EXCLUSIVE: Back in February, Deadline revealed that Ridley Scott was aiming high for a nemesis to play alongside Michael Fassbender in The Counselor, with Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem on the wish list. I’m told now that Scott is on the verge of getting both actors into the movie. There are rumors swirling that Angelina Jolie is in discussions to play the female lead but that is less solidified. They’re all in talks for a film that starts production late June. Fox is negotiating to distribute, which was expected because of Scott Free’s first look deal that gave the studio first crack at the package. If all this works out, I can’t imagine Fox lets this one get away.
It has been a charmed fast track for this project ever since it was first shown to producers Nick Wechsler and Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz, who adapted McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Road. They took McCarthy’s first spec script off the market quickly. Scott sparked to it and agreed to make it his next film after Prometheus, and he soon had that scifi film’s star, Fassbender, aboard to play the title role of a respected lawyer who thinks he can dip a toe into the drug business without getting sucked down. It is a bad decision and he tries to hang on to survive it. It has been called No Country For Old Men on steroids.
Bardem won the Academy Award for playing the villain in that movie, and Pitt, who is in discussions to play a character named West Ray, would re-team with Scott for the first time since that director launched his career in Thelma & Louise. Scott and Jolie have been collaborating on a biopic of Gertrude Bell, and that led to discussions about The Counselor. It also helps that she and Pitt can be in the same proximity, as they generally don’t work at the same time.