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The Counsellor

Date posted: 08.11.2013

Renowned film-maker Ridley Scott teams up with Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy for the new witty and dark humour thriller The Counsellor, shot on location across London and starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt.

Released on 15 November, The Counsellor was filmed in London during the Olympic year, transforming Heathrow airport and apartments and bars in Hackney to look like the film's Texan settings.

Filming clashed with the Paralympic Marathon, an event described as the most complex logistical operation in peacetime London.

Pulling it off without issue was a major achievement made possible by the combined efforts of a number of agencies including Film London, the British Film Commission, the Mayor’s office, LOCOG and the borough film offices of Hackney and City of London.

The Counsellor:  A thriller with dark humour

Described by writer Cormac McCarthy as "about people who get involved in something they should have stayed out of," The Counsellor presents its cautionary tale with wit, violence and pathos.  

"All the classic Cormac themes are in The Counsellor," says producer Nick Wechsler. "A view that humanity is not intrinsically good...but people always have choices, and we often make the wrong choices. Choices have consequences, and you sometimes live and die with them."

Fassbender stars as the eponymous Counsellor, a respected lawyer looking for a way to make quick cash. When his one-time illegal business deal falls out of his hands and into the dark world of drug trafficking, his arrogance allows things to spiral out of control, with disastrous consequences.

As McCarthy explains, "He's a decent man who gets up one morning and decides to do something wrong.  And that's all it takes.  Some people can live hideous lives, do everything wrong, and die peacefully in their beds at age 102. The Counsellor is not one of them."

The London Shoot

The film was extensively shot around London the same summer as the city's 2012 Olympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The team used more than 15 locations in the capital, transforming them into U.S and Mexican locales.

The number of locations used at such a busy time for the city is quite impressive - an apartment in Clerkenwell served as The Counsellor's El Paso condo, Hoxton Bar and Grill doubled as a Texan bar while Elephant and Castle's Ministry of Sound, and Shoreditch's McQueen bar became underworld character Reiner's (Bardem) nightclub and private club respectively.

Film London helped them every step of the way, with Executive Producer Mark Huffman saying, "Film London's support has been invaluable in our negotiations with landmark locations in the capital."

The Counsellor is released by 20th Century Fox (US) and Scott Free Productions (UK) on Friday 15 November.

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