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Andrew Dominik & Casey Affleck reteam for crime thriller

Another top-tier director dipping into gritty genre entertainment. Life is sweet. Film School Rejects says Andrew Dominik is putting his Marilyn project on hold to focus first on a crime thriller. Set to begin filming in January, the director of The Assassination of Jesse James is teaming up once again with Casey Affleck whose cagey offhand announcement makes it all the more intriguing:

When questioned specifically about what Dominik and he were working on, he only revealed that it’s an adaptation of a crime novel that is set in Boston, “I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it, but it’s a Boston-based crime… It’s based on a novel set in Boston, but it’s not going to be set in Boston, unfortunately.”

Boston has no shortage of first-class crime writers, from Robert B Parker to current cross-over superstar Dennis Lehane. Likewise Boston’s mob roots run deep, providing the seedy backdrop for numerous knockout crime films, from The Friends of Eddie Coyle to The Departed and now The Town. Affleck hints that the movie is based on a novel set in Boston but says the film takes place somewhere else. Hard to imagine removing the best of Southie crime fiction from its environs, though I can think of two Boston authors whose books are begging to be put on film. These are wild guesses out of thin air, but I’d love to think the new Andrew Dominik’s new film might be inspired by Dave Zeltserman’s Small Crimes.

Not only does the novel have clean, simple prose, ample suspense and twists, and a fast-paced plot; it also offers brilliant psychological insight into tortured souls, and on a deeper level, it is a moralistic tale about how small crimes beget larger ones.

Author Richard Marinick is another possibility. His first novel Boyos has the Boston mob scene woven too inextricably into its fabric to be extracted, but I can see In for a Pound being right up Dominik’s ally:

Marinick’s taut, hard-hitting second novel is the literary equivalent of getting assaulted by a gang of psychotic street thugs. Delray McCauley, a former state trooper, has just finished a three-year prison stint after being wrongly convicted of beating up an undercover DEA agent. Now working as a bartender in the area where he was born and raised, McCauley is equally hated by his former law enforcement comrades and by the local crime network. So when he decides to help out an old friend, he unwittingly makes himself the prime target for a chilling assemblage of sadistic hit men and cop-hating gangsters.

What makes Marinick’s writing ring true is that the author was himself a former Massachusetts state trooper who ran afoul and did a 10-year stint in prison for bank robbery. In fact sources say his real-life experience was part of the basis for DiCaprio’s Billy in The Departed. These conjectures have no foundation in fact. Just speculating that maybe Marinick or Zeltserman both write in the same style Andrew Dominik directs. Maybe a few of you readers have a better guess.