Adapting Blood Meridian?


I just found out that James Franco is set to direct the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian which is the most violent novel I’ve ever read.

So I pose the obvious questions: how will he pull it off? Who will play The Judge? What will the rating boards think? Just how many scalpings can an audience endure?

Blood Meridian was the first McCarthy book I read — it was assigned in a college course — and by the end of it I was pretty much numb to anything, be them flirtatious glances or front page atrocities. We planned to read it in tandem with a screening of Clint Eastwood’s western High Plains Drifter but, at the last minute, the teacher couldn’t screen it because of the not very ambiguous rape scene in the movie that was presided over by the midget mayor.

Still it was fine for us to read three hundred pages of scalpings and rapings and hangings and beatings and various other American-style barbarisms.

I wish Franco the best of luck but sometimes I wonder if certain books aren’t just film-proof. (Although Passolini did manage to adapt Marquis de Sade’s One Hundred Twenty Days of Sodom and turn it into an allegory about fascism — or so I’ve heard yet concern for my sanity has stalled from seeing it.)

Michael Berger is a barely-published writer and book-seller living in San Francisco. He is one of the founding Corsairs of the Iron Garters Bike Club and is currently pursuing a degree in applied pataphysics. He sometimes eats oatmeal for dinner. More from this author →