Film: Hollywoodland

A slow-burning thriller film released in 2006 and directed by Allen Coulter, Hollywoodland traces cheap detective Louis Simo (Adrien Brody) — hired to investigate the unexpected violent death of real-life actor George Reeves, most famous for his iconic role as Superman during The Fifties. As Simo follows clues and leads, he finds he may be way out of his league.

Hollywoodland was done with a relatively low budget and made a small profit in America, but it was well received by critics. The George Reeves part went to Ben Affleck and critically it was perhaps the brightest spot in Affleck's career between Good Will Hunting (1997) and Argo (2012), as he got surprisingly good reviews for his portrayal. Also starring Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins.

Trope examples:

  • Defective Detective: Louis Simo has issues.
  • Driven to Suicide: What Reeves' death is passed off as and it is implied that it was.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Louis Simo is a deconstruction loosely based on a real detective, Milo Speriglio.
  • Hollywood Hype Machine: Reeves becomes tragically aware that he has become a victim of this.
  • Not So Different: Simo and Reeves, both want to make a better name for themselves and both are destroying themselves in the process. However where Simo manages to turn his life around, Reeves doesn't.
  • Private Detective
  • "Rashomon"-Style: As detective Louis Simo investigates the death of actor George Reeves, he goes through the many possible (and ultimately conflicting) theories on what happened.
  • Reality Subtext: Affleck plays an actor who, like himself, endures a string of failures, struggles with alcoholism and bad relationships, and feels that he has become a laughing stock to the public. Of course Affleck's story has a much happier ending than Reeves' did.
  • Sidelong Glance Biopic: Simo is a fictional character, Reeves was not.
  • Talking Your Way Out: Reeves does this when confronted by a child with a loaded gun who wanted to shoot him to see if Shooting Superman worked in real life. And he does it all without breaking character.
  • Type Casting: In-Universe (and in Real Life too) this is George Reeves' recurring problem for the rest of his life after playing Superman.