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The John Wayne Classic Mia Farrow Thinks Is Her Biggest Career Mistake – My Blog

Long before the Coen Brothers brought Charles Portis’ novel “True Grit” to the screen in 2010, its first film adaptation came in 1969, with Hal B. Wallis producing and Henry Hathaway directing. Recognizing that the book had strong cinematic potential, actor John Wayne encouraged the involvement of both men. To round out the decades-old talent behind the screen, he was cast as the protagonist, U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, hired by Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) to find the man who killed her father. 

At the time, Darby was best known for a couple of roles in television westerns like “Gunsmoke” and “Bonanza.” Darby’s performance in the film is strong, developing Mattie as a well-mannered girl who alternates between disgust and admiration for the drunken, eyepatched Rooster. Her chemistry with Wayne (as well as Glen Campbell’s La Beouf) energizes what could have otherwise been a lazy oater. Yet Darby was a long way from Wallis’ first choice for Mattie; the role was originally set to be played by Mia Farrow, who backed out of “True Grit” in a decision that she would later go on to describe to Wallis as the “biggest personal and professional mistake of my life.”
Wayne, meanwhile, was proud of his performance as Rooster Cogburn. In a 1969 interview with Roger Ebert he said, “it’s sure as hell my first decent role in 20 years … and my first chance to play a character role instead of John Wayne.” For this enthusiasm, he won an Oscar. 
Casting Around the Duke

John Wayne and Kim Darby in True Grit (1969)

In Portis’ novel, the plot is the remembrance of a much older Mattie, recalling the Oklahoma adventure she undertook as a 14-year-old girl. While some of this perspective was restored for the Coens’ film, the Hathaway version focuses squarely on the promise of seeing “fat and old” John Wayne rounding up outlaws and running into shootouts on horseback. And it delivers on that promise.
Because Rooster’s character is old and legendary (and at this stage, somewhat washed up), Wayne’s casting works, and the performance carries with it the pathos and weight of a man who’s been doing the job for decades. Wayne’s first screen appearances, in the background of John Ford silent films, happened over 40 years prior to the release of “True Grit.” To underline his age and presence, the supporting cast was made up of a variety of younger actors, like Dennis Hopper, Robert Duvall — and Kim Darby.
Farrow Was Warned About Director Henry Hathaway
Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (1968)
By 1968, Mia Farrow had fully arrived in Hollywood, following years of work on the soap opera “Peyton Place” and even a brief marriage to Frank Sinatra. She became a star after being cast by director Roman Polanski in his 1968 cult horror hit “Rosemary’s Baby.” The dizzying heights of that performance, which put Farrow next to established greats like John Cassavetes and Ruth Gordon, gave her free reign on her follow-up. And, just before she was set to film the British drama “Secret Ceremony,” her eyes were on “True Grit.”
Farrow agreed to play the part of Mattie, but it didn’t take long for doubts to emerge. Over Henry Hathaway’s years in the business, he had developed a reputation as a dictator on set. 10 years prior to “True Grit”, he and Dennis Hopper fought while making “From Hell to Texas.” Farrow’s “Secret Ceremony” costar Robert Mitchum was upfront with her about Hathaway’s tenacity.
She made an effort to get Hathaway replaced with Polanski, but Wallis declined. The Polish filmmaker had only just made his American debut, and Hathaway had been making Westerns since 1932. Besides, Wayne had loathed “Rosemary’s Baby.” The man who made an obsessive point of holding onto “good Christian American values” in public life, to the point of heading anti-Communist hunts in the ’50s and espousing racist views in Playboy, was never going to go for the director of a movie about Satanists.
Rather than work with Hathaway, Mia Farrow backed out.
The Final Casting
Kim Darby and John Wayne in True Grit
This left Wallis and Hathaway in a bind, as they had fewer than two months before production kicked off. Multiple actresses were up for consideration, like Sally Field, Karen Carpenter, and even John Wayne’s daughter Aissa, according to Ronald L. Davis’ book, “Duke: The Life and Image of John Wayne.”
Wallis spotted Kim Darby on one of the television roles for which she had been known one night, and he reached out to her immediately. She agreed due to the large paycheck, even though she was ready to retire and let her actor husband James Stacy make money for the both of them. True to form, Hathaway yelled at her on her first day on set, as she told the LA Times:
“He was an old prop man and he usually focused on the prop man and he would just yell at him no matter what he did,” Darby said. Although they had gotten along well when she first met him at the studio, Hathaway yelled at her on the first day of shooting. “It got me so off guard,” she said. “I just got up and went back to my dressing room.”
Eventually, the two had a heart-to-heart talk in the dressing room. “I said, ‘Henry, I’ll do anything you want, just don’t yell at me again.’ After that day, we went along swimmingly.”
Though she was spared from being similarly yelled at, Farrow came to regret her decision. Indeed, it took a while for her to fully capitalize on her initial fame — instead of “True Grit” she made the mildly-received New Hollywood lovers’ drama “John and Mary,” and spent most of the ’70s touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company onstage.
The movie that Hathaway and Wallis made ended up being a classic, and it wouldn’t have been the same without Darby. Still, it’s tempting to imagine what could have been.

