Cormac McCarthy doesn't grant many interviews, but the Wall Street Journal's John Jurgensen got him to talk about The Road and the film adaptation last week.
Unlike his appearance on Oprah a couple of years ago, when he seemed uncomfortable and reticent to be there, McCarthy was relaxed and chatty this time, praising The Road director John Hillcoat for capturing the book's spirit, dismissing the widely-held belief that his novel Blood Meridian is unfilmable and revealing a few details about his upcoming book, which will focus on a female protagonist (unusual for McCarthy).
Here are a couple of excerpts from Jurgensen's excellent Q&A:
WSJ: Why don't you sign copies of "The Road"
CM: There are signed copies of the book, but they all belong to my son John, so when he turns 18 he can sell them and go to Las Vegas or whatever. No, those are the only signed copies of the book.
WSJ: How many did you have?
CM: 250. So occasionally I get letters from book dealers or whoever that say, "I have a signed copy of the 'The Road,'" and I say, "No. You don't."
WSJ: What was your relationship like with the Coen brothers on "No Country for Old Men"?
CM: We met and chatted a few times. I enjoyed their company. They're smart and they're very talented. Like John, they didn't need any help from me to make a movie.
WSJ: "All the Pretty Horses" was also turned into a film [starring Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz]. Were you happy with the way it came out?
CM: It could've been better. As it stands today it could be cut and made into a pretty good movie. The director had the notion that he could put the entire book up on the screen. Well, you can't do that. You have to pick out the story that you want to tell and put that on the screen. And so he made this four-hour film and then he found that if he was actually going to get it released, he would have to cut it down to two hours.
JH: Didn't you start "No Country for Old Men" as a screenplay?
CM: Yeah, I wrote it. I showed it to a few people and they didn't seem to be interested. In fact, they said, "That will never work." Years later I got it out and turned it into a novel. Didn't take long. I was at the Academy Awards with the Coens. They had a table full of awards before the evening was over, sitting there like beer cans. One of the first awards that they got was for Best Screenplay, and Ethan came back and he said to me, "Well, I didn't do anything, but I'm keeping it."