Hollywood bets big on McCarthy

Scott, Hillcoat prepare to adapt novelist's work

Cormac McCarthy is back in the saddle again.

Though the first film based one of the writer’s novels — 2000’s “All the Pretty Horses” — suffered critically and commercially, the author’s work is again riding high in Hollywood.

The Coen brothers‘ adaptation of McCarthy’s neo-Western “No Country for Old Men” opens wide next month, hot on the spurs of two timely Westerns not of McCarthy’s pen, “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.”

And two more McCarthy films are on the horizon for 2009. Scott Rudin is set to produce the period “Blood Meridian” for director Ridley Scott; while Mark Cuban‘s 2929 productions will pave popular postapocalyptic Pulitzer-winner “The Road” for John Hillcoat, whose last film, the Oz-set oater “The Proposition” had a distinctly McCarthyish feel.

Of course, for popular attention it doesn’t hurt to have Oprah Winfrey in your corner.

While the hermetic novelist typically goes for years between interviews, he checked in for a June 5 chat with Winfrey in conjunction with the host’s selection of “The Road” for her book club.

The pic and interview, natch, resulted in a big boost in McCarthy readership: the paperback saw an initial print run of 950,000 copies in March when Oprah announced the choice, and has been back to press 13 times since.