We’re about 10 years into the much-rumoured development of a film adaptation of Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy’s most famous novel. The track record of the project has been terrible. Its writers and producers seem stuck at the script stage. But that’s for a good reason: Blood Meridian is probably unfilmable. It’s not because of its vistas of gruesome violence, its historical tale of US imperialism in the mid-19th century southwest or its narrative lyricism untranslatable to film. Rather, it’s because the novel’s religious vision is terrifying, and the casting required to capture it probably impossible. Blood Meridian tells the story of a protagonist known only as "The kid". He joins John Joel Glanton’s real-life gang of American mercenaries circa 1849-50. Although hired by the Mexican states of Sonora and Chihuahua to combat the Apaches and Comanches with whom they struggled for territory, the notorious gang soon began killing and collecting "receipts" — scalps — from other, peacef...

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