Will Smith in Talks to Produce & Star in ‘The Wild Bunch’ Reboot

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

It seems like almost every classic American film has been remade or reincarnated in some form. However, contrary to that impression, there are still a few films that haven’t been touched yet and one of those in Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 western, The Wild Bunch.

That doesn’t mean Hollywood hasn’t thought about it. In fact, a Wild Bunch reboot has been in development for a couple of years now with Tony Scott attached to direct a script written by Oscar winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential), but the project stalled after Scott died last year. Now, another major Hollywood player is considering reviving the reboot as a producer and star.

According to The Wrap, that power player is none other than Will Smith. Smith is currently in talks to produce the film under his Overbrook Entertainment banner along with Jerry Weintraub, who last collaborated with Smith on the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid. If a deal does get made, Smith would also star as one of the “Bunch.”

The project is being referred to as a reboot rather than a remake because, though it shares the same title as Peckinpah’s classic, it’s getting a modern makeover that will deviate significantly from the source material. Set in 1913 on the Texas-Mexico border, the 1969 film centered on a group of aging outlaws planning one last major score before retirement, whereas the new version would follow a disgraced D.E.A. agent who assembles a team to go after a drug cartel in present day Mexico.

The project is still looking for a new writer and an ensemble cast to surround Smith, so it’s unclear if the tone and approach of the reboot would mirror the original. Noted for being extremely violent, Peckinpah’s film was controversial for its time. Although its action montages were considered stylistically innovative, the long gunfight sequences strived for gritty realism at the same time.

wild bunch Will Smith in Talks to Produce & Star in The Wild Bunch Reboot

Django Unchained, which Smith almost starred in, definitely asserted some style in its approach to the modern western. Hopefully, this reboot, without stealing Tarantino’s signatures, would take more inspiration from a film like Django and less from Smith’s infamously panned Wild Wild West.

Smith said he turned down the role of Django because he considered it to be a supporting character, not because of the violent content in Tarantino’s film. So, maybe that means the family-friendly Smith won’t be timid about going all out with The Wild Bunch? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how the script comes together and if Smith officially climbs on board.

There’s no production start date in sight yet for The Wild Bunch, but you can see Smith later this month in the highly-anticipated sci-fi film from M. Night Shyamalan, After Earth.

Source: The Wrap

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  1. Sounds like more Will Smith crap. His choices, including forcing his kids down our throats have been terrible lately.

    • He didn’t force you to see his movies.

      • +1

      • Exactly.

  2. In the words of Charlie Brown(AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGEE).

  3. somewhere, the great Sam Peckinpah is ROLLING over in his grave

  4. He does realize the Wild Bunch was based off of very real characters, and they didn’t quite seem to match up to him. Remaking that movie would be an absolute travesty, and it just shouldn’t be done.

  5. I like Will Smith and I think he could do a decent dramatic Western -unlike the dreadful WWW. But what is up with his remakes??? Enough.

  6. Are you serious??? I can’t believe this! The Wild Bunch is one of my favorite movies, and WILL SMITH wants to do it? I seriously cannot see him as badass material for this. Every one of the actors in the original was a straight-up badass. Will Smith cannot hold a candle to William Holden (I assume that’s the part he’s interested in). Oh my gosh, I think I am going to throw up now.

  7. I hope this isn’t true. The Wild Bunch is one of my favorite westerns of all time. There is no way any re-make can do this classic justice.

    What the heck is Will Smith doing lately? He’s turning into Tom Cruise, only with a son to act with him. I like Will Smith, but he shouldn’t be attaching his name to things like this. This is a no win for him.

  8. This would have been more digestible if he had of said The Wild Bunch influenced the new story, rather than calling it a reboot.

    I hope your right About him not shying from a violent take on the story, If it is set in modern day Mexico, and dealing with the Drug Cartels, it can’t be anything but. A quick peek into the weekly news gives you an insight into just how violent this region is.

  9. You know, Will Smith keeps attaching himself to movies but NONE OF THEM ARE GETTING MADE. he is one of the only superstars that is attached to everything but doesnt come out with a movie. he took four years off then made MIB3. then his next movie sounds like a supporting role (After Earth). and now he is not attached official to anything that could come out in the next year. I miss the days when you were garanteed at least one starring role from smith per year, and in some cases two (2004, 2008).

  10. Will Smith lacks the necessary Bad-Arse attitude to even hold Peckinpah’s jacket between scenes.

  11. Why do they insist on re-imagining classics? Redo bad or marginally good (but dated) films like Ice Station Zebra, The Guns Of Navarone, or 100 Rifles, but don’t F with a Peckinpah.

  12. What the heck is Will Smith doing lately? He’s turning into Tom Cruise, only with a son to act with him. I like Will Smith, but he shouldn’t be attaching his name to things like this. This is a no win for him.

  13. Smith can be a very controversial actor. Mike Lowrey in the Bad Boys franchise isn’t kid friendly what so ever. Also, check out Six Degrees of Separation.

  14. While fans continue to wait for Bad Boys III he keeps making movies no one wants. How about stars & studios give movie-goers what they ask for instead of shoveling dreck upon us year after year.

  15. No.

  16. No, no, a thousand times, NO!

    I’m not sorry he turned down Django Unchained and I won’t be seeing this tripe, either. He’s become an overrated has been and I have no interest in paying to see anything he stars in, anymore.

  17. …won’t even watch it when it goes to cable.

  18. I was one of about 200 extremely lucky people who got to see the first showing of “The Wild Bunch” in Kansas City. It was a surprise sneak, no title or actors or anything leaked. Sam Peckinpah was in the audience, and the version we saw(way over three hours) was never seen again. Many scenes were cut(too violent at the time), and were lost, not ever put back even in the supposed restored director’s cut released after Sam’s death. I will always remember that gritty and realistic film.
    Bill Holden’s best film, and he lead a cast of extraordinary actors.
    It should never ever be remade.

  19. To say this is a reboot is a mis-application; they’re ex-appropriating the title. It’s gross exploitation…and, as it were, deception.

    • Well said..

  20. Say ot isnt so…..

  21. Sounds like a bunch of horse hockey…what’s Will going to play? a black Mexin.