The lyrically-stark prose and often brutal subject matter of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy’s literature has given rise to some excellent film adaptations in the past, most notably No Country for Old Men and The Road. It’s for that reason that the 78-year-old novelist is considered one of the best (if not the best) American writers working today.
Hence, there’s good reason to be excited about The Counselor, which is the first original feature-length spec script penned by McCarthy. Naturally, his agents are already shopping the screenplay around, looking to attach a top-notch filmmaker to the project – a task they should have little difficulty accomplishing.
McCarthy has previously not been involved with any cinematic adaptation of his literature, with the exception of the HBO TV movie version of his single-setting play, The Sunset Limited, which was directed by the star of No Country for Old Men (and a personal friend of McCarthy), Tommy Lee Jones. It’s partially for that reason that the author’s agents were shocked when he recently handed them the Counselor script, rather than an early draft of his next novel.
Here is how Deadline describes The Counselor:
The terrain of the script is reminiscent of the rough and tumble world depicted in “No Country For Old Men”. The protagonist in “The Counselor” is a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe in to the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries his best to survive it and get out of a desperate situation.
In addition, producer Steve Schwartz (The Road) informed the publication that The Counselor takes place in the contemporary Southwest U.S. (“a masculine world”) and differs from the writer’s previous works by featuring two female lead characters. Schwartz also says that the script “may be one of McCarthy’s most disturbing and powerful works.”
It’s kind of surprising that McCarthy hasn’t tried his hand at penning a feature-length screenplay, before now. His literature often paints a very poetically-detailed portrait of various locales and settings; similarly, McCarthy tends to avoid getting inside the minds of his characters, preferring to instead define them by their actions, rather than thoughts or inner emotions. Many of McCarthy’s novels lend themselves naturally to a visual medium like film, for those very reasons. In fact, No Country for Old Men the book is written almost exactly like a screenplay – hence, it was easy to adapt into a successful movie.
The Counselor sounds like yet another intriguingly dark and uncompromising mix of western and Noir elements from McCarthy; needless to say, it should encounter little difficulty in attracting the interests of a high-profile filmmaker or respectable auteur. Similarly, expect some pretty noteworthy actors and actresses to start circling this project, in the future.
We will keep you updated on the status of The Counselor as more information is released.