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Coen Brothers Talk Casting and Storyline for True Grit Remake

by
October 27, 2009
Source: IGN

True Grit - Coen Brothers

Just yesterday we tipped you off about the recent talks of Matt Damon and Josh Brolin joining Jeff Bridges in the Coen Brothers remake of the classic 1969 western True Grit that starred John Wayne. After it was announced IGN took it upon themselves to get this info straight from the horse's mouth, and the Coens went even further to offer up some more details on the story and poke a little fun at the entertainment trades (Variety / Hollywood Reporter). On the casting announcements, without hesitation, Joel Coen said: "Yes. Jeff, Matt and Josh, that's true -- something that you read in the trades that actually turns out to be true!"

What the trades haven't seemed to pick up or clarify, however, is the presentation style that this story will take on and how it is different from the original film in its more accurate portrayal of the source material (the 1968 Charles Portis novel of the same name). So in the interview, Ethan decided to clear things up:

"It's partly a question of point-of-view. 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 [the book is] 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."

"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."

The Coens definitely have enough experience in injecting some gratuitous violence into the most serene landscapes (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) so we can see how this is a comfortable fit for the directing duo. Joel went on to comment on how he doesn't recall the film capturing the quirks that the book contains:

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

Oddities, violence and the Coens. Sounds like a triple threat and I just can't wait to see the first frames of film once it goes into production. From the sounds of it, the Coens will be going all the way back to the book for their adaptation, focusing more on the violence and the comedy, less on the John Wayne side of things. Even though they may not win an Oscar this year (though they definitely deserve to win for A Serious Man), the Coens are certainly still at the top of their game making movie after moving with no break. And it sounds like True Grit is already something to look forward to. We'll keep you updated on any further developments.

