The new release of True Grit is a movie I will see. The Coen brothers have redefined Homer for me as well as wood chippers and now they will redefine John Wayne. Though I sometimes don’t understand them, I still have to watch.
I expect, though, to learn something fresh from their new work. In this interview, they talk about the 14 year old girl who plays such a pivotal role in this story. Pay special attention to the last sentence:
They made “True Grit” not as corrective to the movie featuring an eye-patched Duke wheeling around as Rooster Cogburn but because both brothers loved the book by Charles Portis that it was based on. The novel is narrated by Mattie Ross, a spinster who tells the story of her quest many years earlier to avenge her father’s murder by a no-account by the name of Tom Chaney. Her younger self stomps into the frame of the Coens’ film with a gift for language and figures, a vision of pigtailed precocity.
“She is a pill,” Ethan said, “but there is something deeply admirable about her in the book that we were drawn to.” Joel continued the thought: “We didn’t think we should mess around with what we thought was a very compelling story and character.” Ethan stepped in: “The whole Presbyterian-Protestant ethic in a 14-year-old girl was interesting to us and sounded fun.”
The whole what?