Putting a new spin on ’True Grit’
While it may be easy to write off the new film True Grit as merely a remake of the John Wayne classic Western from 1969, consider that this new version of the Charles Portis novel includes Academy Award winners Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and directors Joel and Ethan Coen, Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin and a star turn this year by a teenage girl who has barely acted in film or television before.
In case you aren’t familiar with the story, 13-year old Mattie Ross (newcomer Hailee Steinfeld) wants to avenge the death of her father who was killed by a drifter named Tom Chaney (Brolin). Mattie, with enough gumption and determination that most adults, takes it upon herself to hire alcoholic marshal Rooster Cogburn (Bridges, in the role originated by The Duke) to help her track down Chaney. Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Damon) tags along with Mattie and Cogburn for a share of the reward money in capturing Chaney.
Jeff Bridges: why Rooster?
While this all sounds like serious business, the Coen Brothers put their signature spin of humor in the fabric of this film along with sharply written characters and a solid story that makes True Grit one of the best offerings this holiday season.
What made Bridges, fresh off winning the Best Actor Academy Award earlier this year for his role in Crazy Heart, take on the iconic role in a remake of such a classic film?
"I was curious why these guys wanted to make that movie again and I think it was Ethan who I talked to first and he corrected me and he said ’No, we’re not making that movie. We’re making the book as if there wasn’t any movie ever made kind of thing.’ We were just referring to the book and I wasn’t familiar with the book."
Once Bridges read the Portis novel, his sense of excitement sparked. "I saw what they were talking about because it’s such a wonderful book and it suited [the Coens] so well, I thought. And, God, what a great character." Bridges must have done something right because he recently received a Screen Actor’s Guild nomination for Best Actor and is a likely nominee for an Oscar for a second year running.
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Watch the trailer to True Grit: