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Coen brothers bring new perspective to classic American western, 'True Grit'

[ 2010-12-30 13:38]     字号 [] [] []  
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Coen brothers bring new perspective to classic American western, 'True Grit'

Oscar-winners Joel and Ethan Coen set their sights on a classic American western novel for their new film: a story of outlaws and lawmen, murder, retribution and redemption ...a story that was made into a movie once before. Here's a look at the Coen brothers' new adaptation of True Grit.

"Mr. Cogburn?"

"What is it?"

"I would like to talk with you a minute."

"What is it?"

"They tell me you are a man with true grit."

"I'm sure I am, girl."

"My name is Mattie Ross."

Reuben "Rooster" Cogburn is a shambling wreck of a man: a grizzled veteran of a few too many shootouts, a black patch over one eye and the unmistakable whiff of stale whiskey. Mattie Ross is barely a teenager in tightly braided pigtails, but she is determined to get justice.

"I'm looking for the man who killed my father. That man's name is Tom Chaney and I need someone to go after him."

"Do you have a lot of experience with bounty hunters?"

"That is a silly question. I am 14."

Impressed by Rooster's reputation for shooting first, Mattie offers him a reward to find her father's killer, thus beginning the biggest adventure of her young life.

Coen brothers bring new perspective to classic American western, 'True Grit'

It's the first film role for Hailee Steinfeld who was 13 when the Coens cast her as Mattie.

"I had to learn how to shoot a gun and roll a cigarette. Those were the two main things that I had to learn," she says.

Steinfeld had to get comfortable with the ornate and formal dialogue that comes right from the pages of the novel by Charles Portis.

"When I first got the script that was the first thing that I really had to work on: making sure that I really understood what everything meant," Steinfeld says, "and then I had to go back through and make sure that I understood what it meant to me emotionally and how I could relate to it in my own life. The accent, just getting on set with everyone talking, it kind of happened naturally."

"Can we depart this afternoon?"

"We? You are not going. That is not part of it."

"You have misjudged me if you think I am silly encough to give you 50 dollars and watch you simply ride off."

"I am a bonded US marshall."

"That weights but little with me. I will see the thing done."

Coen brothers bring new perspective to classic American western, 'True Grit'

Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges co-stars as Rooster, a man at ease in the saddle and deadly fast with his six-shooter.

"You know, I used to love it when my dad would play a western," Bridges recalls. "When he would appear at the front door all dressed up in his cowboy clothes it was a thrill to me, so I guess there was some of my dad in there.

His dad was Lloyd Bridges, whose many western roles included several upstanding men with badges; but as played by Jeff Bridges, Rooster is a different breed of lawman.

"Mr. Cogburn, in your four years as US marshall, how many man have you shot?"

"I never shot if I didn't have to."

"Well that was not the queation. How many?"

"Shot or killed?"

"Let us restrict it to "killed" so that we may have a manageable figure."

Coen brothers bring new perspective to classic American western, 'True Grit'

"I was curious why these guys wanted to make that movie again and I think it was Ethan who corrected me and said 'No, we're not making that movie, we're making the book' as if there was no other movie made from it," Bridges says. "We are just referring to the book and I wasn't familiar with the book and he said 'Check that out and tell me what you think.' I read the book and then I saw what they were talking about because it is such a wonderful book and what a great character. Most westerns have that strong, silent type and here is this boorish guy ...so I thought it was going to be a lot of fun."

Of course, it was adapted for the screen once before and John Wayne - "the Duke" - won an Oscar for his performance as one-eyed, drunken Rooster in the 1969 film.

"I never thought about filling the Duke's boots until somebody asked me 'how do you feel about that?' I wasn't thinking about it when I did it. I just did the best I could with the part - what I always try to do," he says.

Coen brothers bring new perspective to classic American western, 'True Grit'

The Coen brothers insist their's is not a remake, but a more faithful adaptation of the book which, Joel Coen explains, centers on the journey of young Mattie.

"What we took away from it more than a western was almost the sense of it being this youthful adventure story or kind of fitting into the genre of what you might call 'young adult adventure fiction.' That was something really interesting to us, actually, just in terms of how the story worked," Coen says.

In fact, Ethan Coen only reluctantly calls True Grit a 'western'.

"It is a western inarguably. There are guys with six-guns on horses, but it's not a 'Zane Grey' story. It's not a western in that sense and really we were thinking about the novel more than doing a western, per se," he notes.

"What is your intention, Rooster?"

"I am to kill you in one minute, Ned."

"I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man."

That is Barry Pepper as the bandit 'Lucky Ned'. And True Grit also features Matt Damon as puffed-up Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who joins Mattie and Rooster in their quest to find killer Tom Chaney, played by Josh Brolin. The frontier sensibility is captured by cinematographer Roger Deakins, a frequent Coen brothers collaborator, as is musical score composer Carter Burwell.

bounty hunter: one who pursues a criminal or seeks an achievement for the sake of the reward 为获赏金捕(或杀)人者

bandit: a member of an armed group of thieves who attack travellers 土匪

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(来源:VOA 编辑:崔旭燕)