Exclusive: Coen Brothers Talk True Grit

An update on casting and their take on the tale.

by | October 27, 2009 | Comments

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.”