After you see the new film, Zodiac, you might be asking yourself, 'Did some of that stuff really happen? Well, yes, it pretty much did go down like it's portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. in the David Fincher film.
We got to talk to the real guys who were a part of this horrific time in the San Francisco area in the late 60's and early 70's, including Robert Graysmith (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), a former San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist. Robert became so obsessed with the case, his marriage failed; later on, he wrote two books about the events and his search.
From numerous sources and facts, Arthur Leigh Allen was the number one suspect who most people assumed it was. Inspector Dave Toschi and Graysmith both are certain it's him; "We got it down to about three people," noted Robert. "But he's in such close proximity to all these people, he was a suspect in the first murder, a suspect in the second, and then when he's already a suspect, he writes a letter saying he was at the lake an hour before the stabbing. There are so many things - they went into his basement and found the bombs; after a while, there was just no one else."
We also had the chance to speak with some of the actual cops who were investigating the Zodiac killer. Dave Collins, George Bawart, and Ken Narlow were three different police officers who were working the Zodiac case back in the 60's and 70's. Now retired, they were on hand to show us maps and pictures of the actual events.
I was so fascinated by their descriptions and depictions of their times; it was amazing listening to them. Hearing them describe every detail of the days of the murders, the investigations, and the search for who really killed those people - it was like it happened yesterday. They recalled things that happened nearly 35 years ago, and remembered everything.
The maps and pictures were very accurate to what was shown in the film; it was obvious how much Fincher researched into this story. "I've never seen anything like it," recalled Graysmith.
As far as regrets from Robert, not so much. "It affected my life in a bad way because I got divorced; but I have the best kids - one son is the accountant for the San Francisco Giants, the other son works at DreamWorks and Sony, he works on animated films with five different directors there. My daughter works at Fox, she works on The Simpsons and does packaging for Family Guy. They are such a constant joy. But as far as the personal relationship, Zodiac was number one; that just took over.
To close, Graysmith told us, "I thought I could make a difference; my cartoons were supposed to make a difference, my books were going to make a difference, and someone out there is going to solve this thing."
You can see if you can solve the case of Zodiac; it's in theaters now, rated R.