True Grit Screening Hijacked by Real Life Rooster Cogburn
Two unidentified men stormed a Franklin movie theater late Thursday night claiming to be descendants of the real Rooster Cogburn (a character originated by John Wayne and now played by Jeff Bridges). The duo demanded to be seated at a private screening of Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit, holding theater manager Graeme Nole at gunpoint. Nole quickly recognized that the two men were carrying plastic toys rifles, and he assumed that this was a gag set up by the local radio station, who had given out a number of tickets to listeners earlier in the day.
The men, one of them dressed as Rooster Cogburn complete with an eye patch over his left eye, were given access to the small screening room, where they proceeded to sit in seats clearly marked for the local press. When one of the radio station employees noticed that these strangely dressed men were not on his list, she quickly called it to the theater manager's attention.
The two men in question refused to leave the screening room. When no press members showed up, Nole decided to let the two scary Cogburn enthusiasts keep their seats. Nole later said that he decided to let them stay in the spirit of the holidays, as they didn't seem threatening. They just looked like they wanted to have a good time.
In a statement given to the paper, Nole said that he was a little worried by their appearance and the fact that he could smell whiskey on their breath. But the pair sat quietly through the film, and the one man dressed as Rooster even offered his opinion to Nole, "After the movie was over, the big guy came over to me, and he says, 'The movie was good, Jeff Bridges was awesome. But I still like the original John Wayne version better due to the story telling.' And then he nodded politely and the pair wandered back into the snow."
The paper ran this photo of the two men, which was taken by one of the radio station employees:
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