EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company has acquired domestic distribution rights to Cogan’s Trade, the Andrew Dominik-directed adaptation of the George V. Higgins novel. Brad Pitt plays the title character, Jackie Cogan, a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that takes place during a high stakes poker game held under the protection of the mob. I’m told that Harvey Weinstein bested multiple suitors by pledging a $20 million P&A guarantee. The film starts production February 28, and TWC plans a wide release in the first quarter of 2012.

Pitt will star with Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell, reuniting the team from Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford. I’ve heard James Gandolfini could join the cast, but that isn’t certain. Dominik wrote the script.

The deal was made by CAA and TWC’s acquisition head Pete Lawson and COO David Glasser. Inferno financed Cogan’s Trade, and began selling international at AFM last fall. TWC gets another significant film for its slate, and the deal puts Weinstein back in business with Pitt for the first time since he starred in the Quentin Tarantino-directed Inglourious Basterds. Plan B’s Pitt and Dede Gardner are producing with Chockstone’s Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz. Inferno’s Bill Johnson and Jim Seibel will be exec producers with Marc Butan, and Roger Schwartz is co-producer.