Mel Gibson's The Wild Bunch remake eyes Michael Fassbender, Jaime Foxx and Peter Dinklage. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, filmmaker Sam Peckinpah, director of 1969's The Wild Bunch, was responsible for ushering in a new era of Western and war cinema. Dubbed “neo-western” by some, Peckinpah’s films were known for their violence, depictions of sex and masculinity.
Given this subject matter, it wasn’t surprising that Peckinpah was known to be just as rough and rugged in real life as the stories he told on screen. Plagued by alcoholism and drug dependence, Peckinpah was prone to violent outbursts both on and off set and was known to shoot mirrors in his home while binging on alcohol and drugs. Despite his renowned cantankerous behavior and personal difficulties, however, he was a masterful filmmaker who gave the world a string of films now considered to be classics by many, such as: Ride the High Country, Straw Dogs, and of course, The Wild Bunch to name a few. Though Straw Dogs was remade in 2011, it fared poorly upon its release and to date, no other Peckinpah films have been remade.
We’ve known since last year that Mel Gibson was preparing to get a remake of Peckinpah’s 1969 hit The Wild Bunch off the ground, but so far there hasn’t been much information regarding how that project is shaping up. Now, thanks to Deadline, the first round of potential casting news has arrived, indicating that Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, Michael Fassbender (Dark Phoenix) and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) are currently in early talks to join Gibson’s remake.
Fans of Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption II might notice similarities in the plot of that blockbuster game and The Wild Bunch, as it too details the experiences of an aging group of outlaws who are dealing with the changing landscape of the American west. As the outlaws struggle with the unwanted attention of a botched robbery, they find themselves constantly on the move, ultimately ending up in Mexico, desperate to find success in one last big heist. The original Peckinpah film was well received and garnered two Oscar nominations at the 1970 Academy Awards. Though it didn’t win, it’s arguable that the film has since gone on to become a staple of the Western genre.
For his part, Gibson has repeatedly found success with rough and rugged titles like Braveheart, Apocalypto, and Hacksaw Ridge. Often known more for his controversial public behavior over the past few years than his filmmaking, Gibson’s bravado seems to be in a similar vein as that of Peckinpah’s. However, this is 2019 not 1969, making it more difficult to imagine such an overwhelmingly machismo film being well received. That being said, if Gibson can put together a strong enough cast and accepts that a simple retelling of Peckinpah’s tale won’t be enough for today’s audiences, then there’s plenty of reason to believe that The Wild Bunch will prevail.