Deadline reports Joel and Ethan Coen have hired 13-year-old Hailee Steinfeld to take on the role of Mattie Ross in the brothers’ remake of True Grit.
Paramount Pictures started a worldwide open audition for the role and eventually saw more than 15,000 girls. The open casting call was posted online with the following character description:
Fourteen year old Mattie is a simple, tough as nails, young woman. Her steely nerves and straightforward manner are a shocking contrast to the way women behaved in the early century. She’s possessed of true grit and plenty of determination. Enough so, that she insists on going with two marshals to hunt down the killer of her father. We are looking for a Caucasian girl who’s tough, strong and tells it like it is. We are open to all looks!
Steinfeld has only a couple of credits to her name at IMDb, but will soon be adding a major one to the list in a role made popular by Kim Darby acting opposite John Wayne back in 1969.
In the Coens’ remake, Jeff Bridges steps in for Wayne as the drunken U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn whom Mattie hires to track down Tom Chaney, her father’s murderer (Josh Brolin). Matt Damon also stars as a Texas Ranger hot on Chaney’s tail.
The film has been described as more of an adaptation of the original Charles Portis novel than a remake of the 1969 film that used the same source material and eventually netted John Wayne his only acting Oscar win.
I have the screenplay here, but have yet to dig into it. The film is set for a Christmas Day 2010 release and is sure to play heavily into the Oscar race.