Friday, April 17, 2009

"True Grit" gets new film treatment from Coen brothers

I make it a point to read Jenny Shank's Western Book Roundup at New West. Somehow I missed her April 1 post, probably because I was hobnobbing with a batch of visual artists over in Laramie. She wrote some good news about books-to-film:

Oh joy: According to Variety, Joel and Ethan Coen will make a film adaptation of Charles Portis’ Western classic True Grit for their next project, and joy of joys, it’s not to be a traditional remake of the 1969 John Wayne vehicle, but a version intended to hue closer to the novel. (I wrote last year about the charms of Portis’s True Grit in honor of its 40th anniversary.) The Coen brothers were at work on another literary adaptation — of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union —but True Grit will now come first.

Joel Cohen told London’s Daily Mail that they plan to stick closer to the perspective of the14-year-old narrator, Mattie Ross. “The book recounts the girl’s story. In the John Wayne film, she was played older. We want her to be her real age - it’s her story!”

If there is a better match between filmmakers and book, I can’t think of it.

I second that, Jenny. First Cormac McCarthy and "No Country for Old Men" and now "True Grit." The New West of McCarthy and The Old West of Portis. Sorry to see that "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" is being rescheduled for later. But I can wait. A terrific book. The Coen Brothers will treat it well.

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