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  • Hattori Hanzo
    After reading this all I hear is 'Cha-Ching' at the box office for True Grit.
  • nelson
    Saoirse Ronan for the girl imo
  • Brad
    I hope they film it in the Ozarks of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma and get the look of the book right.
  • rudeguy
    I would not be calling this a remake if they are just making another interpretation of the book. Can't wait to see it.
  • tunaboat charley
    I certainly hope they do this project. The original was nothing more than a vehicle for a tired assed, over the hill, self worshipping egomainiac. John Wayne's entertainment value went to zero once I entered early teens. Maybe this time the STORY will be what is most important.
  • -Peter-
    I am extremely interested in this. I still need to see A Serious Man...
  • sam
    awesome
  • rowdy
    when coppola made dracula or when branagh made frankenstien it was awsome because the origenal movies castrated the books they wherent just "a little bit differant" its stupid to remake a classic just to load it up with more blood and laughs and really what is it with these film makers wanting to make "better" adaptations of books that have already been made into at least half way desent movies i mean is there a shortage of novels or something or do they just not realize someone beat them to the punch
  • Jeff
    If this reinvigorates interest in the work of Charles Portis, I wonder if we can expect a remake of NORWOOD?
  • SC
    great news! and ethan...not trying to be a dick or anything but you made a typo :) "the Coens are certainly still at the top of their game making movie after MOVING with no break."
  • Corran Horn
    Rowdy: So what? If they end up making a better movie, more power to them. Plus, I'd take the Dude over the Duke any day of the week.
  • jeff
    Wow... just think how different Rio Bravo and The Sons of Katie Elder would have been if it had been The Dude instead of The Duke...
  • Bo
    Again, I compliment you on your superb web. It really is the best film site I've come across. So I thank you for that. But once again, I find myself disagreeing with your personal opinions and/or assessments. This time I wonder why you would say the Coen's 'have experience injecting "gratuitous" violence into the most serene landscapes (Fargo and No Country For Old Men)'. It's the choice of 'gratuitous' where you go astray; especially in referencing No Country For Old Men. That's the whole point of the book and the film. That this is not a country for old men; or for anybody else for that matter because of the fact regarding all the heavy and (gratuitous) violence that has become a way of life here. So the Coen's were not 'injecting gratuitous violence' into the film. They were making a film about gratuitous violence. A huge difference, wouldn't you agree? Keep up the good work on your site. I very much enjoy reading what you find out about all the projects being developed and made. It has been many years since I saw El Topo when it first came out. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories of viewing that film way back when I was probably your age.
  • I've recently been going back and watching all of the Coen films one by one, first time viewings and revisits and have to say, they always own their material. An odd western with dark humor....! At the top of their game, I don't think there is any way this won't be another Coen classic.
  • xerxex
    careful what you say tunaboat charley because you never know there could be some die-hard Wayne lovers on this board.
  • Robert Ham
    Yes, John Wayne is very beloved by most of the world, and you can include me in that group. He was a great star.
  • Linda L
    OK, Ridgway Colorado, the original filming location is ready for this, esp since I love the Coens. But, come on, there are many who say there is no reason to remake it. Maybe Joel and Ethan need to re-visit the original and listen to the beautiful dialogue of Marguerite Roberts. Then they might re-think their motives for this re-make. Anyway, I say BRING IT ON! The book is a gem.
  • Linda L
    Oh, and bring back Kim Darby in a cameo, just so we can see her again.
  • S.V
    In response to the comment made by tunaboat charley, you said "John Wayne's entertainment value went to zero once I entered early teens".........I think that pretty much says it all. I don't think I've ever met a teenager who wasn't more enlightened than the rest of the world.
  • TG
    Bring back Goodtime Glen Campbell for the role of LaBeouf!!@
  • SlashBeast
    I find it funny how most of the people crying about a lack of originality all seem to have disappeared. The Coen bros. suck and this is just going to be a purposeless and dull movie like all their others.
  • SS
    I can't wait to see this remake! Has anyone heard where they may be filming True Grit? Any word what locations they're are scouting?
  • Dingey
    I'm with Jeff--I'd love to see them tackle any of the Portis stuff. Such an underrated, hilarious, strange writer, and the first "true grit" movie does absolutely NO justice to the book. Love the coens, love portis, this is a match made in heaven to me.
  • amber
    My name's Amber and I have a callback for this movie today 😀
  • Linda L
    Hey Amber, good for you. Give us the scoop when you get back from the call-back.
  • Linda
    Personally I think they should cast an unknown. But a talented unknown. It's going to be so critical to cast that part. I saw Rebekah Kennedy auditioned with a call back and I think she'd be amazing! At least she has experience.
  • Lisa
    Grew up with the DUKE and loved every nostalgic moment of it. Like it or not, TRUE GRIT is a classic and needs to be left as such. As for making a new film that is a closer interpretation of the book, no problem but title it something other than TRUE GRIT to avoid the comparisons and establish it as a new work rather than a remake trying to cash in on a known work held closely in the hearts of many.
  • L.
    Thet should cast an unknown for the role of Madie - to bad the cut off in nashville for the open call was ages 14-16 Kiera Gorman would have been amazing in that role - she can play a young person or and older age
  • Bruce Kettler
    True Grit? I love the book. I taught it to freshman high school students many times. I can't wait for the movie. BTW, I know the name of the skeleton in the snake pit. Do you?
  • L.
    great book and kudos for taking on such a challenge - remaking of a classic - hope it goes well!
  • L.
    great book and kudos for taking on such a challenge - remaking of a classic - hope it goes well!
  • Lara
    I auditioned for the role of Mattie last week :) I get notified if I have a callback over the weekend.
  • L.
    They are not looking in the right places for a Maddie - she's living a few minutes south of nashville, Tn.
  • 143Libby
    They looked around Nashville "L"......obviously they didn't find her because they're still looking. Well as of now they're through with casting calls and have stopped recieving audition tapes. Looks like we'll here soon who the star of the new Coen's movie will be!
  • Miss Priss
    Filming will start in April in my parents' hometown of Granger, TX!
  • Richter
    Live near Granger, and drove downtown yesterday to check it out filming.. It's amazing!! SO glad they brought it to our small town :) :)
  • joe
    It seems odd to me to remake a movie when somebody won an Oscar in the original. I read the book and watched the movie as a teenager, and I thought, other than the Colorado mountains, it was closer to the book than most Hollywood movies get to their original stories. Wayne was very good in it. Marshall Cogburn is supposed to be over the hill and experiencing burn out. I have seen Glen Campbell in an interview laugh at his own expense and say he was the guy who ruined "True Grit". He was bad in it. In the book Portis wrote dialog with no contractions in it and it seemed especially stilted with Campbell trying to speak it. But Kim Darby handled it ok, and Wayne was allowed to round some of it off. My favorite part of the movie was outlaw Robert Duvall yelling out at John Wayne, " I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man."
  • sleepy
    today, filming just north of Bastrop, probably on Steiner Ranch.

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