When revered American novelist Cormac McCarthy (The Road, No Country for Old Men) unexpectedly turned in a screenplay titled The Counselor to his agents around the end of 2011, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before some big names signed up to work on the project (both on and off-camera).

Sure enough, just a couple months later Sir Ridley Scott officially committed to directing the project. He was joined shortly thereafter by actor Michael Fassbender – who’s playing the titular role – and rumors have been circulating since that someone like Brad Pitt, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, or even No Country for Old Men star Javier Bardem could soon be brought aboard to play the film’s cold-blooded antagonist (as imagined by McCarthy).

The word from Twitch is that Pitt is no longer in the running to play villain in The Counselor, but both Renner and Bardem are having conversations with the film’s producers about the part – with Bardem supposedly being Scott’s preferred “weapon of choice,” so to speak. Although Cooper isn’t mentioned in the scoop, he was always considered a long shot due to his recently becoming attached to co-headline Serena (which is expected to begin filming around the same time as The Counselor).

Fassbender’s character in The Counselor has been described as “a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe into the drug business without getting sucked down.” That frail hope obviously doesn’t pan out, as the plot takes such darkly twisted turns as to have inspired gutsy claims that McCarthy’s script is among “his most disturbing and powerful works” – as well as being somewhat new character territory for the writer, seeing how two women supposedly end up playing central roles in the storyline.

One of said female roles in The Counselor (a woman by the name of Laura) has reportedly attracted the attention of Natalie Portman. The Oscar-winning actress showed up on the big screen multiple times last year, but has essentially been out of commission since giving birth. That a juicy dramatic role written by McCarthy – and to be supervised by Scott – has attracted Portman’s attention as a prospective “return to work,” isn’t at all shocking.

Natalie Portman may sign on for 'The Counselor'

All of the potential (or solidified) casting for The Counselor so far sounds spot-on, while the project as a whole reads as being very promising. Scott’s legacy as a great filmmaker is already set, though he’s been riding on an especially hight note of late, thanks to the buzz surrounding his upcoming sci-fi flick (prequel?), Prometheus. Similarly, McCarthy’s many fans are eager to see how one of his stories translates to film form when the author is the one responsible for penning the script’s prose (under the direction of someone like Scott).

In other words: The Counselor is one of those dream-team collaborations where, if everything goes according to plan, the end result could be quite the powerful piece of cinema. Suffice it to say, we’ll definitely be waiting in line to check it out when it hits theaters.

The Counselor is tentatively slated to being production by May 2012, with a late 2013 theatrical release date most likely in mind.

Source: Twitch