Exclusive: Coen Brothers Talk True Grit

An update on casting and their take on the tale.

With the trades this morning carrying a casting announcement for the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit, RT decided to go straight to the horses' mouths and ask the siblings about the news and their plans for the story.

According to Variety, Jeff Bridges will play U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne in the original) while Matt Damon is in talks to play the lawman and Josh Brolin is up for the role of the killer. Joel confirmed the story to RT, "Yes, Jeff, Matt and Josh, that's true - something that you read in the trades that actually turns out to be true!"

The 1969 original film was loosely based on the novel by Charles Portis, and revolved around a young girl hiring Cogburn to track down the man who killed her father. According to Ethan, this new version will be much closer to the source material. "It's partly a question of point-of-view" the writer-director explained. "The book is entirely in the voice of the 14-year-old girl. That sort of tips the feeling of it over a certain way.

"I think it's much funnier than the movie was so I think unfortunately they lost a lot of humour in both the situations and in her voice. It also ends differently than the movie did. You see the main character - the little girl - 25 years later when she's an adult."

He continued, "Another way in which it's a little bit different from the movie - and maybe this is just because of the time the movie was made - is that it's a lot tougher and more violent than the movie reflects. Which is part of what's interesting about it."

Joel added, "I don't actually remember the movie too well, but do I remember it being much more of a standard Western, and the book is just an oddity. It's a very odd book."

Comments

David Dangelico

David Dangelico

Sounds great to me. I trust the Coen's with anything.

Also...this sounds very No Country for Old Men-esque...which is obviously a good sign!

Oct 27 - 09:13 AM

Beefmaster

Andy Bishop

I really loved the original, but I can see how it could have been very Hollywood-ized to become a standard western rather than a "gritty" novel. Since my opinions of the Coens are so mixed, I'll be really interested to see what they do with it.

Oct 27 - 09:53 AM

Beefmaster

Andy Bishop

I really loved the original, but I can see how it could have been very Hollywood-ized to become a standard western rather than a "gritty" novel. Since my opinions of the Coens are so mixed, I'll be really interested to see what they do with it.

Oct 27 - 09:55 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

You know, with the Coen Brothers its going to be an sickening slow gait through an amoralistic cinemascape where all the characters are all unlikable and unkind people who routinely commit unkind acts against other equally unkind and unlikable people.

Just like Sergio Leone didn't like people to look too beautiful in his movies, the Coen Brothers don't like "good" people in their films; Sergio Leone would give people scars or blemishes or zits or whatever to "real-ize" (to make believable as being real).

. . . and of course the girl is going to get shot and die and discarded into the same mass grave next to her father and the credits will scroll-up over an empty, pessimistically lit landscape.

aside from the levity of RASING ARIZONA, everything by the Coen Brothers celebrates the art of pessimism as opposed to an optimistic somewhat jovial outcome.

Oct 27 - 10:22 AM

Brendon F.

Brendon Flynn

Nesfaratu is such a forgiving character, so you obviously have the high moral ground.

Oct 27 - 11:16 AM

BUCK69

JIM GRONEFELD

Hey Gordo, I didn't recognize your post, what with the new avatar and the appropriate [almost] use of capitalization. But your take on the Coens is dead wrong. Life usually doesn't have a "jovial outcome" so their view is realistic, not pessimistic. Usually the bells that you hear are funeral bells, not angels getting their wings. In spite of that, there's a lot of humor in their movies [Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, even No Country For Old Men]. It's the thought-provoking kind, which is appropriate, because their movies are as well. I teach an ethics class from time to time and I've screened Fargo, Miller's Crossing and No Country For Old Men to demonstrate how people confront ethical dilemmas. I'm confident that their take on True Grit will be equally thought-provoking, as well as entertaining.

Oct 27 - 11:19 AM

Brendon F.

Brendon Flynn

Amen, Buck. I hate to see anyone characterize their work with such a heavy hand. Well said.

Oct 27 - 11:26 AM

BUCK69

JIM GRONEFELD

Thanks. Just to play the devil's advocate, the only real critical failure that the Coens have had was the remake of Ladykillers. The original, like True Grit, was considered a "classic."

Oct 27 - 01:13 PM

CFM

'schak Attack

I agree 100% with what BUCK69 said.

Oct 28 - 09:00 AM

K

KateBeckinsaleLover Clarke

Good point man, I was gonna say the same thing but you perfectly said what I wanted to say and more.

