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Are Andrew Dominik & Casey Affleck Teaming For An Adaptation Of George V. Higgins 'Cogan's Trade'?

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist November 2, 2010 at 12:49PM

Last month, Casey Affleck threw a spanner in the works revealing he was set to reteam early next year with his "Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" director Andrew Dominik on an adaptation of a unspecified Boston-set crime novel.
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Last month, Casey Affleck threw a spanner in the works revealing he was set to reteam early next year with his "Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford" director Andrew Dominik on an adaptation of a unspecified Boston-set crime novel.

"It's a novel that was set in Boston that's not going to be set in Boston unfortunately," Affleck noted at the time. "But it's a novel that was set in Boston, it's a great novel and he's got a great take on it. There's a lot of good people in it, it's going to be a great movie." Unfortunately, the actor revealed no further details after that, leaving fans to ponder a) what the status was on Dominik's gestating Marilyn Monroe quasi-biopic, "Blonde," with Naomi Watts attached -- which was later revealed to still be happening -- and b) what the hell this mysterious novel they were adapting was?

Little has been heard of the project since but a Playlist reader tipped us that "Cogan's Trade" was the novel in question (thanks Yemsal!). We did some digging and while news is scarce one particular publishing website did make mention of Dominik optioning the Higgins novel on November 1st. The report on that site was unfortunately and annoyingly placed behind a paywall but here's the screenshot of what Google could conjure up.

Described by Amazon as a crime novel with "crackling dialogue, mordant humor, and unremitting tension [which] drives the suspenseful stakes of the game higher in Boston's precarious underworld of small-time mobsters, crooked lawyers, political gofers," it certainly seems like this is the material in question. The story follows Cogan, a mob enforcer, who's called in to set things right after a high stakes card game under Mob protection is robbed. It sounds like some meaty fare but would an adaptation looking to shoot in January really be optioning the novel in early November?

It could be. Dominik is a writer who has the tendency to adapt novels on spec -- he did so with Joyce Carol Oates' Monroe quasi-biography -- so it wouldn't surprise us if he has already adapted Higgins' novel and just now needs to acquire rights to begin production on an adaptation. With a further quote telling us that "Expertly, with a ruthless businessman’s efficiency, a shrewd sense of other people’s weaknesses, and a style as cold as his stare, Cogan moves with reliable precision to restore the status quo as ill-conceived capers and double-dealing shenanigans erupt into high-voltage violence," and with the novel released in 1974, (the story presumably set in the same era) there is however no word yet if Dominik will retain the period setting or update it.

Could the January start date still be in the works? In a recent interview, Naomi Watts made no mention of her own Dominik collaboration facing any rescheduling and furthermore, Affleck is set to begin production on Alex Holdrige's Black-listed romantic comedy "The F Word" which, last we heard, was testing the likes of Rose Byrne, Rebecca Hall, Deborah Ann Woll and Mary Elizabeth Winstead for the lead female role; an update on Deadline confirmed the project was still on track, though no shooting dates seem firmed up just yet.

At any rate, it seems Dominik is gearing up to at least shoot something next year, whether it be the adaptation of Oates' "Blonde" or Higgins' "Cogan's Trade" and is most likely waiting to see where the pieces fall in place. Whichever one does come through first -- we don't care which; beggars can't be choosers -- we're definitely looking forward to it.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Andrew Dominik, Cogan's Trade, Casey Affleck


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