After a few years in the wilderness after the masterpiece “The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford” underperformed at the box office, Andrew Dominik‘s third film — initially titled “Cogan’s Trade” after the George V. Higgins book on which it’s based, and later retitled “Killing Them Softly” — came together quite quickly. The first hints emerged in September 2010, and within a few months it had a star and producer in Brad Pitt, a distributor courtesy of The Weinstein Company, and rolled in front of cameras in early 2011.
But with the film having premiered at Cannes this week (read our review here), we began to wonder what happened to “Blonde,” Dominik’s Naomi Watts-starring adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates‘ novel about Marilyn Monroe. That film was long-mooted to be his next project after ‘Jesse James,’ and was originally set to get underway in January 2011 before “Killing Them Softly” came along. Was it still a going concern? Or had last year’s “My Week With Marilyn” put paid to Monroe-themed pictures for a while?
Well, our man on the ground Aaron Hillis spoke to Dominik at Cannes this week, and the Australian helmer said he’s actively working toward “Blond” being his follow-up to “Killing Them Softly.” “I really want to do [‘Blonde’],” he said. “It’s not something I can talk about, ’cause we’re trying to work some stuff out, but hopefully that’s going to be the next picture.” And when we asked about possible Cormac McCarthy adaptation “Cities of the Plain,” Dominik replied that the Monroe biopic has the advantage: “I like that one, but my heart belongs to Marilyn. I’d like to start shooting it next year, that’s what I’d like to do. It’s a really sprawling, emotional nightmare fairy-tale type movie, and I really want to do it real bad… It’s a story about an abandoned orphan who gets lost in the woods.”
It sounds like a fascinating take, and certainly far preferable to the glorified TV movie that was “My Week With Marilyn.” Clearly some pieces of the puzzle need to fall into place before it’s confirmed (likely financing or rights issues), but here’s hoping those things can get sorted out soon. “Killing Them Softly” hits theaters on September 21st.