True Grit Releases on Dec. 22nd — I Can’t Wait!

If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be eagerly anticipating a remake of  True Grit, I’d have laughed.  I’ve enjoyed the 1969 version with John Wayne and Glen Campbell for years. Who could possibly replace John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn?  No one.  To try would be a sacrilege . . .  I really couldn’t imagine it. 

Well, I can now.

Who else has seen the trailer for the remake that’s coming out this Christmas? If you haven’t, here it is . . .

What do you think?  Can Jeff Bridges pull off the role that gave John Wayne his only Oscar?  Judging by the trailer, I’m more than optimistic. Jeff Bridges has a solid track record of doing unique things with a role. My husband’s a fan of The Big Lebowski and so are my sons. I haven’t seen that movie, but I’ve seen Crazy Heart and I thought Jeff was great in it. He does burned-out and cantankerous extremely well!  I also remember him from Starman with Karen Allen.  He’s a solid actor and he looks the part of Rooster.

The new movie is by the Coen Brothers.  I find their work a little off-putting, but my husband loves their movies, particularly No Country for Old Men. As for No Country, once I got over the gruesome beginning with Javier Bardem and paid attention to the story, I had to agree with my husband.  The Coens are brilliant film makers. The movie is haunting.  As for Javier, is that really the same guy who’s in Eat Pray Love?  He’s another amazing actor.

I’m just as enthused about the supporting cast as I am about Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn.

In the 1969 version, Kim Darby played fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross, the girl seeking justice for her father’s murder.  In the remake, the part went to an unknown actress named Hailee Steinfeld. In reviews I’ve read, it seems that this movie is her story to tell. The directors stuck more closely to the original book than the 1969 version.  As a fun aside, I was visiting with a neighbor last night.  I didn’t know it, but the producers of True Grit did a casting call here in Lexington, Kentucky for the role of Mattie. They needed a teenage girl who could ride. What better place to look than the city known as “The Thoroughbred Capital of the World?”

Josh Brolin plays Tom Chaney, the thief who killed Mattie’s father, and Matt Damon is Texas Ranger La Bouef. He’s also after Chaney. Glen Campbell played that roll in the 1969 version.  La Bouef meets up with Cogburn and Mattie and the chase begins.

As a final touch, would anyone like to guess who does the song for the trailer?  It’s Johnny Cash. I can’t think of a better fit.

The movie opens December 22nd.  After all the family celebrations, I just might see if I can talk my husband into going to a movie on Christmas night. (Honey, if you’re reading this, I want movie passes for Christmas!) Anyone else? Are looking forward to this movie?

Victoria Bylin
Victoria Bylin is under contract with Bethany House Publishers for two inspirational contemporary romances.Prior to jumping to the present day, she wrote westerns for Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons. You can learn more about Vicki at www.victoriabylin.com

21 Comments

  1. Vickie, I never thought I would want to see this remake either. I never thought it would be the Coen Brothers doing this movie. Wow! I am all over it. From the trailer, it seems grittier than the original but still a good old-fashioned western!

    I didn’t even recognize Matt Damon!

    Thanks for letting us know!

    Peace, Julie

  2. Hi Julie! My husband and I take turns picking movies. This is one we’re both eager to see. I’ve read that it’s closer to the original book than the 1969 film. Sounds good to me!

  3. Hi Vicki,
    I can’t wait to see it, either. In fact, everyone I know who loves westerns says practically the same thing–that they didn’t think anyone could re-do it, but that the trailer makes them think Bridges CAN pull it off, after all. Boy, he’s a brave man–I wouldn’t ever want to have to remake something John Wayne did. Little piece of trivia you might be interested in–my daughter Jessica works for an actors’ casting and talent agency here in Oklahoma City. They did a casting call in Dallas for the part of Mattie, and one of the girls who takes acting classes there where Jessica works went down to audition for it. We thought she might be a shoo in for the part–her name was Mattie. And she was actually named for the character in True Grit.LOL She got called back for a second read, but in the end they chose the other girl, Hailee Steinfeld.

    Lucky you! You actually have a husband who will attend movies with you–and takes turns choosing them! Mine won’t go to the theater at all, barely wants to even watch movies here at the house. True Grit was one of my all time favorite movies, and my dad just loved it. I am looking forward to seeing it. I bet even those people who say “I don’t like westerns” will be lining up to see this one!

    Cheryl

  4. Hi Vicki-
    I too am eagerly waiting for this movie to come out. I was hooked the first time I saw the trailer for the movie on TV. I am hoping that maybe Hollywood is finally waking up to the idea that people do love..and want to see…Westerns!
    YeeHaaa!

