Okay, so, wow: I don’t think any of us expected a Cormac McCarthy-penned, Ridley Scott-directed, Bardem-and-Fassbender-and-Pitt-and-Cruz-and-Diaz-starring film like The Counselor to be quite so stupid. I mean sure, Scott may not have directed an interesting movie since Hannibal, but what was going on with that script, Cormac? It was almost like he took one pass at the thing and washed his hands of the entire project. Did that grizzled old bastard novelist totally punk Hollywood on this one?
With a narrative so undercooked but also this pompous and prosey (which, to be fair, is how everything tends to sound in McCarthy books like Blood Meridian and Outer Dark, but those are stylized Gothic period pieces set centuries ago, not contemporary narco-violence thrillers), you might assume that the screenwriter here in fact put too much into the story, word-wise; didn’t let the characters breathe. And it’s true that the actors are often struggling to make these baroque lines sound at all plausible—to say nothing about the scene where Cameron Diaz has sex with a car. But I have a different theory.
You see, McCarthy wasn’t always an entity in the land of movies. Suddenly, however, the Coen brothers blew us away with an adaptation of No Country For Old Men, and people were sufficiently horrified by a film version of The Road—a post-apocalyptic novel, mind you, that McCarthy was inspired to write because of his own new very young son. Seeing that he had a chance to score another jackpot for his family before he died, he signed on to write The Counselor, then handed over a slim treatment sprinkled with a bunch of crummy dialogue he’d cut out of his superior fiction over the years.
“Brilliant!” said everyone at the studio. “We can’t wait to see the next draft.” To which McCarthy no doubt replied: “What next draft?” while flying away in a private jet made of money, back toward his desert ranch or wherever it is he holes up and ignores everyone not worth his time. Well, Cormac, I have to admit, I fell for your name, hook, line, and sinker; I paid a theater to see a movie that would’ve been better screened on an 18-hour flight cramped in coach or in a morphine haze on a hospital bed. I’m not even mad, really—I just aspire to one day give as few fucks as you do. Bravo.
Yesterday, we got the long-awaited first glimpse at Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy’s upcoming drug trade thriller The Counselor. Albeit in Russian, the teaser provided us with a slick and intense look at the sleazy crime drama starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, and many more. Telling the story of a a man who finds himself embroiled in a dangerous world when he witnesses a drug trade and the nefarious characters he becomes involved with, The Counselor is set to have its theatrical release on October 25th.
But now, not only is there an English trailer for your viewing pleasure but a slew of new photos from the film courtesy of EW. And if you didn’t catch The New Yorker’s article on McCarthy’s script for the feature a few weeks back, check out an excerpt from the next below via The Playlist:
…the septic-tank truck on a two-lane blacktop road in central Texas. A late-model sedan is following it, two men in the car. The passenger in the sedan plugs a flashing red roof light into the cigarette lighter in the dash and reaches out the window and places the light on the roof of the car. Then he takes a black box off the seat and holds it at the window and turns it on and it begins to emit a police-siren sound. The septic-tank truck slows and pulls over onto the verge and comes to a halt. The sedan pulls in some distance behind it and the two men get out, putting on white Stetson hats. They are dressed in boots and tan slacks and white shirts and wear automatic sidearms. The driver of the truck—the wire man—watches them in the rearview mirror. The boots of the co-driver of the truck are moving back along the passenger side of the truck. The driver starts the truck and pulls away. The two men in the road have almost reached the truck and they draw their pistols and run forward. The co-driver of the truck is now lying in the bar ditch, and when the truck clears his position the two men in the road are exposed directly in front of him and he opens fire on them with a pistol, dropping one of them dead in the road and wounding the other in the leg. The wounded man dives into the ditch on the other side of the road. The truck has come to a stop again, angled slightly toward the road, and the driver opens fire on the wounded man with a pistol from the truck window. The wounded man presses himself flat in the ditch and takes careful aim with his pistol and shoots the driver in the head. The driver’s pistol clatters into the road. The co-driver in the ditch sees the pistol fall. He studies the far side of the road and then backs down into the ditch and crouches and runs along the ditch toward the truck. The wounded man sees the man’s back moving along the ditch and he stands and fires three rounds after him. The last round hits the tank of the truck and brown sewage starts to spout from the hole. The co-driver reaches the truck and opens the door and clambers in over the body slumped on the floor and, crouching over the body, he reaches and pushes the clutch to the floor with his hand and drops the shifter into first gear and reaches and releases the emergency brake. He pushes down the accelerator with one hand and lets the clutch out with the other and the truck moves forward into the road. The wounded