I’ve been reading Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy in a big hardcover omnibus, and the guy makes me want to quit writing. Some writers tell great stories. Some writers create luminous, eternal characters. Some writers use language with beautiful, vivid grace. McCarthy does all three. These qualities make McCarthy’s novels perfect for big screen – Billy Bob Thornton adapted his wonderful All the Pretty Horses* and the Coen Bros have a movie based on No Country For Old Men coming soon.
McCarthy’s best known for his novels set in the American Southwest, so his newest book is quite a departure – The Road is a post-apocalyptic story, following a father and a son as they travel across a blasted landscape, trying to survive and fight off scavengers. Now that novel will be turned into a film, to be directed by John Hillcoat, the man who helmed the Guy Pearce Australian Western, The Proposition. Producer Nick Wechsler, who bought the book, chose Hillcoat because he happened to watch The Proposition while reading The Road. "There was something beautiful in the way John captured the stark primitive humanity of the West in that movie," Wechsler said.
What’s especially nice is that Weschler is looking to finance this movie independently, meaning Hillcoat will have more freedom to interpret McCarthy’s dark book in his own way – and anyone who has seen The Proposition can tell you that can be quite grim. "We’ll develop this independently, and probably finance it in large part through independent sources," Wechsler said. "I’ve done quite a few movies lately this way, and it gives you creative freedom and a more promising upside, especially on the DVD front."
* The version of All the Pretty Horses that Miramax released in 2002 had been destroyed by Harvey Weinstein, who cut a three hour and fifteen minute movie down to two hours. What I wonder is, now that the Weinsteins are out of Miramax, who owns the home video rights? Can Billy Bob come back and recreate his original vision? I’d love to see it.