By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 3, 2010 at 12:34PM
Casey Affleck, Javier Bardem, Sam Rockwell, Mark Ruffalo All Circling, Pitt Could Also Star In 'The Gray Man'
We're not going to lie, we're a little aroused right now. One of The Playlist's favorite films of recent years (and this writer's very favorite of the last decade), "The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford," saw Australian director Andrew Dominik come on leaps and bounds from his excellent debut "Chopper," and produce a lyrical, profound, beautifully-acted, eye-meltingly beautiful Western for the ages. Unfortunately, audiences stayed away from the nearly-three hour film in droves, and it's taken some time for Andrew Dominik to get another project going.
It was announced at Cannes that Dominik would, at some stage, direct Naomi Watts as Marilyn Monroe in an adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates' "Blonde," but we've been tracking another project for a little while, a crime film that Casey Affleck had been discussing on the press tour for "I'm Still Here," which would see the actor reteam with Dominik. Yesterday, we were tipped off by a reader that the project was an adaptation of George V. Higgins' crime novel "Cogan's Trade," and not long after, confirmation came in through the trades that Dominik would indeed be directing the project.
Not only that, but The Hollywood Reporter says that Dominik's 'Jesse James' star Brad Pitt is attached to the lead role, an enforcer in the Boston mob (although Affleck suggested that the setting had been moved for the film), tasked with finding the perpetrators of the robbery of a high-stakes card game. Surprisingly, Pitt hasn't done an honest-to-god crime picture since "The Mexican," and we're excited about seeing him take this one, particularly with Dominik at the helm.
But that's not all, as the trades suggest that a number of other actors are also circling the project. THR confirms that Affleck has been mentioned (although from his interviews, it seems like Affleck considers himself locked in to the project, saying he would be filming it in January, and that there were "a lot of good people in it.") And he's not wrong: fellow 'Jesse James' alum Sam Rockwell is also on the names of actors linked to the film, along with Mark Ruffalo and Javier Bardem.
We're pretty sure that you could put these five actors in a shot-for-shot remake of "Grown Ups" and it would still be terrific, but working with Dominik, on source material as promising as this? We're desperately scrambling around for some kind of time machine to speed the process along, as we're not sure we'll be able to wait a year or two to see this one. If it does get moving in the new year, it would presumably leapfrog "The Lost City of Z" and "World War Z," the two projects that were looking most likely to be next up for Pitt, who recently wrapped on Bennett Miller's "Moneyball."
Of course, with the film being shopped at the American Film Market at the moment, it's worth noting that not all the actors are necessarily signed officially, and we're sure it's more than possible that one or more will drop out before it starts filming. But the project seems to have full financing, from Inferno, who are also working on "The Killer Elite," with Clive Owen, and Joe Carnahan's "The Grey," so hopefully it'll be able to hit the January start date that Affleck was banking on, and we may even see it before the end of 2011 (although, with Dominik not the speediest cutter in the world, we'd say that Cannes 2012 would be more likely).
Interestingly, The Hollywood Reporter describes the film as a "comedic crime story," which suggests tonally it'll be closer to "Chopper" than 'Jesse James,' which is doubly intriguing. Say, we don't suppose anyone's seen a script lying around?... Oh, and rest assured, Naomi Watts said a few weeks back that "Blonde" is still a going concern, although its original January start date has clearly slipped.
Deadline also reports that Pitt is interested in New Regency's adaptation of the Mark Greaney novel "The Gray Man," and it's unclear which project could come first as the notoriously picky actor hasn't committed exactly to what's next. Based on a script by Adam Cozad (he penned "Moscow" the new Jack Ryan film starring Chris Pine), the pic is a drama centering on a "CIA operative-turned-hired-killer who is targeted for death by a team assigned to rescue him. A chase leads them across Europe and leads him to a daughter he didn't know he had." Sounds equally intriguing and apparently several name directors are circling it.