I’ll admit to more than a passing fascination with the life and times of Jesse James, if for no other reason than, by virtue of having spent most of my life in or near Missouri, it was impossible for me not to be achingly familiar with the story of his life. I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in Liberty, Missouri (where the first James Gang bank robbery took place), and I’ve been to the home in St. Joseph where James was eventually shot in the back of the head by Robert Ford.
I can’t quite explain it beyond that, as James’ Confederate sympathies certainly hold no weight with me, nor do I care for his status as a (murderous) folk hero. There’s just something about the entirety of his life story that I’m fascinated with. The Long Riders has long been my favorite cinematic treatment of the James & Younger Gang, but the upcoming adaptation of Ron Hansen’s amazing book, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford looks to be taking a long-overdue shot at that title.
I’m not sold on Brad Pitt as Jesse James (if for no other reason than Pitt looks every day of the ten years he has on 34 year old James), but I’ll admit his got the chops to do it. Both Pitt and Casey Affleck are getting ‘performance of their careers’ type reviews in the advance, but with only the trailer to judge by, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.