MGM are leaving no stone unturned in their catalogue when it comes to remakes. With “Robocop” and “Poltergeist” on the way for 2014, and “Road House,” “Death Wish,” “WarGames,” “The Idolmaker,” “Ben-Hur” and more all in development, the name of game seems to reboots over original material. And that brings us to the classic western “The Magnificent Seven.” In the works for a couple years now, the project gained some serious steam when Tom Cruise put his name to it in 2012, with a writer added over this past summer. But heading into 2014, the redo will need to find another star as a screenplay gets more work.
The Wrap reports that John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks”) has been brought in to re-write the first draft of the script by Nic Pizzolatto (“True Detective”). For now, it’s just a writing gig for Hancock who has no plans to direct, but with credits to his name including “The Alamo,” “Snow White & The Huntsman” and next year’s “Maleficent,” he knows his way around spectacle. Meanwhile, Tom Cruise has exited the project mostly because his plate is currently full with about five zillion other movies on the go, so he could probably do with one less.
So the remake machine continues on this project, and we’ll ask you this: who do you think can direct or star in this movie and at least attempt to do justice to the original?
I’ve already posted my own fantasy cast which I will boldly match up against anybody else’s projections.
Except for Tom Cruise, of course, who has now bailed out. This leaves a VERY large hole – as casting Yul Brynner’s former role was the biggest challenge of them all.
My Favorite Westerns casting for The Magnificent Seven / Remake:
Yul Brynner … TOM CRUISE
Steve McQueen … VIGGO MORTENSEN
James Coburn … GUY PEARCE
Charles Bronson … WILLEN DAFOE
Robert Vaughn … BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH
Brad Dexter … BRENDAN FRASER
Horst Buchholz … AARON PAUL
Eli Wallach… ANTONIO BANDERAS
O’Reilly (Bronson): “I admire your notion of fair odds, mister.”
TOM CRUISE’s departure from a planned remake of the star-studded western has put the project back to square one
HOLLYWOOD studio MGM has “called in the cavalry” to rescue a planned remake of classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven after Tom Cruise stunned producers by quitting.
Cruise, 51, blamed a personal “scheduling conflict” for his departure more than six months after agreeing to a lead role.
As he rode off into the sunset, studio bosses hired John Lee Hancock, who directed current box-office hit Saving Mr Banks, to re-write what was seen as a troubled script.
The turmoil comes at the end of a year in which the original Magnificent Seven was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of America’s Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. It starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz.
Yesterday a senior MGM source said: “Tom’s departure has thrown a real wrench in the wagon wheel.
“He was the only one of the seven we had cast and would obviously have helped draw other A-list stars into the project.
“Now it’s a case of going right back to square one in terms of casting and having John Lee Hancock re-write the script from top to bottom. You might say he’s leading our cavalry on a rescue mission.
“We’re hoping that once John Lee has completed a first draft of a new script, we will be firmly back on track and in a position to attract some of Hollywood’s best-known actors.”
Hancock, a hugely respected Hollywood figure, is no stranger to the genre, having directed 2004’s Disney remake of another 1960 western classic, The Alamo.
Even before Cruise backed out, studio bosses had become concerned about committing a reported £100million-plus to the film. They saw rival Disney take a financial hit earlier this year as an equally costly remake of The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp as Tonto, flopped.
Los Angeles-based media analyst Mike Raia insisted yesterday: “I believe the western can survive and even thrive as a genre.
“However, the onus is on the filmmakers to make their modern versions resonate with today’s younger audiences as well as older fans.”
– Van Cleef had almost given up on his acting career in the mid-’60s and turned to painting when he was cast by Sergio Leone in For a Few Dollars More(1965). It made him a superstar in Europe and restarted his career in the US, making him again a recognizable and bankable name.
– Lee had one green eye and one blue eye. This was corrected in the movies with colored contact lenses.
– He was involved in a car accident in 1959 in which he lost his left kneecap. Doctors told him he would never be able to ride a horse again because of the injury. Within six months he was back in the saddle. But the injury plagued him for the rest of his life.