The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford


Character: Jesse James
Release Date: 21 September 2007 (Limited)
Directed By: Andrew Dominik
Written By: Andrew Dominik, Ron Hansen
Genre: Biography/Crime/Drama
Tagline: –
MPAA Rating: –
Produced by: Warner Bros. Pictures, Jesse Films Inc., Scott Free Productions, Plan B Entertainment, Alberta Film Entertainment, Virtual Studios
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)
Filming Dates: 29 August 2005 – 10 December 2005

Brad Pitt…Jesse James
Mary-Louise Parker…Zee James
Brooklynn Proulx…Mary James
Dustin Bollinger…Tim James
Casey Affleck…Robert Ford
Sam Rockwell…Charley Ford
Jeremy Renner…Wood Hite
Sam Shepard…Frank James

Filming Locations:
Alberta, Canada
Burton Cummings Theatre, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Hidden Hills, California, USA
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck star in this character-driven account of the last days of the fabled former Confederate outlaw. Highly regarded as a charismatic, spiritual, larger-than-life bad man, Jesse James bloody exploits captured the fascination and admiration of a nation transfixed with its hunger for antiheroes. Robert Ford was a young impressionable torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy of his criminally rampaging idol. He was “the coward” who coveted Jesse’s legend and sought to subsume his notoriety. Andrew Dominick directs the powerfully objective story of their interweaving paths told in a tapestry of Terrence Malick-esque cinematography amidst the backdrop of a country still convalescing from the wounds of a war that romanticized the train and bank robbing rebel.

Trivia & Facts:
When casting for the role of Robert Ford it came down to Casey Affleck and Shia LaBeouf. Affleck eventually got the role, because LaBeouf was felt to be too young.

Garret Dillahunt was originally set to play Casey Affleck’s brother, due to their striking resemblance, but due to a TV commitment, Dillahunt was given a smaller role and Sam Rockwell replaced his original part.

From the gallery

Jesse James: Don’t tell me what I can and can not do, Ed.

Jesse James: Do you want to be like me? Or do you want to BE me?

Jesse James: Go back to bed.
Robert Ford: I got to use the privy.
Jesse James: You think you do, but you don’t.

Jesse James: Look at my red hands and my mean face… and I wonder ’bout that man that’s gone so wrong.

Jesse James: [Bob walks in on Jesse in the bath] Go away.
Robert Ford: Used to be nobody could sneak up on Jesse James.
Jesse James: Now you think otherwise?
Robert Ford: I ain’t never seen you without your guns, neither.
[Jesse removes a towel, revealing his gun]
Jesse James: [pause] Can’t figure it out: do you want to be like me or do you want to BE me?
Robert Ford: [defeated] I’m just making fun is all.

Jesse James: Give me some more conversations, Bob.
Charley Ford: I got one. This one’s about as crackerjack.
Jesse James: Let Bob tell it.
Robert Ford: I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
Charley Ford: About how much you and Jesse have in common.
Jesse James: Go on, Bob.
Charley Ford: Tell a story.
Robert Ford: Nope. Nope.
Charley Ford: Entertain Jesse. He’s here.
Robert Ford: Well, if you’ll pardon my saying so, I guess it is interesting, the many ways you and I overlap and whatnot. You begin with our Daddies. Your daddy was a pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church; my daddy was a pastor of a church at Excelsior Springs. Um. You’re the youngest of the three James boys; I’m the youngest of the five Ford boys. Between Charley and me, is another brother, Wilbur here, with six letters in his name; between Frank and you was a brother, Robert, also with six letters. Robert is my Christian name. You have blue eyes; I have blue eyes. You’re five feet eight inches tall. I’m five feet eight inches tall. Oh me, I must’ve had a list as long as your nightshirt when I was twelve, but I’ve lost some curiosities over the years.
Jesse James: [stares at Bob for a long time, smiles] Ain’t he something?

Jesse James: [last words] Don’t that picture look dusty?

Jesse James: You ever consider suicide?
Charley Ford: Can’t say that I have. There was always something else I wanted to do. Or my predicaments changed or I saw my hardships from a different slant; you know all what can happen. It never seemed respectable.
Jesse James: I’ll tell you one thing that’s certain; you won’t fight dying once you’ve peeked over to the other side; you’ll no more want to go back to your body than you’d want to spoon up your own puke.
Charley Ford: [long pause Since we’re looking to rob banks, I was wondering if I could go as far as to recommend we add another feller to the gang and sort of see if we couldn’t come out of our next job alive. Bob wanted to know could he ride with us next time we took on a savings bank or a-
[Jesse fires his gun into a frozen lake]
Charley Ford: A savings bank or-
[Jesse fires again]
Charley Ford: A railroad.
[Jesse fires once more]
Charley Ford: Bob isn’t much more than a boy to most appearances, but there’s about two tons of sand in him and he’ll stand with his shooter when that’s what’s called for. And he’s smart too-he’s about as intricate as they come.
Jesse James: You’re forgetting that I’ve already met the kid.
Charley Ford: He surely thinks highly of you.
Jesse James: All American thinks highly of me.
Charley Ford: Still. It’s not like you’ve got two million names you can snatch out of a sock whenever you need a third man.
Jesse James: I can see you’re trying to wear me down on this.
Charley Ford: [smiles] That was my main intention.

Jesse James: [to Bob] You’re gonna break a lot of hearts.