Oct 29 - 09:10 AM

Lord Naseby

Lord Naseby

I didn't care too much for the original and I definitely disagreed with John Wayne getting Best Actor for it. so I will be interested to see what the Coen Brothers do with it. They have been pretty good in the past for me.

Oct 27 - 10:39 AM

Brendon F.

Brendon Flynn

Nesfaratu is such a forgiving character, so you obviously have the high moral ground.

Oct 27 - 11:16 AM

BUCK69

JIM GRONEFELD

Hey Gordo, I didn't recognize your post, what with the new avatar and the appropriate [almost] use of capitalization. But your take on the Coens is dead wrong. Life usually doesn't have a "jovial outcome" so their view is realistic, not pessimistic. Usually the bells that you hear are funeral bells, not angels getting their wings. In spite of that, there's a lot of humor in their movies [Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, even No Country For Old Men]. It's the thought-provoking kind, which is appropriate, because their movies are as well. I teach an ethics class from time to time and I've screened Fargo, Miller's Crossing and No Country For Old Men to demonstrate how people confront ethical dilemmas. I'm confident that their take on True Grit will be equally thought-provoking, as well as entertaining.

Oct 27 - 11:19 AM

Brendon F.

Brendon Flynn

Amen, Buck. I hate to see anyone characterize their work with such a heavy hand. Well said.

Oct 27 - 11:26 AM

BUCK69

JIM GRONEFELD

Thanks. Just to play the devil's advocate, the only real critical failure that the Coens have had was the remake of Ladykillers. The original, like True Grit, was considered a "classic."

Oct 27 - 01:13 PM

CFM

'schak Attack

I agree 100% with what BUCK69 said.

Oct 28 - 09:00 AM

K

KateBeckinsaleLover Clarke

Good point man, I was gonna say the same thing but you perfectly said what I wanted to say and more.

Oct 29 - 09:10 AM

Brendon F.

Brendon Flynn

Amen, Buck. I hate to see anyone characterize their work with such a heavy hand. Well said.

Oct 27 - 11:26 AM

BUCK69

JIM GRONEFELD

Thanks. Just to play the devil's advocate, the only real critical failure that the Coens have had was the remake of Ladykillers. The original, like True Grit, was considered a "classic."

Oct 27 - 01:13 PM

vogonpoet

Harry Potter

I love the Coens, but the way Joel and Ethan describe the book makes me smile a little bit. It's funny, violent, and consistently odd. Hm, wonder what attracted the Coen Brothers to it?

Oct 27 - 11:54 AM

Salty Gritts

Josh McCrohan

If the Coens are attached to write and direct I'm always going to be on board. A great cast list as well, especially like the idea of them working with Jeff "The Dude" Bridges again, as well as Josh Brolin.

Oct 27 - 12:08 PM

Dave J

Dave J

1969 True Grit had alot of sarcastic humor which didn't seem was part of the original script, which was how The Duke was able to win his first Oscar. It was really the result of his performance that had really stood out for me.

It's really iinteresting to see that the Coen brothers had read the original story which True Grit was based on and to have them expressing their own version which explains that there version is obviously will be a Coens version and not a remake.

It's going to be interesting to see how the Coen brothers are going to pull this off since they have been doing well consistently with critics!!!

Oct 27 - 12:29 PM

BUCK69

JIM GRONEFELD

Thanks. Just to play the devil's advocate, the only real critical failure that the Coens have had was the remake of Ladykillers. The original, like True Grit, was considered a "classic."

Oct 27 - 01:13 PM

rt_hire_me

Teague Bates

I'm all for integrity and following your inner muse, but I hold out hope that someone convinces the Coens to redo the ending to NCFOM so that Llewelyn jumps out of a tree and breaks Javier's good arm in half. When I watch True Grit, whatever character Brolin plays, if he's in a cowboy hat, he's Llewelyn incarnate and he's out for sweet vengeance.

Oct 27 - 04:00 PM

Sunday A.

Sunday Avery

I'm not a fan of a 'True Grit' remake, even though I love the Cohen brothers' work. 'True Grit' has always been one of my favorite movies; why fix what isn't broken? This reminds me of a score of other 'remakes' Hollywood puts out to capitalize on an idea that worked then and viewers either won't remember, or are too 'mainstream' to watch the original. Sounds like a money ploy rather than a labor of love. I wouldn't be for remaking something like 'Citizen Kane' and I certainly don't support a re-do attempt at an arguably perfect movie. Replace John Wayne's performance? It's not going to happen.

