Thanks to people like Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood and Lawrence Kasdan, I'm a huge fan of the Western genre. (Yes, Lawrence Kasdan. What of it? Silverado rocks!) So when I read that Warner Bros. was bankrolling a Western with Brad Pitt as Jesse James and Casey Affleck as the man who (finally) put Jesse in a pine box, I was more than a little intrigued. Then I learned that Andrew Dominik (Chopper) would be directing, that Ridley Scott (one of my favorites) was producing, and that the supporting cast would include Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel and Ted Levine. I was officially psyched for this movie.

Unfortunately that was about two years ago. So where the heck is the movie already? Its release date has been pushed around more violently than a Big Mac at a vegan rally, but what gives? It's got BRAD PITT in it, right? How tough is it to release a Brad Pitt movie these days? Well, according to The L.A. Times, the flick's been met with some pretty unfriendly test screening audiences. Reports also indicate that director Dominik has his preferred cut, but Pitt and Scott also have a version that they like. One of the cuts apparently runs over three hours long; WB wants something more Clint Eastwood-y, whereas Mr. Dominik seems to be shooting for something a bit more Terrence Malick-ish. Good thing they have three-time Oscar winner Michael Kahn helping out in the editing room.

Seems to be a prickly issue all around, but the thing only cost about $30 million, which is probably about as low-budget a studio Western as you'll ever find these days. Based on the book by Ron Hansen, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is presently scheduled for release on September 21. And I bet they shorten the title too.
categories Cinematical