Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Andrew Dominik Talks The Anger Of 'Killing Them Softly', Downplays The "Mythical" Long Version of 'Jesse James'

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist November 27, 2012 at 12:30PM

When Australian director Andrew Dominik and ultra-handsome super-star Brad Pitt last teamed up, it was for "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," a brilliant, elliptical ode to the old west and one of the very best movies of the past decade. Five very long years later, the pair have reteamed for "Killing Them Softly," which opens this weekend and, as it turns out, is just as brilliant as their previous collaboration.
10
Andrew Dominik, Killing Them Softly

When Australian director Andrew Dominik and ultra-handsome super-star Brad Pitt last teamed up, it was for "The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford," a brilliant, elliptical ode to the old west and one of the very best movies of the past decade. Five very long years later, the pair have reteamed for "Killing Them Softly," which opens this weekend and, as it turns out, is just as brilliant as their previous collaboration. A scabrous, pitch-black crime saga about a gangland robbery gone very, very wrong (here's our original review from Cannes), aside from Pitt, the picture features an all-star cast which includes Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn ("The Dark Knight Rises"), Scoot McNairy ("Argo") and Sam Shepard.

We recently talked to the filmmaker about the movie's anger, the legendary "director's cut" of 'Jesse James,' working with Ridley and the late Tony Scott, hiring Brad Pitt via text, how the Maysles Brothers influenced 'Softly,' and why his latest film is slightly more "bubblegum" than the picture's he's made previously.

And thankfully, we hopefully won't have to wait five more years for his next film, the Marilyn Monroe picture, "Blonde" starring Naomi Watts. Dominik tells us he aims to shoot it next year, it's going to be Polanski-esque, and describes it as a "emotional, nightmare fairy tale." We can't wait. For more Dominik, check out our earlier, in-depth interview with the director from Cannes in May.

People describe this as an "angry" movie. Is that how you see it?
Yeah. I felt angry at the time of conceiving it.

What were you angry about?
About how the whole world revolves around the dollar. It's easy to feel when you're in Hollywood. Especially when your last movie didn't make a nickel.

"Look, [Brad Pitt's and my] relationship was intense, but everyone's intentions were fantastic with 'Jesse James.' It could get testy between us all but we all really liked each other."
We'll get to that. There was talk that you had cut a fairly significant portion of "Killing Me Softly" right before it premiered at Cannes…
I cut about seven minutes out of it, based on a test screening. I think most of those seven minutes were good cuts. There was one that I think, 'Well maybe I shouldn't have cut that.' But you get to the point where it all gets a bit murky. Nothing that I regret, really.

Do you plan on reinstating that stuff?
No. It's gone forever. It'll appear on the DVD maybe.

You've worked with Pitt twice now. How did he come to this one and were you at all surprised given the long, arduous process of getting 'Jesse James' to the screen?
Look, our relationship was intense, but everyone's intentions were fantastic with 'Jesse James.' It could get testy between us all but we all really liked each other. And we always had to deal with Warner Bros.' disappointment with the film, which tended to bond us. We kind of came out of it as friends with a great respect for each other. That didn't necessarily mean that Brad wanted to get involved in anything that I was doing. But this one resonated with him, for some reason. How he got involved was I had pitched this story to some financiers and they really liked it and I realized I could actually make this thing happen. And I sent Brad the book and I hadn't heard anything from him because he was knee-deep in 'Moneyball.' I was trying to get myself an actor attached over the weekend so I sent him a text to make sure he wasn't interested and it turned out he was. So we exchanged a series of texts about what the deal would be, how many weeks he'd be needed, and from that point forward he was on. This was before there was even a screenplay. That's how it happened.

Killing Them Softly
Did it surprise you at all that a movie star of his wattage was willing to sign on to a project this cutting?
Yeah, I was surprised at the time because I just thought,'He doesn't have the head space for this.' And I didn't know if it was the kind of thing he wanted to do. I remember at the time he was talking about the kind of characters he was looking to play and Jackie was kind of the complete opposite, since Jackie is just a prick, really. But that was the attraction for Brad.

How did you get Sam Shepherd to come in and do that one scene?
Well we got along really well on 'Jesse James' and we keep in touch. About once a year I'll get a phone call from Sam or I give him a call and I needed somebody because [his character] Dylan is someone who is talked about all through the picture and you're going to see him this one time. So I wanted to get somebody recognizable to do a cameo. And that's how I presented it to Sam. I think he was in New Orleans at the time so he just drove over and did a day's work as a favor, basically.

This article is related to: Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik, Brad Pitt, Features, Interviews, Interview


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates