See the man. He is talented and celebrated, he writes celebrated and prize-winning novels. He stokes the slow publishing news day. He – wait, before I continue, everyone’s read Blood Meridian, right? No? Oh. Then I’d better stop rewriting it. And you should probably stop reading this and go read that instead.
Anyway, Cormac McCarthy, author of said novel – one of the great American novels of the 20th century – has made it known to his literary agents that he’s been distracted whilst penning his latest book. Unlike the rest of the world, however, this does not now mean his kitchen is alphabetised, or that he’s got a pretty good idea of what his Desert Island Discs would be but still can’t settle on his luxury item, or that he’s finally settled on a cover photo for his Facebook timeline that, you know, really represents who he is. This is Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary colossus, and his idea of killing time is to churn out a screenplay then see afterwards if anyone might be interested in filming it.
Obviously, anyone’s answer is ‘oh God yes’. The Counselor, the resultant script, has since been picked up by the team of producers responsible for John Hillcoat’s 2009 adaptation of the novel that won McCarthy his Pulitzer, post-apocalyptic father-son cannibal-dodging jaunt The Road.
Though not McCarthy’s first attempt at writing for the screen – he wrote an episode of late 70s anthology TV series Visions, and reputedly wrote No Country For Old Men as a screenplay before turning it into the novel that became the basis for the Coen Brothers’ rightly heralded cinematic adaptation – it is his first effort that stands alone as a piece, independent of an accompanying novel or surrounding TV show. So that’s pretty exciting.
Where this leaves the long-delayed adaptation of Blood Meridian, that last anyone heard was in the hands of walking performance art installation James Franco, is unclear. If nothing else, it should doubly motivate whichever poor screenwriter has been tasked with translating McCarthy’s opus from print to screen – now the competition isn’t just the fairly high standard of prior McCarthy adaptations: it’s the man himself.