Oasis Magazine Articles

Hollywood Remakes The Magnificent Seven: Behind the Scenes

By Oasis Staff Writer

Originally published in print under the title "Cinema Chatter"

Hollywood often reworks films from the past, or “borrows” creatively from foreign films. However, more often than not, studios like to go on a binge of remaking or rebooting cult classics held dear to the heart. There are allegedly 107 of these currently in planning or production stages, and most of them fail miserably because they pale in comparison to the original.

This year’s The Magnificent Seven is not only a modern recreation of the classic 1960 film starring legends Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen, but also, the ‘60s western flick was a reworked version of a 1954 Japanese masterpiece called Seven Samurai.

In the original film, the elders of a small Mexican village travel to the US to buy ammunition and guns to defend themselves from a group of bandits who raid their village every year. They end up hiring American gunmen played by Yul Brenner, Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen. McQueen accredited the film as a career defining role, even though there were rumors of serious contention between him and Brenner during the production. Brenner was so convinced that McQueen was trying to steal his limelight, he had his assistant count how many times the actor touched his hat during Brenner’s monologues.

The film ultimately flopped at box offices in the US, but was a smash hit in Europe where it made a profit. In 2013, the film was selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” an honor currently bestowed to 675 films total.

In the modern retelling, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua recruited some of the biggest names in the business and shifted the location of the film to the US rather than Mexico. The fictional town of Rose Creek is under the control of a ruthless Bartholomew Bogue, who often kills people to solidify his power. This leads one widow to turn to a bounty hunter for vengeance. Denzel Washington plays the man tasked with assembling a group of 7 gunslingers, misfits, gamblers and warriors to help carry out justice and revenge.

The production is definitely bigger and more diverse than the original. The trailer features lots of fast draw gun shooting, several kills, dynamite explosions, a Native American warrior shooting arrows off a roof, and perhaps in homage to the Japanese film, an Asian knife wielding assassin? Seems incredible to have all these elements piled into one western flick, but we will roll with it in the name of diversity in film – a cause we champion.

Fuqua shot to fame in 2001 with Training Day which earned 22 Oscar nominations and one Best Actor win for Denzel Washington. In The Magnificent Seven, Fuqua reunites with Washington and Ethan Hawke again. The chemistry between Washington and Hawke will be different this time around, as they’re on the same side fighting the bad guys, instead of fighting each other. The rest of the cast includes lovable joker Chris Pratt, hot on the heels of Jurassic World and

Guardians of the Galaxy, and Peter Sarsgaard stepping in to take on the reins as villainous jerk Bogue.

The film will open the 41st Toronto Film Festival in early September and then roll out a global release by the month end.

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