Reading the Screen: Truer Grit?
Posted by: David Pitt
Joel and Ethan Coen, as you probably know, are the talented writing-directing team behind such great movies as Blood Simple, Fargo, No Country for Old Men (based on the Cormac McCarthy novel), and Burn After Reading. If you’re one of the millions who didn’t see that last one, by the way, go out and rent it immediately — you don’t know what you’re missing.
The Coens are working on a remake of the 1969 John Wayne classic True Grit, based on the ’68 novel by Charles Portis. The novel, narrated by an elderly Mattie Ross, recounts her adventures many years earlier as she tried to avenge the murder of her father, and wound up making a friend of a crusty U.S. Marshall, one Reuben J. Cogburn, otherwise known as Rooster.
Wayne won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Cogburn, and oh boy did he deserve it, but the movie — which spawned two sequels, one without Wayne — is a bit different from the book. The Coens have said their adaptation, with Jeff Bridges as ol’ Rooster, will be more faithful (keeping, for example, young Maddie as the primary character).
I suspect, given their excellent adaptation of the McCarthy book, they’ll do a fine job.
Cinematical has a good little blurb about the movie. And before Reading the Screen turned into a series of blog posts, I wrote about some classic Westerns, like Destry Rides Again and The Searchers, and the challenges the filmmakers encountered turning words on the page into images on the screen.