December 22, is the expected release date for the new 2010 version of TRUE GRIT, the great Western novel from 1968 by Charles Portis that was adapted to the screen as the award winning 1969 John Wayne classic. Wayne was honored with the best actor Oscar that year.
The author of TRUE GRIT, Charles Portis only wrote five major works of Western-oriented fiction despite a cult-like following with many fans. NORWOOD made for a rather comic film with Glen Campbell playing the lead. Kim Darby starred in both TRUE GRIT and NORWOOD. Darby is forever remembered as the young character Mattie Ross in TRUE GRIT opposite John Wayne, although she is now 63 years old. Portis has been somewhat reclusive in recent years, although he reportedly enjoys frequent trips to Mexico. Born in Arkansas, Portis skillfully spun the Southern dialect for NORWOOD, making it a wonderful work of regional-setting fiction.
Once again, young 14 year old Mattie Ross(played this time by young actress Hailee Steinfeld) goes on a quest to seek revenge on the drifter who killed who father by recruiting old alcoholic Marshal Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn(Jeff Bridges). Josh Brolin plays the villainous drifter, Tom Chaney. And Matt Damon plays La Boeuf.
The buzz around TRUE GRIT is that it may well be the best Western this year. Jeff Bridges also turns in a performance that may be Oscar-worthy as well, making a rarity where two actors might win for playing the same role. Western fans have to be excited about this major new film. As enduring and popular as Westerns continue to be as novels, few good new Westerns make it to the big screen these days.