More True Grit Photos and the Coen Brothers on Their First Western
12.19.10 by Ryan
True Grit started its existence as a novel written by Charles Portis in 1968. A movie version followed a year later and earned John Wayne his first and only Oscar for his work as U.S. Marshall Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn. Wayne reprised the role in the sequel, 1975's Rooster Cogburn, but Warren Oates assumed the Cogburn role for the 1978 TV movie True Grit: A Further Adventure.
The latest version returns to the Portis novel and was directed and adapted by Joel and Ethan Coen, with Jeff Bridges stepping into the role of Cogburn. The Coens told Comingsoon that their True Grit was "without reference to the other version," though Ethan admitted it was tempting to go back and watch the 1969 movie since this was the first true Western the brothers had ever attempted.
We've done a few period things but horses are their own particular problem that was a big deal, bigger than you might imagine in terms of this movie. O Brother, Where Art Thou? was a precursor to this in that was largely an exterior movie so we dealt with some weather, but this was much more difficult in terms of weather and even the degree to which we had even more exterior stuff. Actually, the main difficulty with this movie and nothing had really prepared us for that. We hadn't that much weather anxiety. We had some in No Country for Old Men.
The weather is evident in eighteen new photos from the movie, which follows a young girl (Hailee Steinfeld) who enlists the help of Bridges' Cogburn and a Texas Ranger (Matt Damon) to track down her father's killer (Josh Brolin). Joel described True Grit as a "family movie."
This movie was really designed to be a movie that could be seen ... you could almost call it a family movie (chuckles). It's something that we very much wanted to appeal to adults at the same time that we wanted it to be something ... it's a movie about a 14-year-old girl. We wanted 14-year-old girls to be able to see it, we want younger kids to be able to go see it in general, so it's an adventure story. That's sort of the hallmark of the kind of movie that it is. In that respect, we're hoping that it has that potential audience.
Part of the appeal, Ethan says, is the movie's humor, which was easily found in the Portis novel.
The book is quite funny. In fact, there's loads of stuff in the book that obviously never made it into the movie 'cause you can't get everything in or because it involves literary aspects of the book that are untranslatable, but the book is quite funny and we certainly wanted to reflect that sense of humor in the adaptation.
After True Grit, the Coens say they might queue up another adaptation. "We've been talking about adapting The Bible but that's been done once before, too," joked Ethan.