Cormac McCarthy just sold his first spec script

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There may be no better simultaneous indictment of Hollywood and evidence that breaking into the business isn't as easy as it looks — depending on how you want to look at it, of course — than the career of Cormac McCarthy, specifically when it comes to his novel No Country for Old Men. For years, McCarthy was trying to hawk the story as a screenplay to the various Hollywood production companies. When he finally had enough meetings and didn't see the process getting anywhere, McCarthy said "screw it" (or whatever more poetic, grisly version of that phrase he'd use) and wrote the story as a novel.

And then, years later, it finally made its way to the big screen and won a Best Picture Oscar. The moral of the story: it doesn't matter if you've written arguably the greatest American novel in the past century (Blood Meridian) and been awarded the prestigious million-dollar grant from the MacArthur Foundation for being a "genius." All that means squat in Hollywood.

Which is to say, the news that instead of publishing a new novel, McCarthy is getting his name in the news for selling his first spec script for a story called The Counselor isn't a huge surprise. Dude's been trying to break into Hollywood for years. (Although the term "breaking in" doesn't quite fit a seventy-eight-year-old man who enjoys spending his life off the radar.) With adaptations of No Country and The Road seeing critical and commercial success, it was only a matter of time before some enterprising production company took a mighty big chance on this up-and-coming writer.

According to, the script for The Counselor is:

"…Reminiscent of the rough and tumble world depicted in No Country For Old Men. The protagonist in The Counselor 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."

So, in other words, Breaking Bad? But with more gorgeous prose and presumably fewer POV shots?