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John Wayne’s unexpected reaction to his lung cancer diagnosis. – My Blog

Years before people would take getting checked for cancer seriously, John Wayne actually did and it ended up saving his life.His son Ethan Wayne, in the latest Gritcast, talks with Stacy Mulder, who is vice president of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.In this clip provided by the John Wayne Estate on Instagram, Ethan offers some insight into his father’s reasoning for taking action.

John Wayne also knew that it was possible he might not get insured for future pictures.Take a look and listen as The Duke’s son opens up about this important subject.Fans did not hold back their love and respect for Wayne.One of them writes, “Your Dad was one of a kind!”Another one writes, “I loved and still love and respect the person he was! Not just a wonderful actor and entertainer but a great human being! They don’t make them like him anymore!”

A Wayne fan offers up a simple comment. “Awesome son and father”.Outsiders, we will agree that Ethan has done a stellar job in helping to keep the name of John Wayne in the public eye.While The Duke had that cancerous tumor removed and went on to more movie success, he still had issues with cancer.

Sadly, Wayne died in 1979 from stomach cancer.John Wayne Movie ‘Big Jake’ Might Be Super Flick For This Hollywood ActorSo, who would be a solid fit to play the role that John Wayne made famous in Big Jake?Again, we turn to the Wayne sons for some feedback.Ethan and Patrick Wayne offer up their thoughts on this question.“For a while, I’ve watched […] Gene Hackman, at a certain period of his career he easily could have done it,” one son says.

When someone else asks, “What about Russell Crowe?” Patrick says, “Russell Crowe would be great.” Others say “he’s good in everything he does.”The John Wayne Estate has been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Big Jake, which premiered in 1971. Big Jake happened to be director George Sherman’s final film.The cast included Wayne, Maureen O’Hara , and Richard Boone. Big Jake follows the McCandles family while they are being attacked by the Fain Gang.

Martha McCandles ends up sending for estranged husband Jacob “Big Jake” McCandles to find their kidnapped grandson, Little Jake.Film critics took note of the film’s violence, especially for a Wayne movie.Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune writes, “With a little bit of restraint, the latest John Wayne Western, ‘Big Jake,’ might have been one of the veteran star’s recent best. The most obvious excess and this is unusual for a John Wayne film is violence.”

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Bruce Dern paid homage to Western past as ” Man Who Killed John Wayne ” – My Blog

Over the years, Bruce Dern has made quite a career in film. From acting to producing and just about every facet of the industry. One of his most notable roles, earlier in his career was when he killed John Wayne. That film, 1972’s The Cowboy, came up in his Goliath series.Dern’s series, Goliath features Billy Bob Thornton and others in a legal drama, unlike many others.

Throughout the series, the production crew has tried their best to incorporate some of the film legend’s old material into the show. A man who has worked with everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to John Wayne, Quentin Tarantino and more, has a lot to reflect on.

