Jump to: Spoilers (4)
Michael Fassbender agreed to star in this as part of a two-picture deal. The next film would not be a sequel; instead the studio would fund his Assassin's Creed (2016) project.
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On August 20, 2012, Ridley Scott halted production of the film due to his brother Tony Scott's death. He canceled that week's shoot in order to travel to Los Angeles to be with his brother's family. Scott returned to London to resume production on September 3, 2012.
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Cameron Diaz's character Malkina is Argentinian in Cormac McCarthy's screenplay. The country of origin was changed to Barbados for the film. This decision was seemingly made to better fit Diaz' physical appearance to her character's ethnicity.
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Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem are a couple in real life but they do not share scenes in this movie.
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The film's main Counselor character remains nameless, as do a few other characters with speaking parts: The Blonde, The Diamond Dealer, The Priest, The Wireman, etc. And no one in the film goes by a complete first & last name.
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Except for some second unit footage, The Counselor (2013) was completely shot in Europe.
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This film is dedicated "In Memory of Matthew Baker" (as Matt Baker). Baker was the Second Assistant Director of Ridley Scott on The Counselor (2013), Prometheus (2012) and Robin Hood (2010) and died on March 4th 2013 during post-production. Ridley Scott dedicated his next film Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) to his late brother Tony Scott who died on August 19th 2012: The story of the biblical epic features two brothers as lead characters.
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Lead actor Michael Fassbender blamed in one interview the divisive reactions to The Counselor (2013) on his performance, but he also said, that he always does that when one of his films is not a success.
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Benedict Wong shot scenes for this film as Malkina's Hong Kong partner, but was cut from the finished film. Footage of his time on set can be seen on the Blu-ray's Special Features.
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The film was born out of Ridley Scott's failed attempts to bring Cormac McCarthy's novel "Blood Meridian" to the screen. McCarthy and Scott knew each other since then and when McCarthy offered the screenplay for The Counselor (2013) suddenly on the market, Scott didn't hesitate, met with McCarthy and bought the script.
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Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner were considered to play Reiner. Brad Pitt was also interested in the role before he was cast as Westray.
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John Leguizamo has a small part in this movie but his name does not appear in the cast credits at the end of the movie.
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Javier Bardem's wardrobe was largely made up of pieces of Versace.
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Cameron Diaz initially played Malkina with a thick Bajan accent, which tested poorly with preview audiences. 20th Century Fox subsequently requested that Diaz re-dub the majority of her lines, much to her chagrin. As a consequence of the dubbing, Diaz refused to promote the film upon its release.
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When Westray (played by Brad Pitt) tells of his encounter with a Mexican doorman who gave him the black eye, he ends by saying "but that was in another country and besides the wretch is dead", which is a quote from Christopher Marlowe's play "The Jew Of Malta", although there it's "wench" instead of "wretch".
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The first original screenplay written by Cormac McCarthy.
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In the refurbished nightclub the camera shifts focus from the Counselor to a large b/w photo of actor Steve McQueen in a sailor's uniform. It's a still from The Sand Pebbles (1966). McQueen shot Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway (1972) in El Paso, Texas where this scene of The Counselor (2013) is set and died nearby in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on November 7, 1980 after a risky and unsuccessful cancer surgery. Except from the still photo there is also a verbal reference to McQueen himself: He remarked once on his lifelong love of motor racing: "Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting." Screenwriter Cormac McCarthy adapted McQueen's well-known quote into the following line of dialogue: "Life is being in bed with you. Everything else is just waiting."
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Paula Thomas also contributed to the film's wardrobe by dressing Cameron Diaz with roughly 15 different outfits. "[It wasn't until] I read the script that I realized why [Scott] called upon me," said Thomas. "[Cameron's] character has a lot of elements of a Thomas Wylde woman. [She's] bold, edgy, modern. She's about wanting to be seen, as opposed to blending into the background."
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Malkina's cheetahs are named Raoul and Silvia.
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The outfit in the final scene of Cameron Diaz had no hood which was specifically added on her request.
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Édgar Ramírez and Brad Pitt, were two of the few people who had the opportunity to work with both Ridley Scott and Tony Scott before Tony's death in 2012. Édgar worked with Tony in Domino (2005) and Brad in Spy Game (2001).
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Natalie Portman was considered for the role of Laura.
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Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz previously starred together in "Vanilla Sky" (2001).
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The Bentley Continental cabrio the counsellor drives to Bardem's party at the beginning of the movie is the latest model (2011-present) while the one he drives to see Brad Pitt for the negotiation is the previous model (2003-2011).
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Westray's (Brad Pitt) sidewalk death scene was scaled back because it was deemed too violent by the MPAA. The full scene can be seen in the longer Unrated Version.
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Brad Pitt's breakthrough role was in Ridley Scott's Thelma & Louise (1991), as the sexy young cowboy who seduces one of the leads and steals her money. Reunited with Scott here, Pitt's cowboy character falls for a similar scam and is robbed of his savings. It's a gender-reversed variation of a similar scenario.
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At around 1h 22min, at the café where the Counselor (Michael Fassbender) finds out the shipment is missing, when the waitress asks the Counselor what he wants to order, he (semi) jokingly replies "Hemlock". Hemlock is a highly poisonous herbaceous flowering plant, famously known as the poison used to execute the Greek philosopher Socrates.
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Body count: 9.
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