February, 7, 2011
A friend of a friend worked on the Coen brother's True Grit and he shared with me some of the hat styles that were considered for Rooster Cogburn. I can't post the photos of Jeff Bridges wearing these various lids, but I can do a sketch of the one I really thought they should have used:
It has flair and style and more importantly, a period hat band. The one they chose unfortunately makes Bridges look like a homeless detective. As you probably know I hate the fedora look in modern Westerns (Daniel Craig sports another one in the forthcoming Cowboys & Aliens), and while it may be somewhat accurate, there are plenty of accurate cowboy hats that could be utilized, like this sweet lid (above). The other liberty I have taken is straight from the Charles Portis book: "[Rooster] had a mustache like [President Grover] Cleveland. . ." Unfortunately, Bridges as Rooster looks more like The Big Lebowski than a member of U.S. Marshal Heck Thomas' crew.
If the Coen's had insisted on using an open crown I would have suggested this:
Don't get me wrong, the Coen brother's True Grit is quite wonderful, but with the right hat and whiskers on Bridges, it could have been a damn straight classic for the ages.
As the nitpickers and Hat Nazis are fond of saying, the devil is in the details.
"If I ever meet one of you Texas waddies that says he never drank from a horse track I think I will shake his hand and give him a Daniel Webster cigar."
—Rooster Cogburn to Texas Ranger La Boeuf, in True Grit, by Charles Portis