Boo, Cohen brothers. Sometimes a movie is just too good to remake.

Oct 27 - 04:51 PM

Paul B.

Paul Boudreaux

I wouldn't call the Coen Brothers' film a "remake" just yet. I think a second adaptation of the book would be more appropriate. As odd as it may seem, the Coen Brothers might be onto something as they have actually read the book by Charles Portis. I read the book and then saw the movie circa '69 and there was a glaring difference between the two. As Joel Coen said, it is a very odd book. The book is told from the viewpoint of 14-year old Maddie Ross, a prematurely narrow-minded girl, who is far from a sympathetic character. In fact, none of the other characters in the story like her, and for good reason. Maddie's perspective on life, in which she finds fault in everything she sees, is so skewed that the things she says are unintentionally comic. That was lost in the movie because of the delivery and rewrite of the dialogue. However, the Coen's adaptation might make her obnoxious ramblings into a strong point of the film. So, I have high hopes about this film.

Also, someone asked, "why fix what isn't broken?" In fact, the weak point of the original film was the unfortunate acting debut of Glen Campbell, and it detracted from the film. Campbel put in such a poor performance he should have got an award for worst actor of the year. Instead, he received some obscure award for "Best Newcomer" and he quickly abandoned acting in short time.

Oct 27 - 07:33 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

Hopefully, Brolin won't look alot like he did in No Country because this film feels like in the No Country vein. Remember Eckhart in TDK and Thank You For Smoking?! that was distracting.

also, hopefully, Roger Deakins isnt busy. i mean, i'm a big fan of Emmanuel Lubezki(he's my fav DP). But nobody works with the Coens better than Deakins.

plus, what about Hail Caeser? i saw on IMDB that it will be their next film. perhaps, things have changed.

Oct 27 - 05:45 PM

Keyser Soze

Sam Padgett

TDK reminded me of Thank You For Smoking, too. Especially the end where the lobbyist gets half of his face burned when he falls asleep with a lit cigarette.

Oct 29 - 12:30 AM

King Kubrick

Travis Earl

Sign me up. No Country was the best film of the decade (that just happened!) and True Grit will mine the same thematic territory. Plus it's going to reunite the Cohen's and the dude and josh brolin. I sense another classic!

Oct 27 - 05:48 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

@King Kubrick

looks like "the best film of the decade" talk has begun and will continue on the comming "post" to come. LOL...

personally, I don't agree with you. No Country is a great film, that's a fact. and i think there are alot of great films this decade. so "the best" will be determine by "what is your favorite from the best". if you asked my "best film of the decade", well, i just think there's something masterful about "There Will Be Blood".

Oct 27 - 06:05 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

@King Kubrick

looks like "the best film of the decade" talk has begun and will continue on the comming "post" to come. LOL...

personally, I don't agree with you. No Country is a great film, that's a fact. and i think there are alot of great films this decade. so "the best" will be determine by "what is your favorite from the best". if you asked my "best film of the decade", well, i just think there's something masterful about "There Will Be Blood".

Oct 27 - 06:05 PM

kk k.

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Oct 27 - 06:09 PM

Paul B.

Paul Boudreaux

I wouldn't call the Coen Brothers' film a "remake" just yet. I think a second adaptation of the book would be more appropriate. As odd as it may seem, the Coen Brothers might be onto something as they have actually read the book by Charles Portis. I read the book and then saw the movie circa '69 and there was a glaring difference between the two. As Joel Coen said, it is a very odd book. The book is told from the viewpoint of 14-year old Maddie Ross, a prematurely narrow-minded girl, who is far from a sympathetic character. In fact, none of the other characters in the story like her, and for good reason. Maddie's perspective on life, in which she finds fault in everything she sees, is so skewed that the things she says are unintentionally comic. That was lost in the movie because of the delivery and rewrite of the dialogue. However, the Coen's adaptation might make her obnoxious ramblings into a strong point of the film. So, I have high hopes about this film.

Also, someone asked, "why fix what isn't broken?" In fact, the weak point of the original film was the unfortunate acting debut of Glen Campbell, and it detracted from the film. Campbel put in such a poor performance he should have got an award for worst actor of the year. Instead, he received some obscure award for "Best Newcomer" and he quickly abandoned acting in short time.

Oct 27 - 07:33 PM

David W.

John Warner

Can't wait! "A Serious Man" was their latest masterpiece.

Oct 27 - 07:45 PM

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