Continued from page 1

Pitt runs Plan B, which produced “Killing Them Softly,” with Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, and compares their trio to “a little garage band.”

“I’m focusing more on producing this year than getting in front of the camera,” says Pitt, adding that he’s particularly excited about producing the next film from director Steve McQueen (“Shame”). “Killing Them Softly” will be released this fall.

Higgins‘ “The Friends of Eddie Coyle” was made into a film in 1973 starring Robert Mitchum. It, too, was a box office disappointment but has a devoted cult and critical following. It led Dominik to pick up a copy of Higgins‘ “Cogan's Trade.”

“There was an untapped vein,” says Dominik. “It was like after `All the Pretty Horses’ they decided, `Cormac McCarthy movies, nobody wants to see that.’”

Dominik gave a comedic tone to the story, which is largely centered on a series of Beckett-like conversations between the thieves, punctured by bloody outbursts. On hatching a dubious plan, one says: “We’re not the only smart guys in the world.”

“I wanted it to be very square and straight faced, almost like a comic strip panel,” says Dominik.

Pitt is now 48 and has six children with Angelina Jolie, who didn’t join him in Cannes. The couple, who alternate their movies so neither is in production at the same time, is currently staying outside of London while Jolie shoots a film in the area. The more measured pace suits Pitt.

“It just doesn’t happen back to back to back,” says Pitt. “You need time off to refuel and to be inspired again. There’s no greater inspiration than family.”