BLANCO, TEXAS -- Film crews, a pair of famous directors, and even a few stars descended on the historic town of Blanco in May 2010 to film some of the scenes that will appear in the upcoming remake of the 1969 film True Grit.
Modern trailers, old-fashioned wagons, and other equipment filled the town square; people clad in period garb struck poses in front of the old courthouse; and Blanco County sheriff’s deputies and police officers from nearby Johnson City redirected traffic on a detour around Main Street/Highway 281 and kept crowds of locals from getting in the way of the shoot.
Filming took place in Blanco Tuesday and Wednesday, May 11-12. In the scene being filmed the afternoon of the final day, a couple of wagons and some horsemen kept going back-and-forth along 4th Street, while aromatic smoke billowed, for some unexplained reason, out of strategically-located braziers (and only once did the director have to yell “Clear the set!” at a reporter who did not vacate the scene quickly enough.)
“You never know what you’re going to see,” said Blanco Postmaster Charles Landry, whose post office is right across the street from the courthouse. He said that the crowds had been pretty consistent since filming started and that people were interested in what was happening with the filming. That is not too surprising when you consider that this is the first time in his experience that anything of this sort has happened in Blanco.
And he was not the only one who was interested in what was happening.
“They’re here every day, and are just trying to see what’s going on and if they can see anybody,” he said of some of the locals who have been turning out the watch the filming. At least one of the film’s stars — Jeff Bridges, who is reprising the role of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, played by John Wayne in the original — was believed to be on the scene. (One pair of local women were indeed keeping an eye out for Bridges, who they believed to be inside the courthouse, and were somewhat indignant that he would not come out and talk to his fans at least briefly.)
“For the most part, they’re just milling about and seeing what’s going on ... and how long it’s going to take,” Landry said. “Some of them just want to get back to their normal routine” and drive through the town square rather than detour around it.
True Grit is based on a 1968 novel by author Charles Portis and is about a young girl who recruits the aging and cynical Cogburn to help her track down and bring to justice the man who murdered her father. Wayne won a Best Actor Oscar for his depiction of the roll.
The new adaptation of the film is being directed by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and being filmed at a number of locations in Texas and New Mexico (as was their 2007 release No Country for Old Men, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem).
Bridges recently won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in the 2009 film Crazy Heart. Also starring in True Grit is Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, The Bourne Ultimatum, Ocean’s Eleven), who plays Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, and who has recently been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the 2009 film Invictus. The film will also feature actors Josh Brolin (W., Planet Terror, No Country for Old Men) and Barry Pepper (Seven Pounds, Saving Private Ryan).
True Grit is scheduled for release on Christmas Day 2010.