It was in mid-2011 when it was first announced that Tony Scott was in talks with Warner Bros to direct a reboot of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah-directed seminal, influential classic The Wild Bunch. Scott was considering directing it as his follow-up to the Denzel Washington–Chris Pine action film Unstoppable.
Scott would die about a year later, in August 2012.
Smith would produce through his Overbrook Entertainment banner along with Jerry Weintraub, who last worked with Smith on another reboot – The Karate Kid remake, starring son Jaden Smith.
The original “Wild Bunch” followed a group of aging outlaws who plan one last score on the Texas-Mexico border, as the traditional American West changes around them, in 1913. It starred William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez and Ben Johnson.
The Wrap says that Smith’s remake will follow a disgraced D.E.A. agent who assembles a team to go after a Mexican drug lord and his fortune.
The first film was especially controversial upon its release because of its graphic violence, and the sheer ruthlessness of the film’s characters and construction. Whether Will Smith’s version will be retain the original’s grit and unrelenting bleakness, or whether he’ll aim for mass appeal with a PG13 rendition, isn’t yet known.
Maybe Will is trying to make up for 1999’s Wild Wild West; or maybe Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which he was up for, made him hungry for a western of his own.
The Wild Bunch is one of those films whose influence can be seen and felt in every movie made afterwards. It is the benchmark against which all other westerns are judged. But I can’t say that, since then, any other filmmaker has made a movie in the genre that can be compared to The Wild Bunch. The movie marks a turning point in the western and in 1999, the U.S. National Film Registry selected it for preservation in the Library of Congress as culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.
So I guess what I’m saying is… I’d much rather Will Smith left this one alone.
The studio and producing team are currently looking to hire a writer for the project.
No word on what other actors will be cast to fill out Will Smith’s team.
Maaaaan – I’m so sick of all these friggin’ remakes and reboots! Enough already! Please!