CORMAC MCCARTHY ON THE ROAD: 'I HAVE TO TAKE A DUMP'

01.07.10 9 years ago 24 Comments

Well this is a fun story.  Joe Penhall adapted Cormac McCarthy’s The Road for the film. He recently published an essay in the Guardian about what it was like attending a private screening in Albuquerque, for which McCarthy himself had driven his silver Cadillac up from Santa Fe (sounds like a Bugs Bunny premise, doesn’t it?).

Finally the three of us sank into the leather armchairs, a discreet distance from one another, and the film began. Immediately, McCarthy began scribbling notes on a reporter’s notepad. [Director John] Hillcoat and I eyed each other nervously. By the end, he had pages of the damned things. He stood up and stretched, yawned and said absolutely nothing as the credits rolled. Finally Hillcoat asked: “Well?” “I have to go to the restroom,” was the impassive response, and he was gone.

We were immediately sure he despised the movie more than any of the other Hollywood McCarthy adaptations – and there had been a few stinkers. We watched the clock and waited. Either the bathroom was a long way away or McCarthy had flown the coop. We looked out the window for the silver Cadillac – reassuringly still in the car park. Then he reappeared, studied the floor like a man who had dropped his car keys down a storm drain, sighed and said: “It’s really good.” Hillcoat, who had been beaten over the head with the specter of failure by just about everybody involved up to this point, couldn’t contain his doubts: “Really? You’re not just saying that?” “Listen,” he reassured us, “I didn’t drive all this way to blow smoke up your ass.”At seven in the evening we said our goodbyes and piled back into the Caddy for a lift to the airport. I asked McCarthy to sign my copy of The Road and he refused; the only copies he will sign are for young John. I asked him to sign my script and again he refused. “Why the hell would I want to do that? It’s got nothing to do with me.” Instead, he signed my copy of Blood Meridian. By this time we’d all had a good few drinks, so it was with some concern that I later read the inscription: “From your friend Cormac, Albuquerque, November 2002.” It was November 2008. I turned to Hillcoat, happier than I’d ever seen him in the economy seat beside me: “Jesus Christ, John, how much did we drink? He’s got to drive back to Santa Fe in the dark – if he winds up in a ditch we’ll be responsible. We’ll have killed America’s greatest living writer.” It would have been the final nail in our coffin. [via Movieline]

It’s funny how British people call parking lots “car parks.”  It makes it sound like your Volkswagon’s just out there  throwing the frisbee in the grass, or there’s a Suburu Outback walking her five dogs.  And of course the Miata and the Nissan Cube are loitering in the cruisy restroom.  Man, this might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever written.

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