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Opening Night – Coen Brothers’ True Grit Stays Faithful to Spirit of Classic Novel

The Western film True Grit, written and directed by the Coen brothers (The Big Lebowski, A Serious Man), already has a big-screen history. The novel on which the film is based — True Grit, by American author Charles Portis — was published in 1968 and is revered by many readers as an American classic. A year later, the film adaptation of the book was released starring actors Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and John Wayne. Wayne won an Oscar for his role in the film as U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn. While the book is told from the point of view of young frontier girl Mattie Ross, the 1969 film version told the story from the point of view of Cogburn. For their take on True Grit, the Coens decided not to remake the 1969 film. Instead, they chose to stay faithful to the Portis novel and tell the story through the point of view of Ross — played by newcomer Hailee Steinfeld.

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