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Crime and punishment

Andrew Dominik talks about the making of his Cannes competition film Killing Them Softly starring Brad Pitt.

Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt wanted to work together again after The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. The opportunity arose when the New Zealander settled down in front of the TV one night to watch 1973 crime drama The Friends Of Eddie Coyle starring Robert Mitchum.

“It was based on a book by George Higgins,” says Dominik. “I ordered all his books and Cogan’s Trade was the third to arrive.” He updated the 1974 novel to reflect the events of the 2008 financial crisis and the result is Killing Them Softly, which screens in Competition today.

Dominik approached Pitt to produce through his Plan B and the latter also took the role of Cogan. Inferno came on to handle international pre-sales and Megan Ellison is financing the project.

The story is straightforward. “Three dumb guys rob a [mob] card game and this causes all the games to shut down, so there’s a crisis in the economy. Brad is the
man who’s called in to find out what happened.”

The action takes place in New Orleans but could be anywhere. “I have always thought that crime films are about capitalism. You see US movies and they’re all about families, and you arrive [in the US] and you see that all people give a shit about is making a buck, so crime films are so honest.”

Cannes will be a delicious novelty. “I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never been. I just hope the movie goes down well because it comes out in September [through
The Weinstein Company] and that’s a long time to sit around if you’ve got a smelly film!”

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