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Exclusive Interview With Andrew Dominik On Killing Them Softly

With his latest film, Killing Them Softly, already receiving generally positive reviews from its premiere at Cannes as well as its early release overseas, director Andrew Dominik is out doing the press rounds for the movie in order to drum up excitement for the November 30th release in North America.

We Got This Covered: Why is this film, and your last film (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) nearly devoid of women? Was that a conscious decision or something that just arose from the script, the story etc.?

Andrew Dominik: In this case, it was a conscious decision. Basically, one of the things that the film deals with is masculinity. You have a lot of men who are very confused about their relationships with women. And they talk about this all the time.

Killing Them Softly is a movie about men at work. We only see people in their working environments. But they’re really not interested in what they’re doing for a living. It’s just a f**king drag, the jobs they have to do. What they’re more interested in are the other things in their life, whether that be women or whatever.

I liked the idea that they were always talking about women but you never actually see one. I couldn’t quite get away with having no females in the film though. I wanted to make a movie with no women at all but there was no way to get around the hooker, I even shot that scene so that I could have her in it without showing her but in the end it was better to show her.

We Got This Covered: Speaking of Jesse James, there was a rumored 4 hour cut, will we ever see that?

Andrew Dominik: There was never a good 4 hour cut, that was just the assembly. There is a 3 hour cut that’s very good and I’d love to do something with it but the movie didn’t exactly set the world on fire so I don’t think Warner Bros. would make the release of a 3 hour cut a priority.

We Got This Covered: Was that upsetting for you, when the film failed to make an impact at the box office?

Andrew Dominik: Ya, I was disappointed. I loved that movie, it’s a great film. I wish more people had seen it when it came out.

We Got This Covered: How did you end up becoming attached to Killing Them Softly?

Andrew Dominik: I basically came up with a $15 million Brad Pitt movie and that is, as they say, an offer you can’t refuse.

We Got This Covered: Was Brad Pitt always your first choice for the film?

Andrew Dominik: Yes. I love Brad.

We Got This Covered: How did you cast everyone else?

Andrew Dominik: Well, there was an idea to typecast the film, in keeping it with a studio picture of the 40’s where you get character types. So getting guys like Ray [Liotta], and James [Gandolfini], you feel like you know who these people are and what they’re going to do. But they’re also playing against expectations a little bit. You know, you see Jim [Gandolfini] and you expect him to be the guy who’s going to solve the situation as opposed to being what he ends up being in the film.

We Got This Covered: Both films (Jesse James and Killing Them Softly) are focused on crime and criminals, what draws you to that genre?

Andrew Dominik: I like extreme people, I’m not really interested in average people. I like people who are flawed. But these are also the easiest films for me to make. Well, Jesse James, for me, was a true labour of love but Killing Them Softly was a movie that I could make. The next film I have is about Marilyn Monroe, so it’s all about one woman.

We Got This Covered: Speaking of the Marilyn Monroe film, titled Blonde, can you tell us anything more about it?

Andrew Dominik: Well I hope to shoot it next year. Naomi Watts is attached at the moment.

We Got This Covered: Is she confirmed?

Andrew Dominik: No, just attached. It’s probably best not to talk about it though.

We Got This Covered: Any other upcoming projects aside from Blonde?

Andrew Dominik: You mean one isn’t enough for you? How many do you want? [laughs] I’ve written a number of screenplays but I’m a one thing at a time type guy and Blonde is what I want to do.

That concludes our interview but we’d like to thank Andrew very much for talking with us. Be sure to check out Killing Them Softly, in theatres next Friday.

About the author

Matt Joseph

Matt Joseph is the co-founder, owner and Editor in Chief of We Got This Covered. He currently attends the University of Western Ontario and is studying at the Richard Ivey School of Business. He works on We Got This Covered in his spare time and enjoys writing for the site.