The question 3 months ago was whether Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington would board 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").
The news this month is that the pair are no longer on the fence, as Fuqua himself confirmed that the pair would tackle the remake next – a revelation he made after the TIFF premiere of their latest collab, also a remake (of a TV series), "The Equalizer."
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," itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic "Seven Samurai," 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, which could have a dramatic impact on the script, if a black man is in the starring role, given the era in which the story will take place. And might this then suggest that some of the "Magnificent Seven" (other than Denzel) will also be African American (if not all of them)?
And could this then become more like something Quentin Tarantino has mentioned interest in making before? An "Inglourious Basterds"-type of flick in which the story follows, as he stated a year or so ago, "a bunch of black troops [who] had been fucked over by the American military and kind of go apeshit. They basically […] go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers."
The Fuqua/Washington project probably won’t tell that story, but it’s fun to speculate on the possibilities.
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 certainly something to look forward to.
Fuqua didn’t given an ETA.
So now we wait to learn more about the project.