In most cases, I am not one to watch remakes of classic films. I do have a few exceptions, such as ‘Sabrina’ (1954, 1995), ‘Little Women'(1994, 1949), and ‘3:10 to Yuma'(2007, 1957). In December, the Coen brothers are releasing a remake of the John Wayne masterpiece, ‘True Grit’. For this newer adaptation of the classic book by Charles Portis, the Coen brothers will follow the book more closely and have made it from the viewpoint of the young girl, Mattie Ross, as the book was written.
In the new adaptation, U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn, is played by Jeff Bridges. Originally played by John Wayne, it was the only film for which Wayne won an Oscar. True Grit showed Wayne at his very best and was the first of two films in which Wayne portrayed the one-eyed drunken and obscene Marshall, Rooster Cogburn. Personally, it is hard for me to imagine anyone stepping into a John Wayne role. However, if anyone can do it well, it would be Jeff Bridges.
Jeff Bridges, son to acting legend Beau Bridges, has been in the film business for more than three decades. Well known for films such as ‘The Big Lebowski’ and ‘The Mirror Has Two Faces’, Bridges has only gotten better over the years. His increasing talent is evident in one of his latest films, ‘Crazy Heart’ in which Bridges plays Bad Black, an alcoholic has-been country singer who falls in love while trying to make a comeback and do it sober.
Joining Bridges is Academy Award Winner, Matt Damon as Le Boeuf, the Texas Ranger who joins in the hunt for Chaney. I am actually happy to be seeing Damon in this role because he has come into his own. With ‘Good Will Hunting’ and the ‘Oceans 11’ trilogy under his belt, Damon has racked up the box office numbers. However, his boyish good looks and his genuine good-old-boy personality will supplement this new character type well.
Josh Brolin will also be joining the cast in the Coen brothers’ version of ‘True Grit’. Recently in ‘Jonas Hex’, Brolin reiterated his talent. Now, Brolin takes on the role as the evil villain Chaney that killed Mattie’s father and is now being hunted by the most unlikely trio in the West. Brolin in this role will be deliciously fun to watch.
Newcomer, Hailee Steinfeld, plays the role of Mattie Ross. Mattie is a fourteen year old girl whose father has been killed and she is determined to have his death avenged, even if she has to go after him herself. Steinfeld is the product of nearly 15,000 auditions for the role. I am glad the Coens picked a green actress to play this role; just watching the trailers makes me like her. She reminds me of a young Jodie Foster with her southern accent and fierce determination.
I predict many Oscar nominations for this adaptation of ‘True Grit’. The Coen brothers are a great team and rarely have they directed a film that I have not thoroughly enjoyed.