True Grit

I look forward to seeing the Coen Brothers’ forthcoming redo of of True Grit, the movie that brought John Wayne his only Academy Award. Wayne won for his performance in the role of Rooster Cogburn. Jeff Bridges plays the role of Rooster Cogburn in the remake and I’m interested to see what he does with it. By my lights the Coen Brothers are due for a good film after A Serious Man, which I thought was something of a juvenile and offensive flop.
Charles Portis is the author of the 1969 novel on which the True Grit films are based. It turns out the Coen Brothers love the novel.
I thought Portis was long gone, but this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine carried an engaging profile of him by Boston College’s Carlo Rotella. There is a reason Portis has slipped from view. He hasn’t published anything lately, and he doesn’t believe in promoting himself or his novels.
Portis agreed to meet with Professor Rotella near Portis’s home in Little Rock, but not to let Rotella quote him directly. Rotella explains parenthetically: “He had stipulated that our meeting was not an interview and I could not quote him directly, and he confessed to the mutual friend who put us in touch that it pained him to impose such conditions, because he didn’t want to be the kind of guy who imposes conditions.”


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