If the 25-degree temperatures, dirt-brown carpet (in lieu of a red one) and lack of Golden Globes nominations dampened spirits at Tuesday night's "True Grit" premiere at New York's famed Ziegfeld Theatre, it sure didn't show.
Taking a lesson from the film's title, stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Barry Pepper and Hailee Steinfeld — as well as a bevy of celebrities, including "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier, musician John Legend and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — showed true grit in braving the frigid temps to walk the unconventionally colored carpet. (Giuliani was greeted by chants of "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!")
And the "True Grit" posse chatted jovially with reporters about the film, which marks a return to the Western genre for "No Country for Old Men" directors Joel and Ethan Coen, and tells of a U.S. Marshal (Bridges) and Texas Ranger (Damon) helping a young girl (Steinfeld) track down her father's killer (Brolin).
When asked what sets "True Grit," which hits theaters December 22, apart from the rest of the Western pack, Pepper had a theory. "So many of them have so many anachronisms that kind of ruin it for me and pull me out of the period, whereas the Coen brothers are so authentic and they have such a precise vision," he said. "And the dialogue [in 'True Grit'] is extraordinary, which is plucked straight from the source of Charles Portis' novel. So, yeah, this one's a very special one for me."
As for Pepper's favorite Western of all time, the actor didn't have to think twice before responding: "I'd say 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.' It came out in 1966 and it raised the bar for the Western genre beyond belief."
Singer Legend, en route to what he said was his first trip to a movie theater in months, had a bit more trouble pinpointing his list-topping Western. "Oh, I don't know — let me think about that," the "Ordinary People" singer said, eventually revealing that he's a big fan of "that one with Morgan Freeman," a.k.a. "Unforgiven."
Meanwhile, Steinfeld, the 14-year-old who's earning raves for her feature-film debut in "True Grit," admitted that she hadn't seen many Westerns before signing on for the movie. "Maybe I can get away with 'True Grit'?" she laughed.
We'll let it slide.
Check out everything we've got on "True Grit."
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