We talk to Michael Fassbender about the legendary author's first screenplay, ''The Counselor''

Since early in his writing career, Cormac McCarthy has often been compared to that towering figure of Southern literature, William Faulkner. And like Faulkner, who moved to Hollywood in the 1930s to drink with director Howard Hawks and put words into the mouth of Humphrey Bogart, the 80-year-old McCarthy has finally written his first produced screenplay. The Counselor (out Oct. 25) stars Michael Fassbender as an avaricious lawyer who becomes involved with some very unsavory characters and finds himself drowning in a world of drug running, criminal enterprise, and murder. ”I don’t think he’s that innocent,” says Fassbender. ”He’s a product of our times. He wants all the nice toys and the nice accessories, and by being a counselor he gets to see people with a lot of wealth. It’s the perfect environment for temptation, and he gets tempted, crossing into another realm of the law than the one he’s used to.”

Fassbender reteams with Prometheus director Ridley Scott, as well as Inglourious Basterds costar Brad Pitt, while Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz round out the impressive cast. Like many of McCarthy’s novels, The Counselor takes place along the U.S.-Mexico border, and contains his trademark penchant for emotional brutality and grisly, sunbaked violence from which no character is ever truly safe. ”Once the wheels are set in motion, there’s very little one can do to stop them,” says Fassbender, who likens the script’s tone to the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winning adaptation of McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men. ”And certain people end up getting ground up.”

The Counselor
  • Movie
  • 111 minutes