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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 12, 2011

True Grit star Hailee Steinfield has a filipina mother

WE DON’T KNOW why Fil-Am actress Hailee Steinfield got nominated as best supporting actress in the coming Oscar Awards when she actually plays the lead character in the remake of “True Grit”, first filmed in 1969 starring John Wayne based on the 1968 best-selling novel of Charles Portis. The story is told entirely from her point of view, she starts and ends the film and she has more scenes than any other character.

And in fairness to the 15-year old girl (who has a Filipina mom and Jewish dad), she does extremely well, often eclipsing her co-actors with her feisty and authoritative interpretation of her role as Mattie Ross, the 14-year old girl who wants to avenge the death of her murdered father in the Old West. This is quite a feat, considering that her co-actors are also very competent in their own right: Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn, the U.S. Marshall she hires to help her track down her dad’s murderer (first played by John Wayne who won an Oscar best actor award for it); Matt Damon as La Boeuf, a Texas ranger who joins them in their search for the killer (played by Glenn Campbell then); and Josh Brolin as Tom Chaney, the drifter who killed her dad (Jeff Corey then). We particularly like Mattie’s scene with an old businessman, Col. Stonehill, where she bargains with him about the money he owes her and she succeeds in besting out the craftier older man in getting what she wants.

The remake is written and directed by the Coen Brothers, Joel and Nathan, best known for films like “Fargo”, “No Country for Old Men”. They do a better job and surpasses the original Western directed by Henry Hathaway. They are more faithful to the original novel, especially in coming up with a new ending where we’re told what happened to Mattie when she grew up. The film’s pacing is more brisk and the action scenes now are more violent like the well staged climactic shoot out, but told with touches of dark humor. Jeff Bridges is nominated as best actor in the coming Oscars but he won’t win as Colin Firth is the favorite for “The King’s Speech”. Also, he just won last year for “Crazy Heart” when he was 63. When John Wayne won the Oscar for “True Grit”, he was 62.