This holiday season, get ready to cowboy-up as Oscar winning directors Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit, a remake of the classic John Wayne Western, is released on December 22nd. The 1969 version was actually based on the 1968 novel by Charles Portis, and supposedly, this new film will be a mix of both the book and the original classic.
The story revolves around a 14-year-old who seeks out the help of an alcoholic marshal after her father is murdered by a drifter, hoping to avenge his death. In addition to John Wayne, the original starred Glen Campbell, Dennis Hopper and Robert Duvall. This new movie stars an equally impressive cast of actors including, Oscar winners Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon, Oscar nominee Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper.
We recently had a chance to sit down and speak with actor Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan, The Green Mile) while he was out promoting his new film Casino Jack, which opens in theaters on December 17th, and is based on the true story of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. We took this opportunity to ask Pepper a little bit about True Grit and what it was like to take on the role that was first played by acting legend Robert Duvall:
"You know, I had never seen the original and I had been asked to read for this part of "Lucky" Ned Pepper, of all names. I thought, well this is a bit of type casting, to come to a Pepper to play a Pepper. So I read for the part and I created the character, not knowing what Bob had done. When I got the role, somebody had told me that it wasn't just based on the book, and that I should see the original film. Actually, I just did ADR for True Grit this morning and I blew my voice out. So then I saw the original film and I said, "Wow, these are big boots to fill." I was very pleased that I had an opportunity to create my own character before I knew that he had played the role. I guess I must have had my head in the sand not knowing that Duvall had played 'Lucky' Ned Pepper."
"It was a wonderful opportunity to get to work with the Coen brothers and reunite with my old Saving Private Ryan buddy Matt Damon. Jeff Bridges was ... well everybody will tell you that he is just an amazing guy to work with. He is just so full of joy. It was something that he told me his father had infused in him as a child, watching his dad on film sets working. He would just bring a joy and enthusiasm to the film set and Jeff is the same way. It's just like a ripple effect across the cast and crew when he steps on the set. He just brings so much love of the art form that you can't help but smile and have a good time around him."