Moreover, police believed there could have been a third or fourth suspect involved. Police brought in special equipment to knock down doors, even a shed, to search the residential area around the bank. It took until nearly midnight before the police finally determined that the two gunmen acted alone.
Life rights and dramatic license
The movie does not portray that element of the day at all.
The film does attempt to show the LAPD in the best possible light. So despite the objections of some of those who were there that day, "44 Minutes" was screened at the Police Academy on Tuesday night. LAPD Chief William J. Bratton, along with the three SWAT members who served as technical advisors, discussed the movie at a reception held by FX. Bratton, who has said the LAPD's response to the shootout was exemplary, is a former police commissioner in New York City.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday June 07, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 37 words Type of Material: Correction
La Habra -- An article in the June 1 Sunday Calendar about FX's movie "44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shootout" incorrectly referred to La Habra as being located in Los Angeles County. It is in Orange County.
Madsen's robbery-homicide division detective is the film's main character, exchanging gunfire with the robbers and playing a key role in the day's events. In fact, robbery homicide had a much smaller role that day. But, again, the producers had secured the rights of a robbery homicide detective.
Another main character, played by Van Peebles, is a religious cop who arrests a young man for beating his mother. In the film, the young man is in the patrol car when the officers receive the bank robbery call. They take him to the bank and release him. It didn't happen. "There were so many things an officer wouldn't do," Haynes said. "A felony arrest is turned loose? No way."
The movie was shot in Los Angeles County, primarily in a parking lot in La Habra. This was another attempt, the film's producer said, to make the movie authentic. TV movies, particularly on cable channels, where budgets are even smaller than the broadcast networks, usually are shot in Canada as a cost-saving measure. But, Goldstein said, "it was a really important factor to us to do this movie in Los Angeles.... We wanted to be here."
Additionally, Goldstein said he and the other producers and the writer, Tim Metcalfe, did not just base their film on the life rights they obtained, but also on newspaper articles, reports from the LAPD and FBI, and television footage. Goldstein said he also had numerous conversations with officers before the script was completed.
Still, Goldstein readily acknowledged that dramatic license was necessary. "Sometimes you need to take the dramatic license to insert your character," Goldstein said.
Authenticity is in the eye of the beholder.
`44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shootout'
Who: Starring Michael Madsen, Ron Livingston and Mario Van Peebles. Directed by Yves Simoneau. Written by Tim Metcalfe. Executive produced by Gerald W. Abrams, Michael R. Goldstein and Robert Port.
When: 8 tonight
Rating: The network has rated the film TV-14LV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14, with advisories for coarse language and violence).
Beth Shuster was a member of The Times' team that covered the North Hollywood shootout.