Friday, September 11, 2009 at 4:30AM
Joel and Ethan Coen are having their film, Blood Simple, remade by the great Zhang Yimou. And not to be outdone, the Coens are remaking the Western classic True Grit. We've known the remake was happening for a few months, but it just got really interesting.
Variety reports that the Coens will reunite with The Dude, Jeff Bridges, who will play the role of Rooster Cogburn, made famous by John Wayne. The Duke won his only Oscar for the role (which he later revisited in the eponymous 1975 film), and Bridges is certainly long overdue for his statue, not that it's overwhelmingly likely to happen here.
Now, there will be some other differences between the first film and the update. For starters, the Coens are going back to the original novel by Charles Portis, shifting some of the focus from Cogburn to the 14-year-old female tag-along on a mission to find the man who killed her father.
Bridges may not seem like the obvious pick for the role, a by-product of how iconoclastic John Wayne is and, to a degree, how we perceive Bridges, as well. I'd have to read the book to know whether or not Wayne's interpretation is close to Portis' original vision or if that's just John Wayne overpowering the character.
On the flip side, who do you cast to play a John Wayne role? You might be better off just going 180 degrees away from it to avoid the comparison. There's no doubt Bridges is the better, more versatile actor and depending on the writing, there may be more to Rooster Cogburn than we ever thought possible.