  5. Hi Cheryl, That’s a fun bit of trivia about the casting call in Oklahoma City. I bet young actresses everywhere were hoping to win the role.

    My husband and I almost never agree on what movies to see, but we both enjoy going out and eating popcorn. He owes me big-time for “The Expendables”! It had more explosions than dialogue. He didn’t like it either. We both loved “Secretariat.” When it comes to watching at home, I usually read while he watches SciFi stuff. It works!

  6. Hi Tammy, Between “True Grit” and “Cowboys and Aliens,” it seems Hollywood just might turning a corner. Granted, the cowboys in “Cowboys and Aliens” are holding ray guns, but it’s a start!

  7. I want them to start making westerns again….badly….but why start with a classic like this? A movie so totally dominated by someone as unique and iconic as John Wayne.

    There are so many classic lines and scenes in the original that still pop into my head.

    “A clumsier child I’ve never seen. He must’ve broke 40 cup.”

    “Well, come visit a fat old man sometime.”

    “I aim to kill you Ned or see you hanged at Judge Parker’s convenience.”

    “#@$^ Texican, he saved my life twice. Once after he was dead.”

    “Fill your hand you SOB.” Reins in his teeth, guns twirling as he cocked them. Charging horse. Rooster Cogburn against four hardened cutthroats. Possible greatest scene of all time.

    I just need to let the new movie stand on it’s own. Stop comparing it.

  8. Hi Mary, What’s fascinating to me here is the mix of “classic” and “Coen Brothers.” With their name on it, it’s instantly more than a remake. You just know it’s going to have their unique spin and probably some modern sensibilities. That’s pro and con for me . . . The new version will be more relevant to today’s audiences, but I hope it doesn’t lose the overall western . . . grit. That was sort of a pun 🙂

  9. I really enjoyed the trailer!! I know I saw True Grit but it was so long ago I really can’t remember it so it will be like a new movie to me. I actually think Jeff will do a fantastic job.

  10. Vicki, Yippee I’m so glad to see a western hit the big screen again! I think Jeff Bridges will be awesome in the role. I’m going to put going to theater on my Christmas list. Hopefully, Santa will pay attention. Wink.

  11. Hi Catslady! Isn’t the trailer awesome? I was hooked from the first moment.

    Howdy, Linda! I’m hoping this movie is a huge hit. I’d love to see more westerns, both new ones and remakes. Hmmm…. how about a western based on a book by a Filly? Now that’s a good idea!

  12. I can’t wait to see this movie! I haven’t seen a movie in the theater(except for animated with grandchildren) since the first True Grit.

  13. Hi Estella, It seems fitting to see the new True Grit on the big screen . . . The photography has to be awesome!

  14. Oh I’m old enough to remember seeing it on the screen. I had a fit when the snake scene came. I’m not sure I can watch it again LOL I STILL have nightmares from it. I’m so thrilled to see the western making a come back. I raise my sarsaparilla in their honor!

    WHOOO EEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Nan

  15. ah i think this movie looks awesome!!
    thank you for the post about it!!

    i’m seeing it for sure

    can’t go wrong with matt 🙂

  16. Avatar

    I never thought they would do a remake of TRUE GRIT. I have seen the trailer and am just having trouble with a different set of actors. It is the problem with remakes. You can’t help but compare them to the original. This one has a very different feel to it. Wayne may have been a grouchy, old man, but the character didn’t have the gritty feel this one does. We will probably see this one, it looks good.

  17. Hello Nan! Raising a sasparilla is a fitting tribute. Isn’t it funny how certain movie scenes stay with us? The one that gives me nightmares is the opening of “Cliffhanger,” where the girl falls . . . and falls . . . and falls. Shudder!

    Hello Tabitha! I barely recognizeed Matt Damon at first. He’s going to be awesome!

  18. Howdy Patricia! Some remakes work and others don’t work at all. I’ve seen a couple of remakes of “Stagecoach” and they just didn’t cut it. If the Coen Brothers breathe new life into the western as a genre, I’m happy!

  19. I am on the fence on this one. I enjoy a good western, I’m a fan of both Bridges and Damon…but remaking True Grit? Seriously?? And gifted as the Coen brothers are, I watch their movies expecting to be grossed out, which doesn’t add to the movie-going experience for me. If I see it in the theaters, it will be for the cast.

  20. Hi Ann, I sure hope the Coens don’t gross us all out . . . I’ll be disappointed if they do. Most of the early reviews are solid, so I’m optimistic!

  21. I’m ready to see a good western. Seems like it’s been a long while since one came out. I kind of wish Bruce Boxleitner had been cast as Rooster Cogburn. I think he’d fit the part better than Bridges, but we’ll see…

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