Jeff Bridges eyes first official photo for Coen Brothers’ “True Grit”

By Sean O’Connell Few films in this year’s still-developing Oscar race could go from “dark horse” to “frontrunner” in the blink of an eye. Unless that eye has a patch over it.

I’m referring to the dark patch worn by Jeff Bridges’ character in Joel and Ethan Coen’s “True Grit,” a remake of the 1969 John Wayne western that will gallop into theaters on Dec. 25. Bridges plays Marshal Cogburn (The Duke’s role in the original), a surly, drunken cowboy who helps a young girl track down her father’s murderer. Paramount released the first official image from the film in its Holiday Press Kit, and we’re sharing it with you.

We’re not completely in the dark on “Grit,” because the original exists and can be studied. It’s unlikely, though, that the Coens are conducting a shot-by-shot remake. And while they will not be taking “True Grit” to Toronto – a practice they did with their last few films – I fully expect the picture to jump cowboy-boots-first into the awards race once it finally screens. After all, Wayne won his first and only Oscar for portraying Cogburn in Henry Hathaway’s original (though most would argue it was a lifetime achievement Oscar at that point in the actor’s career).

We also know that Joel and Ethan filled out their cast with amazing talents. Matt Damon will play La Boeuf, Cogburn’s employer who insists on accompanying the vigilante party. (Glen Campbell played the character in the original.) Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper will fill in supporting parts. But I’m most interested in seeing how relative newcomer Hailee Steinfeld handles the tough role of young Mattie Ross. I also hope the Coens keep Elmer Bernstein’s original, Oscar-nominated score, as that might be the best part of to ’69 “Grit.”

More on the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” as it develops.

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One Comment

  • August 21, 2010 | Permalink |

    LaBeouf was not Cogburn’s employer. Mattie Ross was Cogburn’s employer….in both the novel & the original 1969 film. Perhaps a quick read of the novel (which isn’t that long) & another look at the original film will help with future reviews? And as much as I love Elmer Bernstein’s great score from the original film, I don’t anticipate the Coens doing anything which might in any way be construed to pay homage to the original film.

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