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'No Country For Old Men' Author Cormac McCarthy Sells First Spec Script 'The Counselor'

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by Oliver Lyttelton
January 18, 2012 9:44 AM
8 Comments
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Is Cormac McCarthy the greatest living American writer? We're sure cases could be made for many other authors, but show us one who's written something as undeniably great as "Blood Meridian," and we'll start to listen. Thanks to the Oscar-winning success of 2007's "No Country For Old Men," based on his novel, McCarthy has become quite the hot prospect in the film world in the last few years, with the Coen Brothers' film being swiftly followed by "The Road" and "The Sunset Limited," the latter an HBO take on his play, while several other adaptations have been percolating.

And now McCarthy himself is getting on in the action, as Deadline report that the writer has just sold his first-ever spec screenplay to producers Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz, who were behind the adaptation of "The Road." Entitled "The Counselor," the script (which is drawing comparisons to 'No Country'), follows a lawyer who gets embroiled in the drug trade, and ends up fighting for his life.

Wechsler says that "The spec falls smack in the middle of what everyone responds to with Cormac’s novels," while Steve Schwartz adds "Since McCarthy himself wrote the script, we get his own muscular prose directly, with its sexual obsessions. It’s a masculine world into which, unusually, two women intrude to play leading roles. McCarthy’s wit and humor in the dialogue make the nightmare even scarier. This may be one of McCarthy’s most disturbing and powerful works.” It's not McCarthy's first ever screen credit -- he penned a PBS TV movie called "The Gardener's Son" with Ned Beatty and Brad Dourif back in 1977 -- but it's the first since, and should be a much bigger deal.

The producers have a pretty strong slate at the moment -- they executive produced "The Tree of Life," and have "Cogan's Trade," "Under The Skin," "Magic Mike" and "The Host" on the way, with an impressive line-up of filmmakers. They're set to look for a director shortly -- could they try to interest their "Cogan's Trade" director Andrew Dominik, who was once working an adaptation of McCarthy's "Cities of the Plain"? We'll see, but it's exciting news either way.

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8 Comments

  • StephenM | January 18, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    Everyone should track down The Sunset Limited, because it's excellent. According to IMDb, he adapted it for the screen himself, but it's based on his play so he might not have actually made any changes at all--it certainly still is a two-man, one location play, just on film. Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson are brilliant.

  • hank | January 18, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    No Country was written as a screenplay originally but he turned it into a novel when no one showed interest.

  • alan | January 18, 2012 2:09 PMReply

    You know what's more exciting than McCarthy selling his soul to get movement on BLOOD MERIDIAN?

    Chris Cunningham is almost done with the prologue of his first feature. Hopefully it will succeed in getting him the funding required to have it out before 2089.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/files.posterous.com/markromanek/382QzsvDGct96ejOfsI6x3t2s0kIVYzgpN3cTu9x3YohlljwlWSs3NBDGNVQ/photo_4.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJFZAE65UYRT34AOQ&Expires=1326913871&Signature=iSZn9O6grKBrdLtPekhHJpGp5gY%3D

    Yes, he is shooting some of it on a DICOMAR. Stand down, you cinephile fucks.

  • Mike | January 18, 2012 12:17 PMReply

    I thought Dominik was working on an adaptation of Blood Meridian not Cities of the Plain, or was he at one point rumored for both?

  • Nolan | January 18, 2012 11:57 AMReply

    I'm not a huge McCarthy fan, but him writing screenplays could only be a good thing.

  • JoJo | January 18, 2012 10:36 AMReply

    "Is Cormac McCarthy the greatest living American writer?"

    A better question would be "Is Cormac McCarthy related to Melissa?" Because if he is, that would make the writers for this site even more interested in him.

  • Christian | January 18, 2012 10:20 AMReply

    Awesome news! McCarthy is a genius writer and this sounds fascinating. Hopefully they'll find a worthy director. Andrew Dominik would be amazing and he seems available too now that Cogan's Trade must be close to finished and ready for release.

  • Stephen B | January 18, 2012 10:02 AMReply

    I'd expect Franco to throw his hat in the ring, too. Dude loves him some McCarthy.

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