As a fan of the 2007 Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (it's likely my favorite film of the last decade), so I am very excited to hear the news that the two main stars of that film may re-team with the writer/director for a new project.
Deadline is reporting that Brad Pitt is now in negotiations to star in the lead role and produce an adaptation of Cogan's Trade, a celebrated 1974 comedic crime novel by author George V. Higgins. Jesse James director, Andrew Dominik, has written the script for the adaptation and will also direct the film, keeping with the pattern of his career thus far.
The third piece of the puzzle is Casey Affleck who is, "rumored as a possible participant." Affleck sort of let the cat out of the bag last month when he mentioned he was re-teaming with Dominik for an unnamed crime adaptation set in Boston. It wasn't known which book Affleck was referring to until rumors surfaced over at The Playlist of it being Cogan's Trade and now Deadline appears to confirm his attachment.
Here's the description of Cogan's Trade from Amazon:
"Crackling dialogue, mordant humor, and unremitting tension drive the suspenseful stakes of the game higher in Boston’s precarious underworld of small-time mobsters, crooked lawyers, and political gofers as George V. Higgins, the writer who boiled crime fiction harder, tracks Jackie Cogan’s career in a gangland version of law and order. For Cogan is an enforcer; and when the Mob’s rules get broken, he gets hired to ply his trade—murder.
In the gritty, tough-talking pages of Higgins’s 1974 national best-seller, Cogan is called in when a high-stake card game under the protection of the Mob is heisted. 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."
Cogan's Trade is set to be produced by Pitt along with Dede Gardner through their Plan B production company. Also producing is Chockstone's Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz. The film has been set up independently by Inferno Entertainment which will handle finances and international sales of the film.
For the time being, Affleck's attachment to Cogan's Trade is more unsure than Pitt and Dominik's since he's only mentioned as a "possible participant" and is soon set to start shooting the dark comedy The F-Word; Pitt is officially in talks and Dominik has already committed by writing the script. I'd be ecstatic to see the three of them collaborate again since The Assassination of Jesse James was such a startling success, in my opinion.
Along with Cogan's Trade Pitt has another possible film on his slate entitled The Gray Man, an adaptation of the Mark Greaney novel about an ex-CIA operative-turned-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." It's unclear which film Pitt will choose to make first.
Even though he's only directed two movies - Chopper and Jesse James - Dominik is evidently turning heads. He's been linked to writing and possibly directing a remake of the French thriller Tell No One and has his biopic of Marilyn Monroe starring Naomi Watts left to film. He's a busy man, just like Pitt and Affleck, so it's not clear when we might see Cogan's Trade, but perhaps the trio's previous collaboration might convince them to get moving on this film first.
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