True Grit: Coen Brothers Remake of 1969 John Wayne Western

March 23, 2009–The next film of Joel and Ethan Coen will be “True Grit,” the Western that won John Wayne a Best Actor Oscar.  Not a traditional remake, Paramount's film will be more faithful to the Charles Portis book than the 1969 picture.


Portis' novel is about a 14-year-old girl who, along with an aging U.S. marshal and another lawman, tracks her father's killer in hostile Indian territory. While the original film was a showcase for Wayne, the Coens' version will tell the tale from the girl's p.o.v. The project reteams the Coens with Scott Rudin, their partner on the Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men.”  

The original starred Kim Darby as the teen, Wayne and Glen Campbell as the lawmen, Jeff Corey as the killer and featured Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper as the outlaws. “True Grit” originated at DreamWorks when that company was Paramount-based, but it was one of the projects that Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg left behind since the original is part of the Paramount library. Former DreamWorks prexy Adam Goodman, now a Paramount exec, is steering the project for the studio.  The Western steps in front of another novel adaptation the Coens have with Rudin: “The Yiddish Policemen's Union,” based on Michael Chabon's novel and set up at Columbia.

The Coens just completed “A Serious Man,” which they scripted, for Focus Features and Working Title.