MGM’s remake of John Sturges’ classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven – itself an American re-imagining of Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 film Seven Samurai – has begun to pick up speed on its way down the pipeline, now that Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua (fresh off making The Equalizer together) are onboard to star and direct, respectively. And now, it appears that Washington’s first of six costars may’ve been found – in the shape of Chris Pratt.
Pratt, of course, will soon be more ubiquitous than ever, with Parks and Recreation wrapping its final season in early 2015, before he costars in Jurassic World later that year; he also recently lined up for another comic book movie, Cowboy Ninja Viking, to go along with his continuing role in the Guardians of the Galaxy film franchise. However, even with his busy schedule, there does seem to be room for Pratt to make a trip out West with Washington.
Deadline is reporting that MGM intends for Magnificent Seven to enter production by the first quarter of 2015, along with such projects as Night Watch and Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur remake as well as the Rocky spinoff, Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone. Future commitments aside, Pratt would be available to work on Magnificent Seven given that production frame; his talks are only reported to be “early stage,” though, so there’s no guarantee of a deal yet.
The Magnificent Seven remake reportedly takes place not too long after the American Civil War has ended; while the movie isn’t expected to deviate from the basic setup to Sturges’ film (seven gunslingers protect a village from bandits), the title characters may be noticeably different. Either way, Pratt’s Star-Lord in Guardians is essentially a space cowboy, when you think about it; his Jurassic World character, while possibly a bit more serious than most Pratt roles, also has a lone gunman vibe to him.
In short: Pratt in Magnificent Seven alongside Washington – the latter possibly playing the no-nonsense “leader” of the titular group – doesn’t sound like bad casting at all.
A number of Fuqua’s directorial efforts to date have been action movies that amount to modernized takes on the western genre, albeit with the cowboy protagonist being a gun-toting warrior operating in a contemporary urbanized jungle; as opposed to, living on the untamed frontier (Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer). That’s another way of saying, Fuqua arguably has the necessary sensibilities as a filmmaker to deliver a historical western that doesn’t feel outdated and/or kitschy in form.
True Detective creator/series writer Nic Pizzolatto penned an early script draft for the Magnificent Seven remake; his screenplay was then revised by John Lee Hancock, who also scripted The Alamo and The Blind Side, among other films. Combining those writers’ styles – one more high-minded and artsy, the other more in a crowd-pleasing vein – with Fuqua’s direction and the cast being assembled, could result in a western remake that’s actually something pretty decent (a la the Coen Brothers’ True Grit).
More on The Magnificent Seven when we have it.