It appears that the Coen Brothers have made their choices for the new movie based on the "True Grit" novel by Portis. Jeff Bridges will play Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon will play the Texas Ranger, and Josh Brolin will play Tom Chaney. The girl character hasn't been cast as yet. I have heard from folks in Arkansas that they will shoot the movie in Oklahoma and Fort Smith. Stay tuned.
Just found out they are going to start shooting the movie in March and it is supposed to be released about this time next year. That is quick production.
Hello Oklahoma Kid:
I teach history and sponsor the CASC History club at Carl Albert State College Poteau Oklahoma which is less than 20 miles from Fort Smith Arkansas. I think it would be a great opportunity for my kids to have the opportunity to be envolved as extras or in any other way in the remake of True Grit. Do you have any advice or direction for offering our services to the people making the movie?
If they make the movie in the Arkansas/Oklahoma region they will put a casting call for extras in the local newspapers. I don't have any information for contacting the film producers. On another note, I will speak at a progrma commemorating Bass Reeves at the Fort Smith History Museum on January 13 at 6 p.m. I would love to meet you and your students.
I would have chosen Sam Elliott to play Rooster in the remake. At least they are filming on location instead of in Oregan where the original was filmed....
There was an article in the Daily Oklahoman about a month ago concerning the state film commission not having enough money in the 2010 budget to give the Coen's the rebate they should receive for filming in Oklahoma. Their rebate would be several million short. The film commission was requesting an increase in their budget so the film would be made in Oklahoma. I doubt they will get any more money. The Coen's will most likely go where the grass is greener.
Here's an article on the movie from today's (12/17/09) Ft. Smith Times Record. The article contains some information which may be of interest to Dr. Rigsby concerning people directing the casting:
PS: I think Jeff Bridges is scheduled to be on the Charlie Rose show tonight. He'll probably want to talk about his role in the movie.
O.M.G. I love Jeff Bridges. I thought he was so great in the movie "Heaven's Gate".
Thanks everyone. I found this a while ago. It looks like they are spreading themselves around. I can't understand why the Fort Smith National Historic Site courtroom wouldn't be a better pick.
Sorry, I forgot the link:
Oklahoma Kid. I will make every effort to be at the program on January 13. I would love to buy you a beer afterward if you have time. It will be difficult for me to contact my kids because that is the first day of classes for the new semester and you know how hectic that is. Do you or RDMorgan do book signings? We have two or three authors a semester speak and sign copies of their books. If either of you are interested I will contact our librarian.
While I am no longer able to do book signings or public speaking events(Due to health reasons) I am putting the finishing touches on a new and final book, "Irish O'Malley and the Ozark Mountain Boys."Thanks for asking tho...R.D.Morgan
Sorry to hear about your health problems RD. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed "Taming the Sooner State." It was a big help to me writing my dissertation.(Which I am beginning to wonder if I will ever finish) I also shared it with some relatives from Stonewall. I had been told about the Floyd Stonewall robbery when I was a child and they were thrilled with the details you provided.
Dr. Rigsby, I live in Chicago, so I am not in the Oklahoma and Arkansas region to often. I would welcome an invitation to speak at Carl Albert Community College if I could be sponsored by one of the departments or programs at the college. I can speak on many topics concerning the frontier of the Indian Territory. Also, I will be signing books at the Fort Smith History Museum and hopefully we will have an opportunity for a chat afterwords.
Here is some commentary on the Coen Brother's script for the film.
Thanks, Oklahoma Kid. It sounds great, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it.
Friday, February 12, 2010, 8:54am MST
Coen Brothers to shoot “True Grit” in Santa FeNew Mexico Business Weekly
The Coen Brothers are returning to New Mexico to shoot their newest film — or at least part of it.
“True Grit” is a remake of the classic that starred John Wayne. Paramount Pictures will shoot parts of the film in March and April in Santa Fe and employ about 100 New Mexico cast and crew members.
Joel and Ethan Coen filmed their 2007 film “No Country for Old Men” in the state and it went on to receive four Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay and best supporting actor for Javier Bardem.
Jeff Bridges also returns to New Mexico to star in the film as Rooster Cogburn, the aging and cynical deputy marshal originally played by Wayne, who won an Oscar for his portrayal. Bridges has garnered rave reviews and his own Oscar nomination for his leading role in “Crazy Heart,” also filmed in New Mexico. He appeared in another recent New Mexico production, “The Men Who Stare At Goats.”
Matt Damon will play Le Boeuf, a Texas ranger who joins Cogburn to help a young woman find the man who murdered her father and avenge his death. The film is based on a novel by Charles Portis.
No other cast members were announced, although the Internet Movie Database lists Josh Brolin in the cast. He also starred in “No Country for Old Men.”
