Last week during CinemaCon, the banner for MGM's highly-anticipated The Magnificent Seven debuted, giving us our first look at the all-star cast. Thankfully, we didn't have to wait much longer for even more images, with USA Today revealing the first official photos, along with the news that the first trailer is set to debut Wednesday, April 20. The site also spoke with director Antoine Fuqua, who shed some light on how this incredible cast came together.
The original 1960 Western classic directed by John Sturges featured an ensemble cast including Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn, centering on a group of gunslingers hired by a Mexican village to stop a tyrannical bandit from terrorizing their town. The remake's cast is just as impressive, lead by Denzel Washington, who is collaborating with director Antoine Fuqua for the third time, following the critically-acclaimed Training Day and The Equalizer. The director says that he pitched Denzel this project by telling him to envision an image of the actor riding over the hill on a black horse, while playing a hip-hop version of Ennio Morricone's iconic theme song. Here's what the director had to say about how Denzel responded to this pitch.
"Denzel just smiled and said, 'All right, let's do it.' I walked out of the restaurant and said to myself, 'Denzel Washington is getting on a horse for The Magnificent Seven.'"
Last year, both Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington went to Las Vegas to watch the highly-anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The actor showed up to the match sporting his look from the film, a mustache and long sideburns, which he had started to grow for the production. Here's what the director had to say about how people responded to the actor's look.
"We went to that boxing match in Vegas, and people were seeing Denzel with the chops and were like, 'What's going on?' I was saying to myself, 'Wait till they see him in full glory.' He looks great. Denzel just locked into that look."
The actor also prepared for the role by taking horseback lessons, while forming a "bond," so to speak, with his character's signature weapon, a Colt .45 Peacemaker. According to the director, Denzel took this weapon with him everywhere to get in tune with his character. Here's what the filmmaker had to say.
"He had it with him all the time, even when he wasn't on the set. We'd have meetings and he'd be spinning and twirling his gun while we were talking. He used to walk around his house spinning guns, go to restaurants. Obviously, people knew it was for his character."
The rest of this ensemble cast is just as impressive as the original, with Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Luke Grimes, Wagner Moura, Byung-hun Lee, Matthew Bomer. Peter Sarsgaard is set to play the main villain. Production took place in New Orleans last year, and the director revealed that the sweltering heat provided a number of challenges for the cast, and even the horses. The filmmaker revealed that the cast was certainly up for the challenge.
"It'd be 110 degrees and even the horses wouldn't do what you wanted them to do. I'd check in and ask Chris, 'You good?' And he'd say, 'Let's do this baby, I'm in a Western.' These guys are gunslingers, and when they walk into the room, you notice them. These are people you want to be with, or you want to protect you."
The Magnificent Seven is set for release on September 23, going up against Warner Bros.' Storks and an untitled project from Sony Pictures Animation. Antoine Fuqua directs from a script by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto and John Lee Hancock. Take a look at the new photos from The Magnificent Seven below, and be sure to check back on Wednesday for the first trailer.