Col lassos McCarthy’s border trio

Seven-figure deal brings more 'Pretty Horses'

With “All the Pretty Horses” expected to go before the cameras near year’s end, Columbia Pictures has struck a seven-figure purchase for the film rights to the remaining two titles in Cormac McCarthy’s Border trilogy, of which “Pretty Horses” was the first.

Eyeing at least one sequel to “Horses,” the studio brought under one roof “The Crossing,” the second in the trilogy published in 1994, and “Cities of the Plain,” the final installment, which Knopf will publish in June.

Like its predecessor, “The Crossing” tells the tale of a young American rancher living near the Mexican border just before and during World War II, when the old West is haltingly approaching the modern age while Mexico is being torn apart by revolution.

Set approximately 10 years after the first book, “Crossing” is the story of Billy Parham and his younger brother Boyd, and is structured around three roundtrip crossings that Billy makes from New Mexico into Mexico. Each trip tests Billy as he must try to salvage something once he fails in his original goal. On both his first and last venture, he attempts, against all obstacles, to maintain his integrity and to be true to his moral obligations.

“Cities” is understood to repatriate under the central theme the main character in “Horses” (to be played by Matt Damon) and his counterpart in “Crossing.”

Columbia Pictures and Miramax are teaming to make “All the Pretty Horses,” which Billy Bob Thornton will helm from Ted Tally’s adaptation. Mike Nichols will produce.

Film is scheduled for late 1998 or early 1999.

ICM’s Rosalie Swedlin brokered McCarthy’s deal on behalf of her Gotham counterpart, Amanda Urban.

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