Since 2003, when Gov. Bill Richardson took office and began pushing the existing film incentives in the state, including a 25 percent tax rebate, there have been 135 film and television productions shot here, with an estimated economic impact of $3 billion, according to the New Mexico Film Office.
More ramblings on the western movie genre.
2010 Preview: True Grit
by Brandon Gray
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February 11, 2010
Release Date: Dec. 25
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin
Studio Description: A tough U.S. Marshal helps a stubborn young woman track down her father's murderer.
Analysis: Reportedly, True Grit (2010) is based off the Charles Portis novel of the same name and not a direct remake of the 1969 Henry Hathaway-directed John Wayne classic. No matter what, though, the original movie is so well known that it will be at the forefront of many moviegoers' minds. The new Grit features Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn (the John Wayne role), Matt Damon as La Boeuf (the Glen Campbell role) and Josh Brolin presumably as bad guy Ned Pepper (the Robert Duvall role). Mr. Bridges previously worked with the Coens on The Big Lebowski, while Brolin, who headlines the Western-themed Jonah Hex in June, co-starred in the Coens' No Country for Old Men.
The original True Grit is not necessarily some untouchable classic, but its star, John Wayne, remains such an icon to this day that it's hard to imagine anyone filling his shoes, even a venerable actor like Jeff Bridges (there will probably be many "The Dude takes on The Duke" references). Younger audiences might not care, but older audiences likely will and they are the ones that drive business for Westerns. The Coens and the marketing should work double-time to explain why they've remade True Grit, beyond Hollywood's usual attempt to cash in on a famous name.
The last major Western remake was 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and it posted decent returns, opening with a $14 million weekend on its way to a $53.6 million final, but its 1957 predecessor wasn't as well known as True Grit. The Alamo (2004) mined material that John Wayne already famously covered in The Alamo (1960), and it failed, grossing $22.4 million in its entire run. In general, Westerns that receive nationwide release are few and far between. The last one was Appaloosa in September 2008, and it only mustered $20.2 million, and The Missing flopped in 2003. Open Range, on the other hand, fared pretty well, racking up $58.3 million in 2003, but one has to go back another ten years, to 1993, to find another successful, straightforward Western: Tombstone, which corralled $56.5 million or the equivalent of over $103 million adjusted for ticket price inflation.
The Coen Bros. have had limited experience in the genre: O Brother, Where Art Thou? aimed for a down home vibe and became one of their most successful pictures (particularly its soundtrack), while No Country for Old Men, despite being set in 1980, had Western elements and stands as their highest-grossing picture at $74.3 million. No Country was well-received by audiences for its action thriller plotline and sequences, but alienated many with its malevolent, artsy-fartsy meanderings. The True Grit remake would be commercially better-served emphasizing the former over the latter. People will want to see a straight-shooting remake, not simply the Coens' dark, snarky spin. As of this writing, though, the movie reportedly hasn't begun production yet, so it's not possible to get a good read on how it might turn out.
At the end of the day, the John Wayne connection may prove helpful in raising awareness for the True Grit remake. Unfortunately, the Western genre has been on the wane since Mr. Wayne's passing (aside from some Clint Eastwood movies), and Westerns are such a rarity these days that the genre itself may dominate True Grit's media coverage. Westerns are considered so quaint to the Hollywood bandwagoners that the prospects of Westerns in the near future may ride on True Grit's performance.
Posted Fri September 11 2009 07:24 PM Hide Post
In a separate dispatch to Deming NM the Marshal in Paris asked for description of the person sending the telegraph to Paris. The reply was a man with a pair of fine white handled pistols and part of his left jawbone was shot away. The Marshal in Paris replied that this was a description of Sam Wingo a former Deputy Marshal who was known to have had part of his left jaw shot away in a gunfight.
The sender from Deming New Mexico had all of Deputy Marshal Sam Williams papers and identification and the belief last known was that he had been captured and probably killed. it was suspected that the Gang was trying to throw pursuers off and they were headed to California.
There's another exciting, new Western in the works.
"The Confessions of Deacon Jim: A True Western Tale for the Stage", by Jason Aaron Goldberg. A staged "reading" of the play will be performed at the Pasadena Playhouse on April 20th & 21st, 2010 . . . 101st anniversary of the lynching in Ada (1909). Tickets still available at (626) 356-7529.
This "original" play (beautifully written by Goldberg) tells of the events leading up to the 'Four Men Hanged in Ada, Oklahoma (in April 1909)'. . . told through the eyes of one of the jailers, who befriended the notorious killer-for-hire, Jim Miller, during his incarceration there.
Jason Goldberg, veteran producer of Stage, Screen, and T.V., has his own production company, partnered with Ashton Kutcher. Having the play "performed" and accepted on the stage is, hopefully, the first step towards getting the story adapted for the Big Screen.
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