Fifteen thousand girls applied for the role of the young Mattie Ross, the part going to Hailee Steinfeld. She was 13 years old when cast. It was her theatrical feature-film debut.
Despite Mattie Ross having the most screen time and being considered the protagonist, Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in many award shows, including the Academy Awards.
As mentioned in the trivia from the original True Grit (1969), the character of Rooster Cogburn is supposed to be around 40, both John Wayne and Jeff Bridges were in their early 60's when they portrayed their roles. John Wayne was 62, Jeff Bridges was 60.
The movie was nominated for ten Academy Awards failing to win any and going down in film history as one of the most ever nominated films to not win an Oscar.
Because of child labor laws, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen were unable to film any scenes past midnight with Hailee Steinfeld (especially difficult because the movie contains many night scenes), and because of scheduling problems, any time there is a shot of another character over Mattie's shoulder or back, Mattie is played by an adult double, not Steinfeld.
Jeff Bridges said that the first piece of direction the Coens gave him was to forget about the John Wayne version. Their movie would be a return to the 1968 source material by the original author Charles Portis.
Judge Parker (referred to several times during the movie) was an actual judge in Fort Smith, AR. He was known as "Hanging Judge" Parker.
When La Boeuf first meets Mattie, he tells her that one of the aliases of Chaney is J. Todd Anderson, a frequent Coen Brothers storyboard artist.
All scenes in which horses appeared to fall or be in pain or distress were faked using a combination of specific horse training and clever editing.
Rooster refers to LaBoeuf as a "brush popper" and later as a "waddie." Those are American West terms for a cowboy.
No computer-generated special effects were used in the creation of the town of Fort Smith. The town of Granger, Texas, was used as a double in the movie, due to several sections of the city still displaying the period's city planning with wide streets. The art department did painstaking efforts to add details: fake buildings were built between existing ones, and existing buildings were painted or redressed with facades to give them the correct period appearance; sand was put onto the cobblestone streets to get the appearance of dirt roads; 20th century telephone poles were either removed or redressed as trees. Since the movie takes place in the winter, the leaves of one tree that came into frame during the hanging scene had to be picked-off by hand. Finally, a small stretch of railroad was built for a period train that was brought in from a museum.
The Cole Younger and Frank James Wild West Company toured the south in 1903. Younger and James formed the show years after the end of their careers as outlaws in the notorious James-Younger gang.
Jeff Bridges is the third actor in movies and television to play Rooster Cogburn. John Wayne was the first in True Grit (1969) and its sequel Rooster Cogburn (1975) whilst Warren Oates was the second actor to do so in True Grit: A Further Adventure (1978), the character being called Reuben J. Rooster.
Bear Man tells Rooster and Mattie that there is nothing north of the "picketwire." This is the Purgatoire River in southeastern Colorado, known locally as the Picketwire River or the Purgatory River.
This was the last film that famed cinematographer Roger Deakins shot on film before switching to digital technology.
After Crazy Heart (2009), this was the second consecutive film for which Jeff Bridges received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He failed to win the award on this occasion.
This movie marks the second time that an actor (Jeff Bridges) has been nominated for an Academy Award for playing Rooster Cogburn. John Wayne won Best Actor for playing Rooster Cogburn in the original True Grit (1969).
Many of the firearms in True Grit are replicas from the Italian gun maker Aldo Uberti Company. Using replicas is a common practice in movies. The original manufacturers' pistols, rifles, and shotguns in True Grit are antiques that are over a century old and do not have the availability required by movie property managers. Replicas are exact copies that look newer (not worn and antique) and thus match the appropriate time frame presented in the movie.
During the campfire scene, Rooster Cogburn mentions Daniel Webster cigars as he insults LaBoeuf. Webster was an American statesman, lawyer, and orator. The cigar brand was named in his honor.
The Rooster Cogburn character's full name is Reuben J. Cogburn. Rooster is his nickname. His birth-date is 15 July, 1825.
In the boarding house, when Mattie is given her father's personal effects, among the items visible is her father's gun, a small bag, his pocket watch with chain attached to a Masonic square and compass watch fob. Mattie also tells Yarnell that she wants her father buried in his Masonic apron.
In the original True Grit (1969), Rooster Cogburn wears his eye-patch on his left eye. In the remake of True Grit (2010), the eye-patch is worn over Cogburn's right eye.
One of only fifteen or sixteen Western movies to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award (Oscar). It is also the first western to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award since Unforgiven (1992) and Dances with Wolves (1990), a gap of nineteen years. This depends on whether one counts Brokeback Mountain (2005) as a Western (the gap would be then six years), as Brokeback Mountain (2005) is not set during the historical period of the American West.
