she’s one of the finest actresses working today, but I think that underestimates her talent.”
• Director Brian De Palma on Scarlett
“Scarlett is… That kind of smouldering, animal sexuality brings to mind a young Marlon Brando. Rita Hayworth had it, too. Scarlett’s got it. You don’t know what’s going on in her head, you don’t have a clue what she just said. You just want to watch.”
Quotes: Her Character
• “To my… supercops!”
• “She looks like that dead girl! How sick are you?”
• “I was never any good. Ended up with a master’s in history.”
• “I don’t know, sweetheart. Bucky was somebody back in the day. And here we all are…”
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