However, it was how they paid homage to that old John Wayne film that really surprised Dern. During the fourth and final season, Billy McBride has a dream in which Dern appears. Riding a horse and wearing a very familiar outfit.“But what they did that I didn’t know, they went back to Western Custom and got the 1972 exact costume I wore in The Cowboys when I killed John Wayne,” Bruce Dern said.

“They did stuff like that. I was totally surprised. I said, ‘S***, I’ve seen this stuff before.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, you wore it in The Cowboys when you killed John Wayne.’ Oh, my God.’” He continued, “Each day they’d come up with little things like that particularly for me. I really appreciated that. And that is Larry Trilling and big-time Billy Bob Thronton. He’s all about what was there before. I mean, we’re not inventing the wheel, so to speak. We’re trying to find new ways to communicate things. And I enjoyed the opportunity to do that.”Bruce Dern Made a Lot of Enemies Killing John WayneWhile the action was just part of a movie, The Cowboy had quite an influence on how many Western fans viewed Bruce Dern. Taking out The Duke is no small task. It comes with a lot of repercussions. Especially the way his character did it, shooting Wayne in the back after losing a fistfight…in front of a bunch of kids.

While the dramatics of the scene was a perfect example of those old classic Westerns, Dern never really shook the reputation with a certain generation of fans. However, while working with John Wayne, Dern received direct orders to disrespect Wayne on set.“But right at the start, he says to me, ‘I want you to do us a favor.’ He was including himself, [director] Mark Rydell, and the scriptwriters.” Dern explained that during the pep talk, “He [Wayne] gave me carte blanche to just treat him like a turd.” All so the kids acting on set as the cowboys would be scared of the bad guys.

Bruce Dern got into the role and listened to the orders that Wayne gave him. Now, the movie is a Western classic, and infamous in the minds and hearts of John Wayne fans everywhere.

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John Wayne or Jeff Bridges, who plays the role of Rooster Cogburn well? – My Blog

Two movies made 50 years apart, both based on a novel by the same name. Two different iconic actors took turns playing the rough-and-tumble marshal Rooster Cogburn in their respective versions of “True Grit.” John Wayne played him in the 1969 version, Jeff Bridges in 2010. Both were celebrated critically. Now, Duke’s official Instagram account is comparing the performances to see which one did it better.Of course, the question was posed by the John Wayne account. So it’s safe to say the people who responded in the comments were at least slightly biased toward the 1969 version.

Then again, both Rooster Cogburn actors were nominated for Academy Awards for their performances. So it’s really anybody’s game.“John Wayne & Jeff Bridges were both nominated for Oscars for their performance as Rooster Cogburn. Which version of the movie is your favorite, 1969 or 2010?” the Instagram caption read.

In the world of remakes, few movies do as much justice to their original counterparts as the 2010 version of “True Grit” from the Coen Brothers. There was no consensus among fans whatsoever. But some of the most popular sentiments seemed to be that the 1969 “True Grit” with John Wayne as Cogburn featured the more iconic performance. Though, many fans thought the 2010 movie was closer to the source text than the original.

“I have to fall on the side of the Duke. BUT, that’s the BEST remake of a film, I’ve ever seen! Loved them both,” a fan replied to the Instagram post.“2010 Much richer film and truer to the book’s feel. Wayne was robbed of an Oscar for the Searchers and this was a lifetime achievement award,” another added.Two Versions of ‘True Grit,’ Two Very Different Approaches to Character . One of the biggest complaints John Wayne fans had of Jeff Bridges’ approach to Rooster Cogburn was how disheveled he appeared.

“Jeff Bridges was horrible had marbles in house mouth and portrait Roster as a slob,” another fan replied to the post from John Wayne’s estate.But a different fan pointed out that, indeed, the portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in the novel by Charles Portis was one of a slobbish man.This isn’t to say that the Bridges performance is better for accuracy. It’s just that Henry Hathaway, the director of the 1969 “True Grit,” and the Coen brothers took different approaches to their movies. As a result, the actors contrasted greatly in their portrayals of Rooster Cogburn.

At the end of the day, however, the win may have to go to John Wayne on this one. After all, we’re still waiting on Jeff Bridges to reprise the role in a sequel. Duke did it in the 1975 film “Rooster Cogburn.”

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