It was reported two or three days ago that Denzel Washington is in talks with MGM to star in an Antoine Fuqua-directed remake of John Sturges‘ The Magnificent Seven (’60), itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai (’54). Denzel would presumably play Yul Brynner‘s gunslinger character, a.k.a. “Chris.” Great idea but then it got better when Terry McCarty tweeted yesterday that he’d love to see Tom Cruise portray Steve McQueen‘s role, Vin. Excellent idea! Can you imagine Cruise and Washington trying to outbox and out-maneuever each other? Not to mention the old-fashioned allure of a couple of stars twirling six guns and leaping over adobe walls, etc.
It’ll never happen, of course.
Cruise would never play second-banana to Washington — to do so would be seen as a tacit admission that his big-star days are over. On top of which Cruise’s pride has presumably been hurt by Edge of Tomorrow coming in third this weekend (it made less than $30 million compared to $48 million earned by The Fault In Our Stars). His back is against the wall and now he’s got something to prove, which is that he’s still got the big-star box-office clout that he’s enjoyed for 30-odd years. In this scenario Cruise lacks the confidence to do something outside the box like play McQueen’s role, etc. But it would be great if it came together.
Here are some thoughts about the Sturges version in a February 2009 piece called “Proper Roar,” to wit:
“I’m not saying The Magnificent Seven isn’t a legendary western or a great guy movie, but it’s too talky. On one level I admire Sturges’ decision to clearly state the themes with William Roberts, Walter Bernstein and Walter Newman‘s above-average dialogue, but there’s just too much of it. When in doubt say less, or better yet nothing. Silences and visual suggestions can be golden.
“And I’ve always been bothered by the affected acting style of Robert Vaughn (i.e. the way he conspicuously smacks his lips and draws a breath before delivering each line) — a huge pain in the ass. And if only the English spoken by the Mexican peasants was a little less correct with maybe a little Spanish thrown in from time to time. These guys sound like Hispanic literature professors at L.A. City College.
“But the worst thing about it are those awful gunshot sounds. Every time someone fires we hear the exact same guh-BACH-auhl sound, like the sound team recorded one gunshot out in a canyon somewhere and used the same fragment over and over and over. God! I would go so far to say that the Magnificent Seven gunshots are the most irritating in motion picture history. The guilty parties are Del Harris (sound effects editor) and sound assistants Rafael Esparza and Jack Solomon.”