Director-writer Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) has updated the action of source novel Cogan's Trade from its 1974 timeframe, setting the story instead during the 2008 financial crisis.
Although the film references Obama's acceptance speech after his Democratic Party nomination in August 2008, star and producer Pitt emphasised that he didn't want it to be taken as a slight on the President or his campaign.
"I think we're going to see more negative ads than ever before, and I certainly don't want this film to in any way be mistaken for that," The Hollywood Reporter quotes Pitt as saying.
"I was there that night in Chicago when Obama won. It was an amazing night, people out in the street, connected."
Pitt went on to explain that he sees the reference to Obama's speech as "a real expression of hope" rather than a cynical look back at a failed statement.
Killing Them Softly, which premieres at the Cannes Film Festival today (May 22), centres on a hitman (Pitt) whose gambling-related assignment plays out against the broader backdrop of the crimes taking place on Wall Street.
The film comes out in US cinemas on September 21, just five weeks before the presidential election.
> Read Digital Spy's review of Killing Them Softly from Cannes here
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