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Brad Pitt has many critically and commercially successful movies to his name. But not all of the actor’s films are received fondly.

One of Pitt’s favorite movies was once received so poorly that it ended up costing its director years of work.

Brad Pitt was once cast in ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’

Brad Pitt smirking at the International Venice Film Festival.
Brad Pitt | Marilla Sicilia/Getty Images

Audiences saw Oscar-winner Brad Pitt star in the 2007 project The Assassination of Jesse James directed by Andrew Dominik. The movie was an adaptation of a book by Ron Hansen, which was a historical novel exploring the life of the infamous robber.

Dominik decided to adapt the project after a friend let him borrow the novel to read. He’d later convince Pitt to star in the feature, who he’d already been conversing with for quite some time about doing a film together. Jesse James also allowed the filmmaker to cast a big-named actor for the movie, something he usually didn’t do for his films.

“So part of the attraction with Jesse James was to cast a movie star and it wouldn’t be miscasting, and the celebrity would work for the part rather than against it. And the book is just beautiful. I took to it to Brad and he said he wanted to do it and that was it, done deal,” Dominik once told First Showing.

Brad Pitt once shared Andrew Dominik couldn’t find work after ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’ didn’t meet expectations

Dominik opened up that he had a few problems getting the project off the ground. If it wasn’t for Pitt, the movie might not have even been made in the first place.

“I went and tried to pitch it at a studio and it was like watching people’s eyes glaze over and I realized there was no way anyone was going to pay me to write a screenplay unless I had a movie star,” Dominik recalled.

But even with Pitt’s star-power, the film didn’t do too well. Although it received positive reviews, it didn’t deliver at the box-office. The-Numbers reported that it made just $15 million on a budget of $30 million.

Despite the film’s performance, the Fight Club star has spoken highly of the movie. Even when it cost its director a good chunk of his career.

The Assassination of Jesse James remains one of my favorite films that I’ve done. You know, it’s still labeled a loser. In fact, Dominik couldn’t get a job for several years afterward because it got labeled that way after the opening weekend. But then we always knew, ‘That one’s a fine-wine film. It’s gonna age well,'” Pitt once said on Interview Magazine.

Brad Pitt noticed ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’ mirrored celebrity tabloid culture in the 2000s


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As many know, Pitt was once the subject of many tabloids and scandals thanks to his relationship with Angelina Jolie. In a resurfaced interview with Hollywood, the actor meditated on the film’s possible commentary on tabloid culture. There were a lot of similarities to how the media treated popular figures in his and Jesse James’ time.

“Getting into the story I was surprised to see how much a tabloid quotient of media was alive and well at that time. It was still operated by sensationalism and complete fabrication beyond the facts. It’s curious to see that not much had changed besides quantity,” Pitt said.