The Weinstein Company has acquired the domestic distribution rights to Cogan’s Trade for a wide release in early 2012 — a smart move given what we know about the project. Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James) will direct and adapt the sharp George V. Higgins crime novel. Brad Pitt and Sam Rockwell are confirmed to star, and an earlier report suggested Casey Affleck, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Bill Murray, Mark Ruffalo, and Zoe Saldana could join the ensemble.
The latest update lists Affleck’s involvement in a more official capacity and adds James Gandolfini’s name to the list of possible ensemblers. More after the break:
Deadline admits it’s “not certain,” but implies Gandolfini and the filmmakers are talking about a role. Likewise, Affleck seems to have graduated from the rumored list to someone whom Pitt and Rockwell “will star with.”
Pitt will play the title character, professional enforcer Jackie Cogan. Here’s the synopsis for the Higgins novel:
[Cogan's Trade] 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. [Amazon]
Harvey Weinstein reportedly won a minor bidding war with a pledge of $20 million for prints and advertising. The Weinstein Company is planning a wide release in early the first quarter of 2012. It’s great to hear that Dominik will get some real muscle behind this film. Despite critical acclaim and the Brad Pitt factor, Jesse James disappointed at the box office. Cogan’s Trade is a second chance for this promising voice, and I’m excited to see what he’ll do with it.
Cogan’s Trade is scheduled to start production on February 28th in New Orleans. I trust we’ll receive an official cast list before then.