Now, here’s a project I’d pay to see. MGM is in early discussions with Denzel Washington to star and Antoine Fuqua to direct The Magnificent Seven, a remake of the 1960 John Sturges-directed film. The talks are early stage, but if you get those two committed, it won’t be hard to get six other guys to round out the cast in the story of a town that assembles a squad of seven elite gunmen to protect it. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson were part of the ensemble cast of the original, which was released by United Artists and is a library title for MGM. The revived studio has coveted a remake for some time, originally developing a version for Tom Cruise. Nic Pizzolatto, who went on to write and exec produce HBO’s True Detective, wrote a draft and John Lee Hancock came on to rewrite a movie whose inspiration was Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. The setting is post Civil War, right at the end of the Wild West. Roger Birnbaum is producing it.
No one this side of the late director Tony Scott is better at unleashing Washington’s inner badass than Fuqua. Fuqua directed Washington to an Academy Award in Training Day, and the two of them re-teamed at Sony on The Equalizer. That film, scripted by Richard Wenk, got the studio so bullish that Sony and Escape Artists have already begun working on the sequel. Stay tuned for this one and I’ll provide more information when I get it. Washington’s repped by WME and Fuqua by CAA. Fuqua’s booked to next direct the Kurt Sutter-scripted Southpaw at The Weinstein Company with Jake Gyllenhaal starring with Forest Whitaker and Rachel McAdams and Lupita Nyong’o circling. He’s also attached to the high-priority Fox project Narco Sub.