U.S. Release Date: 9/23/16
It was Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 title Seven Samurai, in which seven men protect farmers’ crops from marauding bandits, which made Antoine Fuqua yearn to become movie maker.
Many years later, it seems that life has come full circle for Fuqua – director of the Denzel Washingon starrers Training Day and The Equalizer – who is now ringing in a new version of 1960’s The Magnificent Seven – a movie which retold The Seven Samurai against a Western backdrop.
“Kurosawa influenced American films more than people realize, and The Seven Samurai informs our film in every way,” says Fuqua. “That is the DNA – it’s the mother of these movies. Kurosawa shot that movie with the depth of field, the strong foregrounds, the big, sweeping shots, and he played in the shadows with the samurai, whether they were good or bad. ”
Nic Pizzolatto, creator of HBO’s True Detective, and Richard Wenk have scripted a tale in which Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onfrio and South Korea’s Byung-Hun Lee are among seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns who help protect the people of Rose Creek, led by Hayley Bennett, from Peter Sarsgaard’s industrialist and brutal tyrant.
Faqua says there is a big difference between John Sturges’ original classic – which counted Steve McQueen, Yul Brenner and Charles Bronson among its ensemble – and his own telling of the tale.
“Sturges’ film is an amazing film, made at a time when America saw themselves a certain way. “There was a time that the Western hero had a black-and-white wholesomeness. But the Western hero changes with time, and that determines his translation in the world.”
Thanks to Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and other classics, Fuqua says, the Western hero became darker and more dangerous.
“People could relate to a character that was more complex, wasn’t so wholesome.”
The filmmaker, whose Oscar winning Training Day revolves around a corrupt cop who uses his own set of rules to enforce the law, is very happy with a gritty hero.
“You can make them reflect how the world is today. Denzel Washington playing the lead in a Western back then would never have happened, because Americans never saw themselves in that way – but today, the Western has to feel like the world we live in.”
Studio: MGM and Columbia Pictures
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Denzel Washington, Peter Sarsgaard, Hayley Bennett, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia Ruflo and Martin Sensmeier.
Screenwriters: Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk
Producers: Roger Birnbaum and Todd Black
Executive Producers: Walter Mirisch, Antoine Fuqua, Bruce Berman, and Ben Waisbren
Image Info: © 2016 Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved
Source Info: Information in this article, including quotes, is sourced from press material pertaining to The Magnificent Seven © 2016 Sony Pictures. All Rights Reserved