John Wayne’s Grandson Auditioned For the ‘True Grit’ Remake: Here’s What Role

by Matthew Wilson

Like grandfather, like grandson. John Wayne’s grandson Brendan revealed that he auditioned for a role in the remake of the Duke’s classic “True Grit.”

In 2010, the Coen brothers opted to adapt a new version of the film. As an actor himself, Brendan knew he had to try out for the film. Brendan Wayne auditioned for a small role as a lawyer in the beginning of the film. But he joked, in a 2011 interview with Variety, that he wanted to don the eyepatch like his grandfather.

“They were looking at me to play the lawyer who grilled Rooster in the beginning,” Brendan Wayne told the outlet. “I really wanted to be Rooster, but they got some guy named [Jeff] Bridges. He seems like a talented kid. I think he might do something in this business.”

The part of Rooster Cogburn ultimately went to Jeff Bridges. Likewise, the film cast both Hailee Steinfeld, Josh Brolin, and Matt Damon to round out the cast.

Cogburn was one of the most celebrated roles of John Wayne’s career. In fact, it was the only role to ever earn the actor the coveted Academy Award. Up until that point in his career, Wayne thought he’d never win an Oscar. Likewise, Rooster Cogburn ended up being the only character that the actor agreed to play twice. He reprised the role in the sequel “Rooster Cogburn.”

John Wayne’s Grandson And ‘True Grit’

Unfortunately for Brendan Wayne, he ultimately didn’t get a part in the film. The Coen Brothers didn’t want comparisons to the original film. They opted not to have that tie to Wayne’s film, even if it would have proved a good nod to the original and a career opportunity for Brendan.

“I think at the end of the day they wanted to distance themselves from the original,” Brendan Wayne said. “The Coen Brothers wanted to make it their own film and not remind people about the John Wayne movie. They didn’t want that attachment, and they certainly didn’t need my pedigree. At least I hope that’s the reason, and not because I just had a really terrible audition.”

Instead, the 2010 film ended up being less of a remake of John Wayne’s film than its own thing entirely. The Coen brothers weren’t remaking the original film, they were adapting the novel itself. As a result, both films ended up being very different with their own merits and weaknesses.