John Wayne’s Co-Star Paul Koslo Revealed What He Thought Duke’s Best Acting Was

by Victoria Santiago
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John Wayne’s co-star Paul Koslo has a surprising secret: he never liked John Wayne’s acting. That is until he saw one particular film that changed his mind.

During an interview with A Word on Westerns, Koslo said, “I’ve got a little a secret here, I never liked the Duke as an actor myself. But then when I saw Rooster Cogburn and the Lady, I thought – and I had seen some of his movies – I thought it was the best acting he had ever done.”

The Duke’s former co-star elaborates on what exactly made him change his mind about the iconic actor. “He was so natural, ‘cuz I always thought he was so stiff. He was so funny. And he was so charming. and he was so easygoing. I never thought he had that in him. I was really impressed,” Koslo mentioned.

Koslo had a lot to say about his fellow star. His first impression of the Duke was on the first morning of filming Rooster Cogburn. While they were getting introduced to each other, John Wayne asked Paul Koslo what part he was playing. When Koslo told him that he was playing “Luke the Duke,” Wayne was quick to react. He (jokingly) said “No you’re not, you’re playing Luke the Puke! There’s only one Duke around here.” Even as a joke, that sounds like a pretty intimidating introduction. You can watch Koslo’s interview here.

Rooster Cogburn Character Was Almost Up for Grabs

Rooster Cogburn and the Lady is a follow-up to True Grit, one of John Wayne’s most iconic films. However, he almost didn’t even get the chance to act as Rooster Cogburn. At the time, the Duke was horribly sick. He had gotten pneumonia while he was in London. The sickness made him cough so hard that he ended up damaging one of the valves in his heart. Sounds like a rough time. But then, if we didn’t get a dose of John Wayne’s acting as Rooster Cogburn, who would’ve been on the screen?

There were multiple replacements in line for Wayne’s character. Producers were planning on giving the part to Marlon Brando if Wayne was too sick to act. Other stars were considered for the role, too. Actors like Kirk Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Rock Hudson, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman were all considered.

Whose ‘True Grit’ Acting Was the Best?

Ah, the age-old question. Quite literally, as the two film adaptations were filmed 50 years apart. But still, fans are wondering, who played the part of Rooster Cogburn best? Of course, it’s hard to be objective in movie matters. Especially considering both John Wayne and Jeff Bridges were nominated for Academy Awards for the role.

As you might imagine, there was no cohesive answer amongst fans. It seems that fans think John Wayne’s performance is more memorable, but the 2010 remake is truer to the book. Bonus points because it was a good remake, and we know those are rare. Ultimately, the two actors had different approaches to playing the iconic Rooster Cogburn character. If Jeff Bridges ever revisits the role in a sequel (like John Wayne did), maybe they can share the title.

Outsider.com