Antoine Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to an Oscar in the dirty cop drama/thriller Training Day in 2001, but it took some thirteen years before the pair reunited on the cinematic reboot of the 1980s action TV property The Equalizer – a movie that will arrive in theaters later this month. The wait for the duo’s third collaboration looks to be much shorter, fortunately, as they’re now set to reteam on a remake of the classic American western The Magnificent Seven.
Fuqua and Washington were reported to be in early talks for Magnificent Seven a few months ago, but now Fuqua has confirmed to Variety that this proposed collaboration is, in fact, going to happen sooner than later. The initial script draft for the project was penned by Nic Pizzolatto (creator of True Detective); that version of the screenplay is reported to have been revised by John Lee Hancock, the writer/director of such films as The Alamo and The Blind Side. However, it remains to be seen if a third writer ends up being recruited to restructure the script, to better match Fuqua’s vision for the film.
Director John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven – an American western re-imagining of director Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai – was released in 1960, and revolves around a group of seven American gunmen, who are hired to protect a small Mexican village from a pack of marauders. Tom Cruise was once up to headline the Magnificent Seven remake; back then, the rumor was that the supporting cast would include multiple season actors – like Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman – who have worked in the western genre before.
Fuqua, during our interview with the director about The Equalizer, acknowledged that Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns had an influence on him as a filmmaker – and, by extension, were something that helped to shape his approach to making violent films about reluctant anti-heroes and/or lone gunmen (see: Tears of the Sun, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen). That’s probably a good indicator of what to expect from his Magnificent Seven remake with Washington.
A raw, rough n’ tumble, R-Rated western – which is what Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven seems most likely to be – could make for a refreshing change of pace, in the current film landscape – a time when most westerns tend to be either throwbacks (see: Django Unchained) or designed to better fit the mold of a modern popcorn movie (see: Cowboys & Aliens, The Lone Ranger). The contemporary anti-hero’s glove is one that Washington wears quite well, and we’d be down to watch him lead a team of fellow tough-guy specialists out in the Old American West.
There’s already an Equalizer sequel in development, but right now it seems as though Fuqua and Washington are going to make The Magnificent Seven before they (potentially) reteam for a second Equalizer. That outlook could easily change after the first Equalizer installment hits theaters (on September 26th), so we’ll be sure to keep you as up-to-speed as possible on the actor/director duo’s future plans.