The Counsellor - How well has Cormac McCarthy been treated by Hollywood?
The Counsellor, the star studded thriller starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem, is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The film features the first original screenplay by Cormac McCarthy, the author of 10 of the last century’s most beloved novels and is directed by legendary auteur Ridley Scott, most recently seen returning to the world of Alien with Prometheus.
This is the fourth time McCarthy has been adapted for the big screen, with three of his novels previously making the jump. So, with that in mind, we thought it was high time we reviewed how his works have fared so far:
No Country For Old Men
Easily the best of the bunch, this 2007 adaptation picked up universal rave reviews and four Oscars in the process. This adaptation, lovingly written and directed by the Coen Brothers (the closest thing film has to a rubber stamp of quality), captured the darkly threatening, dust in the throat wonder of McCarthy's novel with real panache.
Starring Javier Bardem as the supremely unsettling Anton Chigruh (a role for which he would later pick the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), Josh Brolin as Llewyllen Moss, the Vietnam veteran who discovers $2 million dollars in a suitcase and soon wishes he hadn’t, and Tommy Lee Jones as the laconic Sheriff Tom Bell who is on there tail, this thriller is both unsettling and completely compelling.
All The Pretty Horses
Despite a stellar cast that included Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz, this 2000 adaptation of McCarthy’s epic western didn’t capture the magic of the novel that inspired it.
The film was directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also starred, but crucially, did not have final cut. After producer Harvey Weinstein forced him to slice over an hour off the film in the edit, Thornton and the cast all complained about the released film, with Matt Damon particularly angry. As well as being critically mauled, it was also a box office flop, taking only $18 million.
This is harrowing, post-apocalyptic novel, which many believe is McCarthy’s best, was brought to the screen in 2009 by John Hilcoat, the man who won much acclaim for his troubling western The Proposition.
Starring The Lord Of The Rings’ Viggo Mortensen and newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee, the film brought the book’s bleakness and desolation to the screen perfectly, but didn’t absolute capture the cold beauty of McCarthy’s prose. It’s still well worth a watch though.
So which of McCarthy’s novels will be next to make it to the big screen? Ridley Scott has long planned to bring Blood Meridian to cinemas, but the project remains in development hell.
McCarthy’s Cities of the Plain is also slated for an adaptation, with James Franco attached to star. There’s no scheduled release date as yet…
The Counsellor is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray.