Six years since the premiere of “The Magnificent Seven” and lead star Ethan Hawke is still pushing for the five-hour cut to be released.
The #ReleasetheFuquaCut campaign can only get so far, though, as Hawke revealed he’s been begging director Antoine Fuqua for over half a decade.
“In some ways, I see all his films [as] a collective scream against authority,” Hawke told The Hollywood Reporter of his collaborations with Fuqua. “[It’s] 107 [degrees] in Louisiana and there were more studio execs than our 100-person cast. He just put his head down and made his movie. I still beg him to release the five-hour cut of that film.”
The 2016 film was a remake of the John Sturges classic inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai.” Fuqua’s updated Western starred Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Peter Sarsgaard, and Haley Bennett.
Fuqua set out to remake the beloved epic after watching the original McQueen film with his grandmother while growing up. Infamously, Fuqua had to “compromise” to cut the film down to make a PG-13 rating. So, could an extended version of “The Magnificent Seven” make its way onto a streamer, similar to Quentin Tarantino’s expanded “The Hateful Eight”?
Longtime Fuqua collaborator Hawke previously led Fuqua’s “Training Day” and “Brooklyn’s Finest.” Fuqua told IndieWire that Hawke “cornered” him to get any role in “The Magnificent Seven.”
“I ran into Ethan because he was hosting an ‘Equalizer’ screening here in New York,” Fuqua explained. “And he literally grabbed me and put me against the wall and said,’ I’m in that movie. It’s called ‘Magnificent Seven.’ I know Denzel [Washington] is doing the one, so there’s six more to go. And if I’m not in it, our friendship’s over.'”
Fuqua continued, “I don’t understand why we give up genres, and the Western is a great genre. It’s a part of the rich history of cinema, and who we are as we’ve evolved as people, as a community. Each time you see a Western movie, it’s a good reflection of where things are in the world at that time. It’s probably one of the purest forms of cinema that really tells you where the world is.”
Hawke continued his Western kick with “The Kid,” “In the Valley of Violence,” and series “The Good Lord Bird.” Now, Hawke is soaring into Pedro Almodóvar’s “Strange Way of Life,” a short film acting as Almodóvar’s “answer to ‘Brokeback Mountain,'” co-starring Pedro Pascal as Hawke’s love interest.