With ‘The Little Things,’ John Lee Hancock Wrote a Script So Dark Even He Wasn’t Ready to Direct It

If “The Little Things” seems like a movie from another time, it is.

John Lee Hancock wrote the script 28 years ago, back when he wrote the Kevin Costner vehicle “A Perfect World” for director Clint Eastwood.

Steven Spielberg was interested, but found the drama about the fight to find an L.A.

serial killer too noir.

Eastwood considered it, then Warren Beatty.

Then Danny DeVito.“I put in a drawer, and didn’t think about it,” said Hancock, who went on to direct “The Rookie,” “The Alamo,” and “The Blind Side.” “But every couple years, Johnson called.”“The Little Things” seems commercial enough: Set in the 1990s, it’s a thriller about grizzled ex-LAPD detective Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) who goes into exile after an unsolved serial killer case goes terribly wrong.

When he visits LA and reconnects with his old department, he meets hotshot detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek

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