When I first started reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West I thought to myself like, “this would be a great addition to the ‘Cormac McCarthy-Franchise.'”
Set during the Westward expansion, a kid ends up in a gang that’s on a scalping expedition, I thought Blood Meridian would be a great addition to all of the Cormac McCarthy novels that have been turned into movies. However this was only within the first few pages.
At about halfway through I began to notice myself resorting to Wikipedia’s plot summary, more and more for a better understanding of it. By the end I was totally confused. Now that I’m done I could see why the only film credit for BM was listed under, “in development.”
After so much research I don’t think anyone wanted to make this movie as badly as he did and here are three reasons why I think so.
1. Wall Street Journal
In a 2009 interview, about The Road’s adaptation, with the Wall Street Journal, McCarthy sort of tore into this journalist for pointing out directors claims of BM being too violent for film.
“That’s all crap,” said McCarthy. “The fact that it’s a bleak and bloody story has nothing to do with whether/not you can put it on the screen. That’s not the issue. The issue is it would be very difficult to do and would require someone with a bountiful imagination and a lot of balls.”
After reading BM, I agree 100%, but he sounds really angry here, almost annoyed of this claim, to a point of sounding defensive, and he was, probably. The success of No Country for Old Men in 2008, and that year’s The Road probably made him want that more than anything else in the entire world.
In a confusing recollection, regarding Actor James Franco’s attempt at a BM adaptation, written by James Franco for VICE, he recounts several passing conversations he had during a shoot with Actor Tommy Lee Jones about his attempts at it, when during one of those exchanges, Jones said he was going to visit McCarthy in Santa Fe.
Here my question was, what was he visiting him about?
My only guess is their collaboration on an adaptation of BM.
My suspicions of this collaboration were confirmed by this search.
According to McCarthy’s last three credits, which include The Sunset Limited, Child of God, and, The Counselor, he assisted with the adaptations of the first and last films out of that list.
In 2011 The Sunset Limited was directed by Tommy Lee Jones, while The Counselor was directed by Ridley Scott in 2013. Those were the last two directors noted for trying to adapt BM into a film, before Actor and Director of Child of God James Franco tried to put hands on it.
McCarthy’s absence in the production of Franco’s Child of God and his attempt at BM is probably why the novel rights were taken away by Producer Scott Rudin, in between those years and now.
That and the overall non-success of The Counselor and Child of God is probably why Blood Meridian’s been a cold case ever since 2013.