Jesse James: You know I’m real comfortable with your brother. Hell, he’s ugly as sin and he smells like a skunk and he’s so ignorant he couldn’t drive nails in the snow, but he’s sort of easy to be around. I can’t say the same for you, Bob.
Robert Ford: I’m sorry to hear you say that.
Jesse James: [pause] You know how it is when you’re with your girlfriend and the moon is out and you know she wants to be kissed even though she never said so?
Robert Ford: Yeah.
Jesse James: You’re giving me signs that grieve my soul and make me wonder if maybe your mind’s been changed about me.

Robert Ford: What do you want me to do? Swear my good faith on the Bible?

Jesse James: [motioning to Bob] Sit over here closer, Kid.
[begins massaging Bob’s neck]
Jesse James: Charley, you’ll stay with the animals. Me and The Kid will walk into the bank just before noon. Bob will move the cashier away from the shotgun that’s under the counter and I’ll creep up behind that cashier and cock his chin back like so…
[snaps Bob’s head back, sticks a knife to his throat]
Jesse James: I’ll say ‘How come an off-scouring of creation like you is still sucking air when so many of mine are in coffins?’ I’ll say ‘How’d you reach your twentieth birthday without leaking out all over your clothes?’ And if I don’t like his attitude, I’ll slit that phildoodle so deep he’ll flop on the floor like a fish.
[Jesse let’s Bob go, begins to laugh hysterically]
Jesse James: My God, what just happened? I could hear your gears grinding- rrr,rrr,rrr-and your little motor wondering, ‘My Gosh, what’s next, what’s happening to me?’ You were precious to behold, Bob. You were white as spit in a cotton field!

Jesse James: Yeah, just ain’t no peace with old Jesse around. You ought to pity my poor

Jesse James: Did I ever mention that scalawag George Shepherd? George was one of Quantrill’s lieutenants and he gave me a story like Bob’s, is why I thought of him, giving me everything we had in common and so on, just so he could join the gang. How could I know he had a grudge against me and was lying to get on my good side? I said ‘Come aboard, George. Glad to have ya,’. George thought he was smart. ‘Cept he wasn’t. He rode into camp one morning and about twenty guns opened up on him.

Jesse James: But he only had one eye- and you need two eyes to get Jesse.
Robert Ford: You oughn’t think of me like you do George Shepherd.
Jesse James: You brought him to mind.
Robert Ford: It’s not very flattering.
Jesse James: [ignoring him] Sure is good eating, Martha.
Martha Bolton: Well, I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
Robert Ford: How come George had a grudge against you?
Jesse James: Hmm?
Robert Ford: I said “How come George had a grudge against you?”
Jesse James: Oh. George asked me to protect this nephew of his during the war and it so happens the kid had five thousand dollars on him. The kid winds up killed, and all the money swiped from him, and when George was in prison someone whispers to him it was Jesse James slit the boy’s throat.
Charley Ford: Just mean gossip, was it?
Jesse James: Bob’s the expert; let’s put it to him.
[Bob stands up abruptly, pouting]

Jesse James: Oh dear, I’ve made him cranky.
Robert Ford: I’m not cranky. I’ve been through this before, is all. Once people get around to making fun of me, they just don’t ever let up.

Robert Ford: I can’t believe I woke up this morning wondering if my Daddy would loan me his overcoat, and here it is just past midnight and I’ve already robbed a railroad train and I’m sitting in a rocking chair chatting with none other than Jesse James.
Jesse James: Yeah, it’s a wonderful world.
Robert Ford: [reaches into his pocket and removes a newspaper clipping] Oh, what’s this? I was real agitated this morning, wondering if I’d be able to tell you and Frank apart. So I had the clipping that described you both. You want me to read it?
Jesse James: Go on.
Robert Ford: Well, I gotta find… here. ‘Jesse James, the youngest, has a face as smooth and innocent as a schoolgirl. The blue eyes, very clear and penetrating, are never at rest. His form is tall and graceful and capable of great endurance and great effort. Jesse is lighthearted, reckless, and devil-may-care. There is always a smile on his lips-‘
Jesse James: All right, all right.
Robert Ford: Well, yeah. Then it’s ‘Frank, Frank, Frank… ‘ You know what I’ve got right next to my bed? The Train Robbers, or a story of the James Boys, by R.W. Stevens. Many’s the night I’ve stayed up with my mouth opens and my eyes open, reading about your escapades in the Wide Awake Library.
Jesse James: They’re all lies, you know.
Robert Ford: ‘Course they are.

Jesse James: [indicating Frank] My brother and me are hardly on speaking terms these days.
Robert Ford: I wasn’t going to mention it.
Jesse James: [pulls two snakes out of a box, startling Bob] You scared?
Robert Ford: Just surprised a little.
Jesse James: They aren’t as succulent as I like and they’re the devil to clean but if a man skins them and fries them in garlic and oil-mercy, thems good eating.
Robert Ford: Well, I’ve never been that hungry.
Jesse James: I give them names.
Robert Ford: Such as?
Jesse James: Such as enemies. I give them the names of enemies.
[cuts their heads off with a knife]

Jesse James: Well, Charley, did you hurt your leg?
Charley Ford: Yeah, I slipped… I slipped off the roof and I smacked down into a snow bank, like a ton of stupidness. One second I’m screamin’, “Woah Nelly!”, Next second, poof, I’m neck-deep in snow!
Jesse James: Well, whatever possessed you to climb a roof in December?
Charley Ford: There was a k – a kite. What am I saying? There was a cat, a cat! It was on the roof and I went after him. It was a tomcat yowling and what all, and I slipped.
Jesse James: I thought maybe your club foot was gaining on you!

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