The news last week was that Antoine Fuqua has been tapped by MGM to direct the 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 week is that Denzel Washington is in talks to star in that remake, which would reunite him with his “Training Day” and “The Equalizer” director, Fuqua, if a deal is reached.
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.
2 years later, Fuqua is named director by MGM, with Denzel Washington potentially replacing Cruise as star.
“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 be African American?
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 followed, as he stated a year or so ago, “a bunch of black troops, and they 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.”
Probably not, but it’s fun to speculate on the possibilities.
MGM, seemingly uninterested in fresh, novel 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,” 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.