The Counselor: A Screenplay

This topic contains 42 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Richard L. 4 years, 2 months ago.

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  • 21 Oct 2013 at 7:23 pm #4204

    Glass
    Member

    Should the opening dialogue between the Counselor and Laura be read as a parody? All those references to God and Jesus and Christendom in the playful sex talk between the two of them make me think McCarthy might be engaged in some overt self-deprecation. Would it be more palatable if McCarthy wasn’t being serious and, instead, was “yanking our chain again” to use Wes’s phrase from the opening post? Unsure how to interpret it.


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    21 Oct 2013 at 7:57 pm #4205

    Richard L.
    Member

    RE: “Should the opening dialogue between the Counselor and Laura be read as a parody? All those references to God and Jesus and Christendom in the playful sex talk between the two…”

    I don’t know, but that struck me as characteristic of McCarthy, that there are certain passages in his novels when the exclamation of “God” occurs surrounded by a great innuendo, a great understatement, as in the death scene in THE ORCHARD KEEPER, say, or the scene where Moss’s wife is talking with Bell in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and the encounters in THE ROAD–all of these places and more where characters seem on the surface seem to be making the natural God, Christ, and Jesus exclamations that people make in moments of crisis and during sex, but which on a higher level seem to be a momentary recognition of God in the Other, in human form.

    When McCarthy’s characters start speechifying, as they are wont to do, the levels of the conversation expand into ambiguities.

    Think of the scene in THE ROAD where the boy is ambiguously recognized as the Child of God.

    It amazes me that, after I wrote a pre-publication review of THE ROAD at Amazon, so many people came along in the comments and said that they didn’t find Ely either ambiguously holy or humorous. If they couldn’t see the humor in Ely, I wonder if they see the humor in ol’Mose in John Ford’s western, THE SEARCHERS:

    Surrounded by Comanches, the Captain turns on his horse and asks Mose, “How far’s the river?”

    To which Mose responds, “I’ve been baptized, Reverend, I’ve been baptized.”

    “Shut up you old fool.”

    “Thank ya kindly. Thank ya.”

    Later, when the Comanches are about to attack, he says:

    “For what we are about to receive, O Lord, may we be truly thankful.”


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    22 Oct 2013 at 1:57 pm #4209

    dianneluce
    Member

    Glass: there’s a reference to Las Vegas, New Mexico, a place I don’t think I’ve ever heard of, although the photos of the Plaza Hotel looked uncannily familiar. As it turns out, most of NCFOM was filmed there

    Interesting. Is this close to Marfa, Texas?


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    22 Oct 2013 at 2:09 pm #4210

    dianneluce
    Member

    Candy Minx: “our McCarthy” isn’t back he was never gone. It is never the artist who is the fickle lover…it is always the critic who is fickle and in the dark that we can see their motives.

    Candy, I didn’t say or mean that our McCarthy was gone. I never thought that the weaker parts of the pirated script were his, nor that it represented his earlier draft. We don’t have evidence of that. I meant that the published script is consonant with the work we have always seen from him and that the pirated script misrepresented him. So it turns out that we agree more than you think. I started contributing to this thread because I feel it does a disservice to McCarthy to make judgments about his script based on a misrepresentation of it, and I hoped we could start fresh with the script he meant us to see. Never did I blame him for anything in the pirated script. As far as I’m concerned, that “version” is totally irrelevant.


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    22 Oct 2013 at 2:51 pm #4211

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Oh well that’s cool Diane! I misunderstood as I thought you were proposing a vast difference between the pirated screenplay and the published screenplay.

    I have been through them several times and with post it notes marking deletions…additions and movements of dialogue. The two versions are so similar that one would have to go almost word by word to catch the differences. (Which of course being some kind of nerd I HAVE done lol).