man climbs out of the ditch and hobbles back to the car and gets in and shuts the door. He lays the pistol on the seat and reaches under the seat and takes out an AR-15 machine pistol with a twenty-round clip and pushes off the safety and starts the car and pulls out down the road after the truck. The truck has wandered to the far side of the road and the car pulls up along the passenger side of the truck and the wounded man opens fire with the AR-15, emptying the clip into the door of the truck. Then he backs away and pulls to the verge and sits watching. The truck veers slowly off the road in front of him and rolls down into the bar ditch, where it tilts up onto two wheels and balances for a moment and then drops back onto all four wheels and sits there in silence. In the rearview mirror, the man in the car can see another car approaching, very small on the long stretch of blacktop road. He can see the pistol lying in the road and, beyond that, the dead body. The approaching car is shimmering in the heat waves off the road. The man’s trouser leg is dark with blood to his boot. He places his hand on his thigh and leans forward slightly in pain. He turns the AR-15 on the seat and ejects the empty clip and reaches under the seat and gets hold of a small canvas bag and puts it in his lap and unzips it and takes out a loaded clip and loads the AR-15 and pushes back the slide with the heel of his hand. The approaching car has slowed. Now it stops. It turns sideways in the road and backs up and swings around and heads back the way it came. The wounded man has opened the door and he steps out and levels the AR-15 and opens fire on the fleeing car. He empties the clip and then lowers the gun and stands watching. The car slows and drifts off the road and down into the bar ditch and comes to a stop. The man reaches into the car and gets another clip and reloads the AR-15 and turns and goes down the bank to the truck.
● Let’s ease into this, shall we? Here are pictures of Chris Brown being attacked by seagulls on Miami Beach. [ONTD]
● And you might say he brought it upon himself, because he doesn’t miss a beat on his "Birthday Cake" remix, which he begins: "Girl, I want to fuck you right now / Been a long time, I’ve been missing your body." Rihanna returned the favor with a "Turn Up The Music" remix of her own. If this is the way she wants it… [RapRadar]
● David Cross admits in an interview with Playboy that he did coke at a White House event, with President Obama just feet away. But it wasn’t "that much cocaine," he says. "It wasn’t like I got high … It wasn’t about that. It was just about being able to say that I did it, that I did cocaine in the same room as the President." [NYDN]
● Cormac McCarthy volunteered to edit Lawrence M. Krauss’s Quantum Man, but not before he made the author "promise he could excise all exclamation points and semicolons, both of which he said have no place in literature.” [ArtsBeat]
● Tyra Banks is on track to graduate from Harvard Business School, where she learned that there is a "difference between a career and a business." "I’m not looking to build a company based on fans," she explained. [E!]
● Today Diddy will unveil his MTV- and BET-challenging music-oriented cable channel, Revolt. [NYT]
Ridley Scott and Cormac McCarthy have at least one thing in common: they won’t and perhaps can’t stop doing their life’s work, even at their advanced age. Scott is 74 years old, but he continues to pick up new films on the reg. Oscar obsessives will foam over his new project, as he’s close to signing on to direct Cormac McCarthy’s first ever spec script, The Counselor. McCarthy himself is 78, which means there’s no time like now for him to get into the Hollywood game after so many of his books (The Road, No Country for Old Men, All the Pretty Horses) have been adapted into films.
Nothing is set in stone, but Deadline says that Scott intends to make it his next project after his sci-fi epic Prometheus comes out this summer. The Counselor is supposed to be characteristic of the lawless, morally grey worlds that McCarthy frequently explores in his novels: it’s about a powerful lawyer who tries to get involved in the drug business, but of course, things go awry. “Since McCarthy himself wrote the script, we get his own muscular prose directly, with its sexual obsessions," said producer Steve Schwartz. "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.” No one does macho and tortured like our friend Cormac, do they?
● Charlie Sheen’s suit with the producers of Two and a Half Men over the work he did before he went crazy is drawing to a close, with Sheen set to walk away with $25 million in the next two weeks and upwards up $100 million in the long run. [TMZ] ● The real victim of this Salahi/Journey scandal? The White House crasher’s doberman pinscher, Rio, who actually died. Tareq led the backyard procession yesterday, laying the poor dog to rest in peace with its favorite blanket. [TMZ] ● Tracy Morgan played it safe and made neither jokes nor homophobic statements while proposing to his model girlfriend, Megan Wallover. [NYDN]
● James Franco has announced plans to direct an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s gruesome novel Child of God, about a man who spends his life in a cave after being accused of rape. [Huff Post] ● This commercial for a Norwegian bank might be the only time you get to hear forever-bachelor George Clooney in a post-wedding day glow. [EW] ● That Jack White and Insane Clown Posse collaboration? It’s a love story! We think… [Stereogum]