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Cormac McCarthy's Books Inspired More Movies Than You Likely Thought

Devastating news rocked the literary world on June 13, 2023, when it was announced that prolific author and screenwriter Cormac McCarthy had passed away at the age of 89. A Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner, McCarthy was revered as perhaps the greatest American author of our era . As such, it's no surprise that plenty of his novels were adapted for the big screen, the most famous being Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country for Old Men," which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture in 2008.

While "No Country for Old Men" is certainly the most high-profile adaptation to come from McCarthys immense volume of work, his books have actually inspired several other movies you might be less familiar with. One such film is the Viggo Mortensen-led "The Road" from 2009, which adapts Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name and follows an unnamed father (Mortensen) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they traverse a depraved post-apocalyptic United States –- omitting some of the more controversial scenes from the book. The 2000 romantic western "All the Pretty Horses" is also adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novel, as is James Franco's 2013 crime drama "Child of God."

While "The Road" achieved a remarkably positive critical reception, both "Child of God" and "All the Pretty Horses" received mostly negative reviews, and all three failed to live up to the box office success of "No Country for Old Men."

McCarthys Blood Meridian was being developed into a feature film at the time of his death

Although no other Cormac McCarthy novels have been adapted into film as of yet, it's worth noting that McCarthy himself actually penned several other projects as a screenwriter. McCarthy wrote the script for the critically-panned Ridley Scott thriller "The Counselor" and the HBO television film "The Sunset Limited," the latter of which adapted his 2006 play of the same name and starred Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.

More recently, it was reported that New Regency would be adapting the author's hyper-violent magnum opus "Blood Meridian" into a feature film, with "The Road" director John Hillcoat signed on to direct (via Deadline). On June 1, 2023 (just 12 days before McCarthy's death) Hillcoat made an appearance on The Playlist's "Bingeworthy" podcast, where he revealed that McCarthy himself was working on a screenplay adaptation of the novel. "Over the years we discussed how [McCarthy] had lost control of 'Blood Meridian,' and it was a mutual task to get it back because he knew how to crack it," said Hillcoat. "He started an adaptation himself. We talked about how to crack it, really, because it is a very ambitious book to crack, as you can imagine." 

Though the fate of "Blood Meridian" may be uncertain after the devastating loss of Cormac McCarthy, it's clear that Hollywood still has a vested interest in adapting his work –- and fans of the prolific novelist ought to expect more of Cormac McCarthy's novels to hit the big screen in the future.