    The changes are ones that removing a line or two of dialogue could easily not be said by a character but rather emoted. Most interesting are the changes when Westray and the counselor. Some editing removed dialogue that repeated. A quirk a lot of writers do by repeating details (the diamond trade talks)

    Going through this script it really is a lot of fun and total McCarthyland!


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    22 Oct 2013 at 8:06 pm #4212

    travis
    Member

    Candy Minx: The changes are ones that removing a line or two of dialogue could easily not be said by a character but rather emoted. Most interesting are the changes when Westray and the counselor. Some editing removed dialogue that repeated. A quirk a lot of writers do by repeating details (the diamond trade talks)

    Candy, does your pirated version of the script include a second scene between the counselor and Ruth, by any chance?


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    23 Oct 2013 at 10:38 am #4214

    wesmorgan
    Participant

    Travis: I can’t speak for Candy, but my copy of the pirated version of the script does contain a second scene at the Women’s Penitentiary with Ruth on pages 80-81 of 116. (The pages were not numbered and I added numbers.) The first scene was on pages 38-42 of 116. In the published screenplay the first scene is on pages 64-71 and is very similar but not identical to the pirated script.


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    23 Oct 2013 at 10:47 am #4216

    Candy Minx
    Member

    It’s been years since I’ve seen cronenberg a CRASH but I think there is a scene where Rosanna arquette has sex with a car. Cronenberg said when he was doing pre-production on the script he walked into the Clark mental health building in Toronto because he wondered how far fetched the idea of jg ballards was of some people becoming sexually aroused after seeing or being involved in a vehicle accident. The intake workers told him twice a week someone goes to them with such a syndrome.

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/10/10/man-has-had-1000-lovers-999-of-which-are-cars/


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    23 Oct 2013 at 10:57 am #4217

    Ken
    Member

    Yes, indeed, J. G. Ballard wrote such an “auto-erotic” scene in Crash! (1973, same year as Child Of God and Gravity’s Rainbow). Story circulated that when he submitted the manuscript, one publisher not only responded with a rejection letter, but included also the suggestion that he get psychiatric help.


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    23 Oct 2013 at 11:03 am #4218

    Candy Minx
    Member

    My bootleg does have a second scene with the counselor and Ruth…after her son is killed he visits her and says she will have a new lawyer. And she is pissed. He seems to be very sorry about what happened and she seems to blame him. Plus the scene was out of sequence in the bootleg. It logically should follow the coffeeshop scene between counselor and Westray.

    I didn’t mind this scene…there are a million reasons why scenes are cut or altered between the writing of a script and then what we see in the finished product. The point is…. It doesn’t mean it was a bad idea or a bad move or a good move to change these things. The process is very odd in that unlike the solitude of writing or painting… It becomes an animal that is out in the open…I find these kinds of decisions of taming this animal totally fascinating.

    You might be familiar with a trendy self help book a few years ago… “Made to stick” it’s about memory teaching and story telling… And communication…

    Sometimes we don’t know right away when we’re writing a script how much an audience will need to process action…we can get very attached to a character and a scene. Then it could even come down to the filmed scenes and we can see they don’t need to be there. They might not add to the character or plot movement or they may even slow it down.

    I find sometimes I have to just write it out and move pieces around… In order to see what you can take away.

    The second scene with Ruth seems to function to show us her son is dead but also… That the counselor has a sense of remorse… Do we need to see that in order to follow the counselor as our hero or anti hero? Did it slow the story too much? Was it heavy handed explanation.

    A basic rule of screenwriting and performance is “show it don’t tell it”…

    And the thing with McCarthys scripts are they contain heady concepts…. Those kinds of concepts and philosophizing are VERY difficult outside of the novel or painting or sculpture. Those philosophical nature of reality concepts can get preachy and bogged down in dialogue.

    I love films that try to be heady… But they often fail at the box office. I think this story has an interesting blend of philosophical discussion and action. Having very beautiful actors and atmosphere is a good choice by Ridley scott and production.


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    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by  Candy Minx.
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