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

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 18, 2012 at 9:44AM

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.
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Cormac McCarthy

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.

This article is related to: Cormac McCarthy, The Counselor


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