3. The Cheetahs Go Free, But Where Do They Go?
Short little one. Yes, as we’ve described in this piece, the Cheetah motifs are a bit overstated and heavy-handed to say the least, but they are near and dear to Malkina’s heart. In fact, in the one moment in the screenplay that evinces that she’s not totally inhuman, she almost weeps in search of them. Of course Reiner gets killed earlier on and the Cheetahs that were in the back of his SUV run free (also missing from the movie is the Cheetah’s trying to lovingly nudge Reiner’s dead body with their noses). Cut from the film, but in the script, Malkina uses a tracking system in their collar to find them. Before that, there is one brief tangent. The Cheetahs are seen roaming around whatever West Texas town they’re in.
At one point they walk into the backyard of some random suburban folk. The cheetahs come by a pool, look at two shocked boys inside, who silently look to their dad for help. The cheetahs slink away but the man just “closes his eyes and raises one hand palm-out”, though it’s unclear what that’s supposed to indicate exactly (it possible it means, he’s about to get attacked and this is his final defense move, but it’s super vague). Using a GPS and a tracking monitor for the transponder, Malkina tracks down The the female Cheetah named Silvia. She’s described as “almost crying” when she blurts out, “It’s Silvia! Hi, Baby. Hi Baby!” Later on she describes their fates (more below).
4. The Counselor Goes Back To Talk To Ruth (Rosie Perez) After Things Go To Hell.
You can understand why this scene was cut. In the movie Westray tells The Counselor that a righteous fury is going to come on his ass via Ruth, who will just assume that The Counselor had her son, the Kawasaki Biker, beheaded. It’s not true of course, but as Westray tells The Counselor, it doesn’t matter. Someone’s going to have to pay. So The Counselor then has to get the fuck out of dodge asap and wouldn’t risk going anywhere other than to an airport or a car (to Mexico where he eventually goes). But in the screenplay, as The Counselor tidies up his affairs, he goes back to the women’s penitentiary to talk to Ruth once last time. Considering Ruth is convinced that the Counselor, who was supposed to get her son out of jail, had her son killed, the conversation understandably doesn’t go well (although he was never in jail in the first place, perhaps this was Ruth’s lie from the beginning or she was lied to). “Enough ain’t in your dictionary, is it? Well, fuck it. You shouldn’t be even talking to me. You know that? Because I’ll rat your sorry ass out in a New York second,” she hisses. The Counselor says he won’t be representing her any longer, she essentially says, “no shit” and then curses him.
RUTH: Well Counselor you’ll be gone but not forgotten. Because I got
plans for you.
COUNSELOR: Yeah? Well, you better hurry, whatever they are.
RUTH: Why? You goin to make a run for it? That’s good. Because I want
you out there where my people can get to you.
The Counselor attempts to say he is sorry for her loss, but Ruth’s not having it. “It ain’t worth shit…. You don’t know what sorry is. But you’re fixin to find out.”
5. The Cheeky Self-Referential Line
This is so not Cormac McCarthy, but there’s one part in the script where Reiner thinks he’s quoting Arthur Miller.
COUNSELOR: Yeah. Well, I suspect you’re right about one thing.
REINER: What’s that?
COUNSELOR: That you never see it coming.
REINER: That’s been my experience. What’s the Miller quote? The smallest
crumb can devour us?
And while is is quoting Miller, he’s also quoting himself. That line,, “Yet the smallest crumb can devour us” is actually appropriated in another one of McCarthy’s own text. It’s a line from “Blood Meridian.” Did the guy turn into Kevin Smith all of a sudden? Woulda never guessed he had this sense of humor in him.
6 Notable Extended Sequences:
1. The Under-The-Sheets Opening Sex Scene
The opening sex scene of “The Counselor” is a divisive one. Some find it sensual, some (many of us honestly) find it a little flat and nowhere as sexy as it thinks it is. Part of the problem may be that it’s the PG-13 version that hit theaters and the one in the script is the much more R-Rated filthy one. Also missing is this bon mot, after the counselor asks Laura to talk dirty to him. The opening statement could arguably be the tag line of the movie. “Words are everything to a man. Or to some of us, anyway. I suppose there’s still a contingency out there that only gets turned on by enormous asses and tits the size of crenshaw melons. Maybe even gaudily striped buttocks. Red and blue. Who knows?” The best retort ever. Laura, “I don’t want to paint my buttocks.” Ha.
Then there’s this wonderful line that’s also been cut. “You have the most luscious pussy in all of Christendom. Did you know that?” The Counselor says to Laura. Again, what’s on screen is kind of the neutered version and it’s sort of why all their “dirty talk” feels so tame and half-hearted. Was Fox worried about an NC-17 rating?
2. The Counselor & Reiner Talk Women.
In the Counselor and Reiner’s first meeting, they talk about women. Reiner says, “I always liked smart women. But it’s been an expensive hobby” (which is one of the best lines in the screenplay). They also discuss one of Reiner’s ex’s who left him because she was “getting more pussy than I was.” The conversation quickly fast forwards to the deal at hand, but in the script there’s more. Reiner who says she used to “go around with no bra. These full nipples in her blouse” admits that she actually did leave him for another woman and he wasn’t just fucking around. “She finally left me for a negress.” He then describes how this African American woman was dating a hockey player for the Edmonton Oilers and he was heartsick. “We met once for drinks at this club in Dallas to discuss our mutual plight,” Reiner adds. “He was taking it rather poorly, I have to say.”
3. Westray & The Counselor Meet For The First Time In The Bar
As we’ve suggested, earlier, Ridley Scott shoots McCarthy’s script to the letter. However, what he does do to the script to trim it down (otherwise it would have been 3.5 hours frankly, especially at the speed these people deliver their monologues) and give it nips and tucks wherever he can to keep the story going in forward motion; anything that’s non-essential from a conversation is gone. There’s a funny exchange before they get down to business that shows off the deadpan nature of Westray and more importantly, McCarthy.
COUNSELOR: Is this a place where you hang?
WESTRAY: Never been here in my life.
COUNSELOR: So how did you pick it?
WESTRAY: I opened the yellow pages to Bar.
Most of the conversation is basically the same, give or take a few inessentials asides, but one big chunk of conversation excised from this scene is further conversations about snuff films and the evils of the cartels. Of course this topic comes up later, in the final Westray/Counselor meeting at the hotel where Westray explains to the attorney just how truly fucked he is. But this earlier conversation foreshadows what Westray is trying to warn the Counselor of all along: these people are inhuman and so insanely rich they have assassins on the payroll to kill people for their amusement. Because they can.
COUNSELOR: You think the druglords hire kidnappers to keep them supplied with young girls.
WESTRAY: No. I think they have kidnappers on full retainer.
The scene in the movie ends with Westray’s joke, why Jesus Christ wasn’t born in Mexico (because they couldn’t find three wise men or a virgin). But in the screenplay it ends with one more further admonition from Pitt’s character.
WESTRAY: Here’s something else for you to think about. The beheadings and the mutilations? That’s just business. You have to keep up appearances. It’s not like there’s some smoldering rage at the bottom of it. Not that their love of bloodshed is insincere. But let’s see if we can guess who it is that they really want to kill.
COUNSELOR: I don’t know. Who?
WESTRAY: You, Counselor. You.
The snuff movie conversation near the end of their last conversation, before Westray finally bids The Counselor a fond farewell, is also much more brutally descriptive in the screenplay. But we’ll have to leave some things to the imagination.