I’m a little concerned about Variety‘s Justin Kroll having just announced that touch-feely Ethan Hawke will reteam with Training Day costar Denzel Washington in that Antoine Fuqua-directed remake of John Sturges‘ The Magnificent Seven (’60). Hawke can play traumatized writers or detectives or younger brothers or vampire hematogloists in an action or supernatural realm, but he’s never been a Sammy Stud type and never will be, and he therefore can’t fan a six-gun with any degree of conviction. He’s too anguished, too sensitive. You can’t spend a whole career playing open-pored poetic types and then turn around and play a lethal Johnny Cool. At best Hawke can handle the Charles Bronson role, a haunted, mournful ex-gunslinger who’s looking to live a less mercenary life. I don’t even think Hawke is even cool or cat-like enough to play the James Coburn role (i.e., the knife-thrower).
I’ve been assuming all along that Washington will play the Yul Brynner role and that Chris Pratt would be playing a well-fed version of Steve McQueen. I don’t know who Haley Bennett will play but what’s a girl doing in this thing in the first place? Who’s she playing, an Annie Oakley type who’s fallen on hard times? Between Bennett and Hawke this movie is feeling kinda wussy. The legend of The Magnificent Seven (and Akira Kurosawa‘s The Seven Samurai before it) is first and foremost about the existential coolness of the guyness, and secondly about the anguish of lonely mercenaries who are good with a sword or a gun but have no lives. A gun-totin’ redhead like Bennett and an aging girlyman like Hawke spoils the brew.