Photo: Getty Images (left); Vintage (right)
In a fall of deflated box-office expectations, two movies that seem still to be on track to reap commercial success and awards attention are the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men and Ridley Scott’s American Gangster. Could the confluence of the Coens’ Cormac McCarthy movie and box-office success for Scott mean that Scott’s film of Blood Meridian, McCarthy’s famously violent 1985 Western, might finally get off the ground?
In an interview with Cinematic Happenings Under Development, Scott talks about the difficulties of shooting the movie, a screenplay of which has been written by Oscar winner William Monahan (The Departed):
te>It’s about the end and the turning point for the American Indian, but it’s a pocket in that time — and it’s a hard one because it’s a wonderful read, and I think it should be kept that way. When one makes a film, you’ve got to make it like the read. And [Blood Meridian] is nearly an abstract. That’s hard. And suddenly, because movies cost a lot to make, you’ve got to do it as a low-budget movie.
Q: That might force you to be an even more impressionistic filmmaker.
Scott: It’s harder. You want to hit the seasons, you need back-up, you need violence to do it properly … and some really careful, diligent shooting. It all rolls into the fact that it’s not a low-budget movie, not if you want to do the book justice. It’s like saying I can do Apocalypse Now cheaply. You’ll end up with the TV version.
“You need violence to do it properly,” he says, which makes us kind of laugh, because Blood Meridian is a book made up of almost nothing but violence. Violence is its medium. Saying you need violence to do a film of it properly is like saying you need paint to paint a picture properly. If this ever happens, Blood Meridian might be the best movie in years that we simply don’t have the stomach to sit all the way through.
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