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Bratton Cops to Indie Film Role

LAPD chief plays a politician in 'People I Know,' which opened at Sundance.

January 18, 2003|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton may not have lost his Boston accent, but he appears to be picking up Southern California customs just fine.

Three months into his tenure as head of the LAPD, Bratton appears in a movie that premiered Friday at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

Bratton makes a brief appearance in "People I Know," a Miramax film shot two years ago in New York City that stars Al Pacino and Kim Basinger.

The chief plays a tough and unforgiving politician in a role modeled on Rudolph Giuliani, with whom Bratton famously bumped heads when he was top cop in New York City and Giuliani was mayor.

"It's an inside joke for New Yorkers that the rest of the country might not get," Bratton said of the bit part that was filmed more than a year before he came to Los Angeles.

Directed by Daniel Algrant, the film involves a publicist representing a famous actor considering a run for the U.S. Senate who becomes embroiled in a scandal straddling the worlds of celebrity and politics.

The movie, due in theaters in April, was delayed while filmmakers re-edited scenes that took place at the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Bratton isn't the first chief to strut his stuff on screen.

Daryl F. Gates, who led the LAPD from 1978 to 1992, played himself several times in the TV series "Hunter" and in the 1995 made-for-television movie "Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam."

More recently, Bernard C. Parks, chief from 1997 to 2002, had a guest spot on the sitcom "Girlfriends," also playing himself.

Bratton said Friday that he is happy his scene didn't end up on the cutting room floor and joked about "big" residuals from his spot.

His wife, lawyer and Court TV anchor Rikki Klieman, said she is considering an acting career once she gets settled in Los Angeles.

So has the acting bug bitten the chief?

"I would never want to be an actor, because they spend most of their time just hanging around," Bratton said.

"It's like being a cop at court."

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