MGM's The Magnificent Seven is still moving forward, only now it will do so without star Tom Cruise attached. He has dropped out of the project just as the studio announces that the screenplay will get a fresh rewrite from Director John Lee Hancock, who is at the helm of this month's Saving Mr. Banks.
No reason has been given for Tom Cruise's sudden departure from the Western.
Nic Pizzolatto, who is behind HBO's upcoming drama series True Detective, wrote the initial screenplay based on the John Sturges Western from 1960, which starred Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn and James Coburn. That film itself was a remake of the Japanese classic Seven Samurai, which came in 1954 from acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa.
The Magnificent Seven follows a group of American gunman hired to protect a small Mexican village from a group of savage bandits. The original went onto spawn three sequels, and was even a CBS TV series from 1998-2000.
Tom Cruise signed on for the project back in May 2012. It is part of MGM's plan to completely remake and reboot their back catalogue, along with Red Dawn and RoboCop. The studio also has Poltergeist in preproduction, and is in the process of developing remakes of WarGames, Death Wish and Road House.
John Lee Hancock has worked in the Western genre before, directing The Alamo back in 2004 with Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton. He's also no stranger to rewrites, as he helped fix Disney's upcoming Tentpole Maleficent with the addition of a few new scenes, and he also helped oversee the reshoots on the $200 million fantasy starring Angelina Jolie as the infamous villain from Sleeping Beauty. He also directed The Blind Side, which was nominated for Best Picture and Best Actress (Sandra Bullock).