The Coens Ask; The Dude Abides
You know when it’s OK to make a remake? When you’re the Coen Brothers. Because chances are, when you’re the Coen Brothers, whatever remake you end up with is going to be better than the original. And here’s a way to easily guarantee it: Cast Jeff Bridges.
Indeed, in a Lebowski reunion, of sorts, the Coen Bros. are re-teaming with Bridges to bring to the big screen another interpretation of True Grit. I wouldn’t even call it a remake of the 1969 John Wayne film, since the Coens are returning to the source material and making the film more faithful to the 1969 Charles Portis novel.
For the unfamiliar, True Grit follows a 14-year-old girl, who tags along with a U.S. Marshal, Rooster Cogburn (Bridges) as they attempt to track down her father’s murderer, who is something of a drunk. But the murderer is not anyone that the police want to mess with, so Rooser is all she’s got. A Texas Ranger named La Boeuf also joins the manhunt; Cogburn and La Boeuf dont’ care for each other, but in the pursuit of the murderer, they bond.
The 1969 John Wayne movie was told from the perspective of Cogburn; the Coens version, like the novel, will tell it from the perspective of the 14-year-old girl (presumably, like the novel, as an extended flashback).
It’s perfect material for the Coens — it hits on all their themes, and gives them another opportunity to take advantage of their cinematography skills. Plus, the novel and — presumably the movie — will take place in Arkansas. If they do it on location, I’d like to see how successful they are in filming around the McChurches that are scattered through the state.
Here’s hoping the Coens get John Goodman to play La Boeuf.