Fassbinder Stares Into The Abyss In Ridley Scott Thriller
U.S. Release Date: 10/3/13
Played by Michael Fassbinder, the titular Counselor, whose name is never released throughout this seemingly cautionary tale about mistakenly tempting fate, is a top attorney, who rakes in some very big bucks and who steps into a very deep abyss after making a deal with some very nasty drug dealers.
The end result is that his world and everyone in it, including his hot fiancé (Penelope Cruz), threatens to come smashing down with a very serious bang.
McCarthy is probably best known for his novels No Country for Old Men, a western crime thriller, the post apocalyptic novel The Road and All The Pretty Horses, all of which have been adapted into feature films.
The author, who was enjoying a cup of coffee when he decided to script The Counselor, perceives the title character as a classical figure in tragedy – a decent man who gets up one morning and decides to do something wrong.”
McCarthy sold his spec screenplay to producers Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz. Eventually it was passed on to Scott, who immediately fell in love with the storyline.
“It reads like an exceptional short story or novella; it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride,” says Scott. “The script had situations and characters that were epic and an inevitability that something awful was going to happen to them – and that there was nothing they could do to stop it.”
The film, shot in the UK and Spain over an eight-week period, is also peppered with some very shady characters who are probably not the type of people to be introduced to Mom.
First up is Reiner (Javier Bardem), the nightclub owner who brings The Counselor in on the deal, and opens up a massive can of wriggling worms, while Malkina (Cameron Diaz), his ice queen girlfriend, is a controlling sociopath who is sans anything resembling the slightest emotion.
“Malkina might remind you of Javier’s role [as Chigurh] in No Country for Old Men,” says McCarthy. “Neither character has a sense of humor; maybe that’s the hallmark of a psychopath. She smiles a few times, but it’s not a smile that will cheer you.”
Then there’s Westray (Brad Pitt), the philosophising and womanizing middleman who initially tries to warn The Counselor about the dangers of the world he seeks to enter.
“We don’t know quite what Westray does, apart from the fact he’s connection to the cartel with which The Counselor has made his deal,” says Scott. But whatever his motives and allegiances, Westray is nothing if not stylish. “We dressed him like country music legend Hank Williams,” with a cowboy jacket, padded shoulders, cowboy hat and boots, adds the director. “Westray is a bit of a dandy.”
Studio: Universal Pictures
Writer / Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt
Producers: Nick Wechsler, Steve Schwartz and Paula Mae Schwartz
Source: Press Notes
Image: Michael Fassbinder on the wrong side of a Mexican drug cartel in The Counselor