Firearms used in the film: - Rooster Cogburn utilizes a Cavalry model of the Colt Single Action Army as his sidearm, and a Winchester Model 1873 as his long arm. He also carries a pair of Colt Dragoon revolvers in holsters on his saddle, and uses them in his confrontation with Ned Pepper's gang. Mattie's father leaves her a Colt Dragoon. La Boeuf carries a Colt Single Action Army as well has his trademark Sharps 1874 Cavalry carbine. Tom Chaney carries the Henry Model 1860 rifle he took from Frank Ross. Ned Pepper is seen with a Remington 1875 revolver as well as a Winchester 1866 "Yellow Boy" rifle.
The triangular bladed knife found on the dead body in the pit Mattie falls into is known as an "Arkansas Toothpick".
First Coen brothers film to get a PG-13 rating in the USA since Intolerable Cruelty (2003).
This movie was made and released forty-two years after the Charles Portis novel of the same name was first published in 1968, and forty-one years after True Grit (1969).
Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin have both played the character of Wild Bill Hickok in separate productions before starring in this film together. Bridges played Hickok in Wild Bill (1995) and Brolin played Hickok in The Young Riders (1989).
The two front buckles on Matt Damon's cowboy hat form the letter "B", the letter used on caps and hats to represent his hometown Boston Red Sox baseball team.
Michael Biehn auditioned for the role of 'Lucky' Ned Pepper but lost out to Barry Pepper.
In his review of Raising Arizona, Roger Ebert criticized the Coen Brothers' use of affected mannerisms in their dialogue. As an example of a movie where similar archaic turns of phrases actually worked, Ebert cited the original version of True Grit. This version of True Grit was the last Coen Brothers movie Ebert reviewed, giving it a positive rating with 3 1/2 stars out of a possible 4.
Rooster Cogburn tells Mattie about previously owning an eatery called The Green Frog. There is actually a restaurant in Jacksboro, Texas, called The Green Frog. It has been in business 40+ years.
Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld ride horses respectively named Apollo, Cowboy and Cimarron, animals that were carefully chosen and trained by veteran wranglers Rusty Hendrickson and son Scout Schoenfeld Hendrickson.
Jeff Bridges's Oscar nomination for this film marks the seventh time in Oscar history that one actor has been nominated for playing a role that had already earned another actor an Oscar. There were two instances involving the character of King Henry VIII, with Robert Shaw nominated in 1967 for A Man for All Seasons (1966) and Richard Burton nominated in 1970 for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), after Charles Laughton earned his Oscar for the role in 1933's The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933). Also in 1970, Peter O'Toole was nominated for playing Chipping in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), a role that won Robert Donat an Oscar for 1939's Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). It happened again in the 1970s when Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro each won Oscars for playing Vito Corleone (in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), respectively). The fifth occurrence was when Gérard Depardieu, was nominated for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), a role that had already won an Oscar for José Ferrer (1950's Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)). The sixth was when Cate Blanchett was nominated for playing Queen Elizabeth I in 1998 and 2008 in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), respectively, a role that won Judi Dench an Oscar in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love (1998). John Wayne won Best Actor for playing Rooster Cogburn in the original True Grit (1969). The original True Grit, and the first two Godfathers, all featured Robert Duvall as well, who appeared with Jeff Bridges the previous year in his Oscar-winning role in Crazy Heart (2009).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
Matt Damon and Barry Pepper both played the same character, Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley, in separate movies: Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and Pepper in Ripley Under Ground (2005).
Although Cogburn refers to his "Navy Sixes," there is never an appearance of a Colt 1851 Navy revolver in the movie. The 2 pistols Cogburn carries in his saddle holsters, holds in the cornbread scene, and fires in the charge scene, are 2nd model Colt Dragoon revolvers according to Keith Walters the movie's property master. Cogburn's mention of "Navy Sixes" was part of his account charging and scattering a posse following him after a bank robbery years ago and before he was a US Marshal. It's possible that he has swapped the Colt 1851 Navy revolvers for Dragoons.
In the first movie production of True Grit (1969), Tom Chaney's black powder mark is on his right cheek. In the Coen's 2010 production of True Grit, the black powder mark is on Tom Chaney's left cheek.
"Lucky" Ned Pepper has, on the grips of his guns, a quatrefoil. That seems a connection to his nickname.
Tom Cheney has a powder burn on his left cheek. This would indicate that, at some point, his face has been close to a muzzle flash from a weapon discharge. Whether the weapon was pointed at him or was fired alongside him is not clear.
Mattie says the title of the film to Rooster when she meets him outside of the courtroom. She says, "They tell me you're a man with true grit."
The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and J.K. Simmons; and two Oscar nominees: Hailee Steinfeld and Josh Brolin.
Judging by the hints and references hidden in the movie, especially in the epilogue, Cogburn and LaBoeuf are supposed to be more or less the same age (both in their early-mid fifties) when the main events of the story take place. Jeff Bridges, however, is 21 years older than co-star Matt Damon.