In case you haven't already heard, a remake of John Sturges' 1960 classic The Magnificent Seven is in development, with Tom Cruise, and now Matt Damon reportedly both signed up to star as 2 of the 7.
And according the UK paper, The Sun, Morgan Freeman may also be in contention for a role, as the sudio behind the project, MGM, wants to put as many *names* in this as possible. The Sun says Freeman may play the film's villain Calvera (a role played by the great Eli Wallach in the original film - itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa's 1954 masterpiece Seven Samurai.
No official confirmation on Freeman's potential involvement yet, so treat this as a rumor for now.
News of a Magnificent Seven remake reminded me of last year's revelation that the Weinsteins wanted to remake not that film, but Kurosawa's original work, but it doesn't look like the two projects are in any way related!
Actually, the Weinstein's supposed remake has been in the works for about 6 years now, initially announced back in 2006, when it was rumored that Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen, Zhang Ziyi and George Clooney had reportedly been approached to star, as if any of that makes any sense.
The Weinsteins remake was supposedly going to be a "slightly updated" version with "CGI-enhanced fight scenes," and a budget of around $100 million!
It was about a year ago that Variety reported that, somewhat unexpectedly (since little had been heard about the project since its initial announcement) British director Scott Mann had signed on to direct the Weinstein-produced remake, indicating that the project was very much still alive and moving forward.
The details... this remake, now budgeted at $60 million, will be a contemporary adaptation, set in Northern Thailand, and will center on "7 paramilitary contractors" from around the world, hired by a town in the region, to defend it from an attack.
The script is being written by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom & Young Guns), who, Variety says has been working on the project for about 2 years.
Scott Mann's an odd choice, given that he has just 1 feature film under his belt - a 2009 straight-to-dvd title, The Tournament, which starred Ving Rhames, in an ensemble cast. That film was produced by the Weinsteins as well, by the way; hence the connection.
But it's hard to gauge what the Weinstein's hopes/plans for the remake are, given the relatively unknown and even unproven names and talents (Fusco and Mann) they've signed on thus far. Fusco has penned a few Hollywood scripts, but absolutely nothing that could be considered a major (or even minor) hit (critically or commercially). I guess, I just expected this to be a "top-shelf" project (given the budget), and not some genre action movie, right?
Anyway... another Seven Samurai remake is coming, as well as a Magnificent Seven remake... sounds odd doesn't it? Or is it just me? A remake of an original classic, and a remake of a remake of that same original.