And now for something completely different

Posted by · 10:13 am · March 23rd, 2009

Never let it be said that the Brothers Coen are predictable in their choice of projects. Having had their greatest crossover success to date with a film that dabbled in elements of the genre, Variety reports that they are set to make their first all-out Western — a remake of that hoary 1969 oater “True Grit,” best known today as the film that finally won John Wayne his gold-watch Oscar.

On the surface, this isn’t the most promising of prospects — the story of a teenaged girl joining forces with a crotchety, aged US marshal to avenge her father’s death, the original “Grit” was a creaky, sentimental work that must have appeared dated even in its own time.

But the Coens, obviously, are promising an interpretation far removed from that of Henry Hathaway’s film. Their intention is apparently to hew closer to Charles Portis’ source novel, telling the story from the girl’s perspective and placing less emphasis on the veteran character — which sounds like an improvement to me already. I admit I’ve never read the novel, though I gather it’s got harder edges than the 1969 adaptation.

Encouragingly, the Paramount production will reteam the brothers with “No Country” producer Scott Rudin. Apparently, this project takes priority over their Rudin-produced adaptation of Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” that was being mooted — which, frankly, I’d have been more interested in seeing. But the Coens work in mysterious ways, so my mind is open.

Finally, here’s a good omen: the last time they attempted a remake, they took on a masterpiece (“The Ladykillers”) and fell on their faces. Perhaps tackling a lesser work should reap greater rewards.

→ 9 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 3-23-2009 at 1:05 pm

    Marvin said...

    I wonder who they’ll cast..

  • 2 3-23-2009 at 2:31 pm

    John Foote said...

    Best choice for Rooster Cogburn (if they have to do this??) — Tommy Lee Jones.

  • 3 3-23-2009 at 3:05 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Tommy Lee Jones is a great choice…but almost TOO obvious a choice, John. It’s like suggesting Johnny Depp to be the Riddler. Maybe they should go for someone without widespread name recognition, like Sam Elliot.

  • 4 3-23-2009 at 8:57 pm

    Steve said...

    I’d cast Kurt Russell.

  • 5 3-23-2009 at 10:59 pm

    Troy said...

    I agree with Robert, first name that popped in my head was Jones. Hopefully they’ll be creative with the casting, as they usually are.

  • 6 3-24-2009 at 5:53 am

    John Foote said...

    Russell would be a cool choice as well — keep in mind in the book he is an older man, much like Duke played — Jones might be an obvious choice but is he not a great actor? And is a great actor not needed in a remake of such an iconic performance?? Harrison Ford came to mind as well, or hey, Robert Duvall, who played Ned Pepper in the original (that would be cool) and Duvall might be nearing eighty but looks sixty — I like the suggestion of Sam Elliott and why not consider Kevin Costner as well? He has become a reliable character and can play mean as he did so well in “Open Range”.

  • 7 3-24-2009 at 5:54 am

    John Foote said...

    And yes the novel is tough than the film — Mattie Ross loses that arm that the snakes bite and Rooster dies a few years after they last encounter one another.

  • 8 3-24-2009 at 5:54 am

    John Foote said...

    Sorry tough should be tougher.