EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott is in talks to direct the Cormac McCarthy-scripted drama The Counselor. Scott has several films he’s considering, but there is a strong possibility this could be his next film and his followup to Prometheus, the 3D space film which Fox releases this summer. I guess this is what happens when one of the premiere living authors like the Pulitzer Prize-winning McCarthy takes a break from his novel writing to turn out his first spec screenplay. McCarthy, whose novels have been turned into the films No Country For Old Men, The Road and All the Pretty Horses, did just that in late December, and sold the script to The Road producing team of Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz.
Scott had been mulling several options, including an historical epic about Gertrude Bell that The Constant Gardener scribe Jeffrey Caine is currently rewriting, and Child 44 at Summit Entertainment. But Scott has been talking directly to McCarthy and it’s looking likely that he and his Scott Free Entertainment banner will come aboard the film and join Wechsler and the Schwartz’s as producers. Those producers control all rights, and haven’t committed the film to any studio, but I can see their phone sheets filling up by tomorrow morning.
The Counselor is reminiscent of the rough and tumble world depicted in No Country For Old Men. The protagonist 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. After McCarthy surprised his ICM reps with the spec, the producers moved quickly and spent their own money to buy it in a sizable deal. Wechsler said at the time: “The spec falls smack in the middle of what everyone responds to with Cormac’s novels. Said Steve Schwartz: “Since McCarthy himself wrote the script, we get his own muscular prose directly, with its sexual obsessions. 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.” The script is contemporary, and set in the Southwest. Scott is repped by WME.