One of the most troubled films of recent years has got to have been Kiwi filmmaker Andrew Dominik’s $30 million biopic western “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” starring Brad Pitt.
Adapted from the novel by Ron Hansen, the film follows the last heist committed by James (Pitt), and Ford’s (Casey Affleck) devoted and then vengeful relationship with the legendary outlaw.
Filmed almost two years ago, the project has seen many behind-the-scenes struggles going on in its post-production phase that has caused numerous delays in the film’s planned release.
Now an article in The Los Angeles Times goes into detail about some of the production problems and confirms that at one point two versions existed – one by Director Dominik and another by Producer/Actor Pitt.
A version with a runtime of over three hours also existed at one early point, whilst the likes of Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) and editor Michael Kahn (“Saving Private Ryan”) involved in consulting or even overseeing new cuts of the film.
So what in the hell is going on? Well it seems Dominik wanted to do a dark introspective tale of infamy whilst the studio was after a slightly more action-oriented tale along Clint Eastwood lines. Various versions of the film were assembled and tested, and despite great notices for the performances, the results have been weak.
The article also goes on to reveal that around a half-dozen different cuts of this week’s Eric Bana/Drew Barrymore flick “Lucky You” were tested and failed to generate enthusiasm from audiences.
One version of ‘Jesse’, said to be “true to the source material and in keeping with the creative vision of its filmmakers,” is presently slated for a September 21st release.