Hollywood is never done with remakes… This time they aren’t turning to recent genre fare for a sequel/reboot – like JURASSIC PARK, INDIANA JONES, ALIENS, BLADE RUNNER, etc. This time we’re getting a remake of a legendary masterpiece: 1960’s THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. This Western starred iconic actors like STEVE McQUEEN and YUL BRENNER.
MAGINIFICENT SEVEN was a remake itself of AKIRA KUROSAWA’s 1954 black & white classic SEVEN SAMURAI. I watch this Japanese film every year. It’s that good. And that timeless. From the drumming of the memorable score, to the emotional performances, and the epic action sequences – everything works so well. There was nothing like it in 1950s Hollywood…
But there soon would be. Kurosawa’s film inspired the whole Western boom responsible for a long line of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies – giving birth to the Spaghetti Western of the 60s. It’s hard to imagine a world without RIO BRAVO, THE SEARCHERS, FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, THE GOOD THE BAD & THE UGLY. I’d argue we wouldn’t have them without SEVEN SAMURAI and Kurosawa’s extended filmography (including RASHOMON, RAN, YOJIMBO, and HIDDEN FORTRESS – which inspired STAR WARS)… Do not let any of these films (American, Italian, and Japanese) SLIP THROUGH the cracks.
Director ANTOINE FUQUA is the man behind the camera for the latest remake of MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. He reunites with his TRAINING DAY and EQUALIZER star DENZEL WASHINGTON. Both of those movies were some of the best in the genre the year of their release. In fact, Denzel WON an OSCAR for his role as a villainous dirty cop in TRAINING DAY. Fuqua directs with a visual flare and kinetic energy. His movies look beautiful. And they’re always relentless. I’m looking forward to see how he puts his immense talent to work on a Western.
Let’s get into the rest of the cast – a couple of BIG names involved…
The writers behind this fresh adaptation are JOHN LEE HANCOCK and NIC PIZZOLATTO. The most encouraging bit here is Pizzolatto creator / writer of HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE – every single episode! If you liked his impressive work there it’s hard not to get excited for how he’ll handle something on this scale. TRUE was definitely dark and grisly, it didn’t pull any punches. It also waded into philosophical waters, perhaps alienating and drowning some of its viewers. It’s one of the best shows of this decade – the so-called golden age of television.
Previously released news told us that hotter than hot actor in demand, CHRIS PRATT, has already signed on board this Western. The script from Pizzolatto must be good because Pratt turned down the starring role in UNCHARTED for this. He’s been rumoured for everything lately. Most intriguing, being the reboot of INDIANA JONES. He’s leading the way in a couple of franchises already. He kicked ass and cracked jokes as STARLORD in last summer’s runaway blockbuster GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. This summer we’ll see him lead the new JURASSIC WORLD. After that it’s COWBOY VIKING NINJA. Winner for best genre title ever.
Earlier today came news that fellow TRAINING DAY actor ETHAN HAWKE has boarded this MAGINIFICENT ship. Hawke is one of those actors that takes his drama seriously (the past 12 years with BOYHOOD) but also dabbles in science fiction (PREDESTINATION recently) and horror (SINISTER) from time to time. I’d love to see him in a period piece like this Western. I’m sure he’ll rock a badass handlebar moustache. What’s most exciting is the chance to see Hawke in an action heavy role. It depends how this remake focuses on, but I’m sure that the finale (at least) will be truly epic in spectacle.
Fuqua has shown with films like THE EQUALIZER that he doesn’t shy away from violence. His violence is so brutal, if honest. He’s not afraid to show the effect of carnage. He’s also not afraid to make us care about his characters. In fact, he seems to enjoy complex characters with complicated morals. I can’t wait to see what he does to modernize the Western genre.
With the talent in front of the camera and behind, we have a real chance of witnessing a good remake of an iconic film of legendary status. It’s some large boots to fill, but I feel like the studio has assembled the best possible team for such an endevour.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
You speak… I hear…
Who else should fill the remaining roles of the Seven Gunslingers? Upcomer HALEY BENNETT is also cast in MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. Who would you like to see defend the town?
Do you like the decision for director? Who would you like to see helm a Western?
Which gunslinger are you looking forward too most? Starlord?
What do you think of the reunion of Denzel, Hawke, and Fuqua? Can they capture that same LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE (excuse the pun – Fuqua made an excellent documentary on the blues with that same title)?
What do you think of all these reboots, sequels, prequels, and remakes coming out? Is it too much? Do you crave something original?
Who is your favourite gunslinger of all time?
What is your favourite Western?