In Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 masterpiece The Seven Samurai, an outfit of swordsmen defend a helpless village from bandits in medieval Japan. Several years later, filmmaker John Sturges reframed Kurosawa’s story in the Old West with his equally impressive 1960s Hollywood classic, The Magnificent Seven.
Over five decades, three sequels, a TV series, countless homages, and one song from The Clash later, a reboot of The Magnificent Seven will hit the big screen this fall courtesy of Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. Starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Marvel hunk Chris Pratt, Marvel baddie Vincent D’Onofrio, and South Korean superstar Lee Byung-Hun, The Magnificent Seven is looking totally sweet.
Western movies have struggled to reclaim the cultural prominence they held in the early 20th century, but its influence runs deep in today’s most popular movies and shows, including hybrid hits like Star Wars and Breaking Bad. It’s unclear whether the western is making a comeback — The Hateful Eight was lit, The Lone Ranger wasn’t — but Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven looks primed to reinvigorate a sleeping genre.
Here’s everything key to know about the resurrection of The Magnificent Seven.
The titular seven
You’re probably wanting to know who’s starring in this thing. Here it goes:
Denzel Washington plays Sam Chisolm, a bounty hunter who leads the titular Seven.
Chris Pratt plays Josh Farraday, a gambler and demolitions expert.
Ethan Hawke as Goodnight Robicheaux, which is AN AMAZING NAME, who is a sharpshooter.
Vincent D’Onofrio, fresh from Marvel’s Daredevil as Jack Horne, a trapper.
Lee Byung-hun, in a decidedly non-stereotypically Asian role, as assassin Billy Rocks.
Manuel Garcia Rulfo as Vasquez, an outlaw.
Martin Sensmeier, who grew up in the Native American Alaskan community, as Comanche warrior Red Harvest.
The film also stars Hayley Bennet as a widow who hires the titular Seven, Vinnie Jones, and Peter Sarsgaard as Bartholomew Bogue which is ALSO an amazing name, as the lead antagonist.
Commenting on the shoot with Collider, Hawke expressed his enthusiasm and called the production an “adventure.”
“It was what you call an adventure,” he said. “Some movies are work, and some movies are all about acting and character, but this was about learning to ride a horse and shoot a six-gun at the same time. I really enjoyed it.”
Several major names like Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Costner were attached to the film before obviously leaving, while Washington replaced Tom Cruise and reunited with his Training Day director Fuqua. And until he was signed on for Justice League, Game of Thrones alum Jason Mamoa was also attached to the project. So, our final Seven would have looked pretty different if the dominoes fell differently.
It’s a blend of Fuqua’s “all-time favorites”
Besides the obvious Sturges movie, Fuqua is looking at other films to shape his Magnificent Seven. Via ComingSoon.net, Fuqua said his movie will have more in common with Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, another timeless entry in the Hollywood western. ComingSoon.net also said the movie will incorporate humor similar to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as the kind of scale Sergio Leone made in his spaghetti westerns.
It has the final score from composer James Horner
Last summer, prolific Hollywood composer James Horner passed away in a plane crash shortly after signing on to score Fuqua’s remake. Later, Fuqua discovered Horner prepared the score before he died, allowing The Magnificent Seven to be his third and final posthumous work.
Fuqua also recalled how Horner was the one who convinced him to direct Magnificent Seven. Via ComingSoon.net:
“James … is the reason I wound up doing the movie … I went to his house. Before we even went inside, we stood outside in this garden area and I was just f—ing complaining, to be frank. I couldn’t get the money. You need seven actors. They have to be movie stars. The whole Hollywood system sometimes is tough. You have to have a certain level of actor to make a western because of this and that and other s—t. I just wasn’t feeling the love at that moment … He kind of looked at me and said, ‘You have to do it. Antoine, you’ll make history.’”
It’s working off a script from True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto
It was also co-written by Richard Wenk and John Lee Hancock, whose previous credits include Saving Mr. Banks and Snow White and the Huntsman.
It’s stocked with a diverse group of cowboys
Commenting on the film’s vibrant casting, Fuqua expressed how he wants the film to reflect 2016 America than 1886.
“It takes all sorts of people to come together to fight tyranny,” explained Fuqua. “It’s not about one race anymore. You can’t make that movie anymore. You can’t make that movie with the white guys on horses who save the day. The world has changed and it seems like it takes all of us to come together to fight tyranny.”