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.”
Wanted: Dead or Alive – A Western television series starring Steve McQueen as the bounty hunter Josh Randall. It aired on CBS for three seasons from 1958–61. The black-and-white program was a spin-off of a March 1958 episode of Trackdown, a 1957–59 western series starring Robert Culp. The series launched McQueen into becoming the first television star to cross over into comparable status on the big screen.
I haven’t come up with anybody to fill Yul Brynner’s boots .. yet. I’m working on it. But there’s at least one actor that might work for Steve McQureen’s role as the character, Vin.
I’m thinking of Viggo Mortensen. Viggo has already been in a couple of excellent Westerns: Appaloosa, and Hidalgo. His breed and his bloodlines are good. But can we talk him into it?
That might well depend on who else we can sign up …
“You never miss the water ‘til the well runs dry”.
And when all the modern smoke and mirrors finally clear, well …
the well is pretty dry.
No Burt Lancasters, Charlton Hestons, Kirk Douglas’, no Hepburns, Brynners … no Fonda’s, no Wayne’s … no Astaires, no Pecks … nor Cagney’s …
The well is not just dry. It’s gone.
I have a theory. (I always have a theory)
When the old studio film system eventually died it was a costly loss of an incredible artistic fraternity. The old studios and their moguls found and developed great STARS. They searched for and discovered talented people – then trained them – often from childhood up. They had a system; a plan; a program. And it worked. Did it ever. They looked for quality people, ability, character and talent. And found it. The list is so long, I couldn’t write it here.
Oh, it wasn’t perfect. (Nothing is). And many Stars rebelled against it – disliking it’s confinement and regimentation. Eventually it disintegrated.
I wouldn’t say there aren’t some good actors and talented people around today.
“I never rode shotgun on a hearse before.” – Steve McQueen / The Magnificent Seven
I could very easily understand it if Tom Cruise’s rumoured remake of The Magnificent Seven never hits the dusty trail. Though you can surely bet that they want to make this movie … and you can surely bet that Western Fans are very interested (there’s a ready-made market out here).
The same problems that plague (and guns down) most remakes (of any genre) are in strong evidence:
Mainly, THEY DON’T HAVE THE PEOPLE. Oh yeah, they’ve got all the modern production values … the money … and special effects … etc. BUT … where (oh where) do you find a Director like John Sturges (Gunfight at the OK Corral. Last Train from Gun Hill; Hour of the Gun; Bad Day at Black Rock; Joe Kidd; The Law and Jake Wade, etc) ? or (an inspired script) writing like the previous movie … AND (most importantly) THE CAST to match the previously (great) movie – a Western Classic: Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Eli Wallach. Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz …
The horrible reality is … you can’t.
For starters, where do you find a Yul Brynner ????
There ain’t any. He was one of a kind. The Man.
Do you see anybody around who can fill those boots ??
I don’t. But I don’t know everything.
So … OK … let’s not give up so easily. Let’s suppose that these nagging points aren’t going to discourage Tom – and he is planning to go ahead – as I’m sure he will.
Let’s play movie maker then … Casting Director … and try to pull this off.
Here we go …
Number 1: Casting Chris
This is going to be the hardest role to cast. It makes or breaks the movie even before it hits the screen … or the fan.
I’m supposing (if this really is Tom Cruise‘s project) that Tom is considering playing Yul Brynner‘s role as Chris.
Will that work? Can he pull it off? Mission impossible?
You know, I like Tom Cruise as an actor. Most of his stuff is pretty good – and entertaining.
BUT … really.
Hmmm. But maybe Tom will look things over
and decide to cast somebody else here.
or will he bravelyshave his head and brazenlyride forward !?! ???
IF he does decide to cast someone else here …
then who ??
Is there a Star around with the charisma, power and presence of Yul Brynner ??