Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington are teaming up again for MGM’s long-in-development remake of “The Magnificent Seven” (the 1960 American western directed by John Sturges, which was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”).
As recently as 2012, Tom Cruise was attached to star in the remake, although, at the time, there was no director attached. It was said that Cruise had long been interested in saddling up for a “Magnificent Seven” remake, but was not in his then immediate plans.
“The Magnificent Seven” starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz as a group of American gunmen hired to protect a small Mexican village from a group of savage bandits led by Eli Wallach. The 1960 film was followed by three sequels, and was also remade as a CBS TV series from 1998-2000.
The Fuqua/Washington redo will be set just after the Civil War, and, we can also now add that, like its predecessor, it’ll, once again, be set in a small town – although, in this case, a small town built around a gold mine – that’s threatened by a ruthless baron and his gang of thugs, who attempts to take over the town, which leads to the deaths of many of its people, in the process. In response, a young widow (who will be played by the recently-cast Haley Bennett) who lives in the town, hires a bounty hunter (the role Denzel Washington will play) to use his necessary set of skills to rid the town of the bad guys. He does so with the help of 6 hired guns (one of them will be played by Chris Pratt; the rest are yet to be cast, although I can only assume that they all won’t be white).
That the film is set during the Civil War could have a dramatic impact on the script, given that a black man is leading the charge.
By the way, Haley Bennet also appeared in the last film Fuqua and Washington made together, which was also a remake – “The Equalizer.”
The film doesn’t have a release date set yet.
MGM, seemingly uninterested in fresh, original ideas, continues to mine its library for remakes. You’ll recall the recent “RoboCop” and “Carrie” reboots, with remakes of “Poltergeist,” “WarGames,” “Death Wish,” “In the Heat of the Night” and others all in development.
And while I’m not exactly a big fan of what feels like a preponderance of redos/reboots/remakes/etc, a Fuqua/Washington pairing on a “Magnificent Seven” project set just after the civil war, in the American west, is something to look forward to.