Allen Coulter, 2006
Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) wants to find who killed Superman.
Louis Simon is a private investigator who works on the mysterious death of actor George Reeves (Ben Affleck). He has two different leads:
1) The murder: George was having an affair with Toni Manix (Diane Lane), the wife of Eddie Manix (Bob Hoskins) who owns the MGM. George left Toni and she got depressed. Eddie got upset and erased Georges from the picture.
You’re an old man, Eddie. Who’s gonna wipe the blood off your hands?
My hands? I’m in the picture business.
No, you’re a murderer.
2) The accident: a wrong move from George’s new girlfriend Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney) who shot him by mistake as they were fighting.
During his investigation, Simo discovers Hollywood’s dark side made of frustrations, jealousies and profiteers – including George’s own mother. Simo lets this case take him down. He gets beaten up by Eddie’s men. His girlfriend cheats on him. He starts drinking. He loses touch with his son and with himself.
A third unexpected lead has to be considered: what if George’s was deeply depressed? What if George actually killed himself out of despair?
Simo realized he went too far. It’s time to leave all that crap and take care of his son.
Hollywoodland is about backstage.
We all live in a dream because we’ve been told we could.
Tell me what you want George, you can have it.
Living in a fantasy is fun. It feels good to be Superman. We’re listening to our playlist. We’re the hero of our everyday. We’re invincible. Hollywood is the place that feeds those fantasies.
Then a confused fan comes to us with a gun and asks:
Can I shoot you?
We obviously don’t want that to happen because we would die. This is when we have to admit we’re just human. There is a moment in life when we have to face our dreams and accept we might never make it. George has to make peace with just being a small actor. This is painful. Toni really loves the man therefore she has to tell him the truth.
You’ve never helped me. You never helped me! You could’ve talked to Eddie. You could’ve gotten me something, but you didn’t! Because you liked me where I was, in a fucking red suit! You liked that! Well, that’s not who I am, understand? God damn you!
…But, George, that’s all you were good for. Ten-year-olds and shut-ins. That was the best you were ever going to be. I knew that, why didn’t you?
George has to step off the stage because life is no cinema. The real world always catches us at some point. And what’s waiting for us on the other side is just us. A person we don’t want to see sometimes.
I look like a damned fool!
George is fat. He drinks. He’s an awful singer. He’s out of breath. He’s getting old. That is the reality. He can’t lie to himself, as his agent (Jeffrey DeMunn) reminded him.
An actor can’t always act – sometimes he has to work.
George struggles because he dreamt big and what he achieved was not enough, even though he inspired millions of young Americans. He was Superman, it wasn’t that bad. But it wasn’t enough to him. He got trapped by Hollywood. He’s not who he wanted to be according to the industry’s standards. And he’s not happy with who he is. He can’t stand the idea and has no other option but to kill himself.
Simo experiences what George went through. He’s very similar to Reeves. Both men share the same ambition. Simo actually uses George’s drama to serve his own success. He wants to be a private detective in a sexy world full of scandals. He plays the tough guy with a sexy young girlfriend. He wants to make the headlines with big cases.
When Simo discovers George’s real side – not his B-side, he learns not to make the same mistake. Simo opens his eyes and realizes that he’s following the same path. He’s in an echo chamber, trying to persuade himself George got killed. It would be perfect. We want to believe this scenario, as much as he does. It serves our purpose. We’re looking for big news and world records. But when Simo considers the possibility George committed suicide, he reconsiders his own life: He’s divorced. His young girlfriend is cheating on him. He’s so blind he neglected another case he was working on. He didn’t even realize his own client was the criminal. Simo gets beaten up for being to sneaky. Worse, he shows up late and completely drunk at school to pick up his son.
What’s coming next would be a dramatic death. That would just be random and therefore absolutely pathetic. He has to look back at his life and what he missed. Admitting his failure is what gets him back on track soon enough to drop his sunglasses and pick up his son.
Who did we want to be? Who have we become? Who are we really?
This publication reflects the views only of the author.