Johnny Depp portrays picks up a badge and gun as Los Angeles detective Russel Poole in a new trailer of “City of Lies,” a neo-noir film examining the death of rapper Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious B.I.G., aka Christopher Wallace.
Wallace was a force in rap during the 1990s, but got mired in a East Coast-West Coast rap war that led to his death in a drive-by shooting in 1997. His murder remains unsolved.
“A murder like that only goes unsolved if the police don’t want to solve it,” Depp’s Poole says in the trailer.
Since the story is well-known, the film hinges on the telling.
Poole spends 20 years investigating the case. He finlly teams up with a reporter “Jack” Jackson played by Forest Whitaker. For lots of reasons, Jackson throws himself into the case, hoping to finally pin down what happened.
They discover a “growing web of institutional corruption and lies,” according to the movie synopsis. Their investigation threatens to “uncover the conspiracy and crack the foundation of the L.A.P.D. and an entire city.”
Randall Sullivan wrote the book on which the film is based. Titled “LAbyrinth,” the book links the murders of West Coast rapper Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in Sept, 1996 and Biggie’s own death, allegedly in retaliation.
Shakur was also gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.
Death Row Records head Suge Knight has long been suspected of playing a role in the murders, and an ex-LAPD cop is suspected of being the shooter.
Brad Furman directs from a scrip written by Christian Contreras.
Ironically, Biggie’s rap “You’re Nobody (Til Somebody Kills You)” is the trailer’s soundtrack.
City of Lies opens in theaters on Sept. 7. Check out the trailer below.