The Coen Brothers, in all of their unstoppable awesomeness, have decided to once again change it up and surprise us all by doing an adaptation of the book True Grit, which of course had been previously and famously adapted with John Wayne in the lead. The previous adaptation of True Grit isn’t, in my estimation, a great movie – at least not without the gravitas that Wayne’s career brings to it*.
That said, anyone attempting True Grit has to contend with the spirit of John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn. Who can fill that eye patch. The Coens are thinking Jeff Bridges.
Yes, they are turning to the Dude himself to play a cowboy icon. I haven’t read the original book (I’ve been told recently that it’s great and I should, so I likely will), but this feels like brave, unusual casting. I recently had a chance to meet Bridges on the set of a movie (I can’t tell you which!), and he sort of had that Dude vibe – it’s quite possible that The Big Lebowski brought us a character closest to the real Jeff Bridges than any other.
But of course the guy’s an actor. And acting differently in roles is what we expect. I think Bridges has a great presence, and he’s done a Western or two in his time. I can’t wait to see how this all turns out – if there are any filmmakers in America who have earned my complete, total and unerring trust, it’s the Coens.
* It did, however, bring us the opening lines of dialogue used in the classic MDC song, John Wayne Was a Nazi. Here, in service to my hardcore punk nostalgia, is the song: