All the Pretty Horses
How did Thornton — a low-key guy who’s directed only movies from his own scripts — approach one of the most popular novels of the last decade? ”I apologized to [Cormac McCarthy] in advance,” he admits. ”I just said, ‘Look, we’re going to screw your book up’…. He’s totally fine with that and understands that he’s given it up to Hollywood.”
What McCarthy’s given up is a textured coming of age Western, set in the 1940s, in which John Grady (Damon, in a role originally offered to Leonardo DiCaprio) and his sidekick (Thomas) head south of the Texas border seeking adventure. The two wind up taming horses on a ranch where John falls for the boss’ spirited daughter (Cruz).
At one point during production, ”the heads of Sony came to visit and Matt Damon and I staged a phony argument,” Thornton recalls. ”I was literally chasing Matt down the road and telling him to get out of there, I would put a stand-in on the horse! They bought it all the way until finally the whole crew turned toward them and said, ‘Welcome to New Mexico!”’ GOOD SIGN Thornton has reteamed with much of his key ”Sling Blade” crew. THEN AGAIN It’s taken years to get ”Horses” out of the gate.