How supportive and enthusiastic are Warner Bros. publicists on behalf of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which comes out on 9.21, or right after the Toronto Film Festival? I won’t name names or publications, but a definite foot-dragging attitude has been detected by reasonable moderate men as far as long-lead requests for various forms of assistance in slapping together Jesse James coverage.
It’s no secret that Warner Bros. execs have been less than fully ecstatic with Andrew Dominik‘s western, which producer Tony Scott has described as a Terrence Malick-type feature. The rumble all along is that WB toppers and marketers consider the film some kind of loss leader (i.e., more or less doomed with the people who loved Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean, and who just can’t wait for Evan Almighty). People like me, of course, can’t wait to see it and are inclined on general principle to support it, unless it turns out to be indulgent garbage.
I’m not saying that this or that WB publicist is, in fact, slacking off on Jesse James, but that studio’s upper-level marketers have long had reputations of being chillty or clueless when it comes to movies of a layered artistic bent. Remember the stories about them scratching their heads and throwing up their hands when they first saw Letters From Iwo Jima? Their decision to keep The Departed out of the Toronto Film Festival (i.e., I never believed producer Graham King‘s story about the film not being ready in time for that festival)?
How come the Assassination of Jesse James website is exactly the same now, content-wise, as it was six months ago? The film opens in three and a half months. Shouldn’t the people running this site be turning the heat up right about now?