Shortly after Tate Taylor agreed to direct the adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling thriller The Girl on the Train, a strange thing happened. He started getting phone calls from industry friends — casting directors, costume designers, even the film’s star, Emily Blunt — with a similar message.
Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua are enjoying one of the biggest opening weekends of their respective careers as The Magnificent Seven, based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, opens to a solid estimated $35 million in North America.
Two new wide releases are poised to light the fall movie season ablaze with big box office debuts this weekend.
“Whoever heard of farmers hiring samurai?” asks the farmer who’s about to hire the samurai. Six decades later, everyone’s heard of Seven Samurai. The film’s outline is movie myth: Tormented villagers, cruel bandits, a few wandering heroes for hire. Director Akira Kurosawa was a John Ford fanboy who transplanted the Hollywood Western onto feudal Japan. Hollywood borrowed right back. In 1960 there was The Magnificent Seven, half as long and half as good, with a great score and mostly great actors but unfortunately also Horst Buchholz.
The cast of The Magnificent Seven learned the hard way that making a western isn’t easy, especially when it’s close to 110 degrees.
During a recent SiriusXM Town Hall interview with the director and cast of The Magnificent Seven, in theaters Friday, Denzel Washington was asked if being together at one location brought the cast together. The veteran actor said it did have them all hanging out in the on-set saloon, but not for bonding purposes. “That’s where the air conditioning was, so we definitely hung out there,” he laughed.
Chris Pratt had to master a lot of skills for his role in The Magnificent Seven, such as shooting a gun and riding a horse. What he ended up doing the most of, however, was fishing, and it got him in some hot water.
During a recent SiriusXM Town Hall interview with the director and cast of Magnificent Seven, in theaters Friday, Pratt was asked about his frequent experiences filming in Louisiana. The Parks and Recreation alum was more eager to talk about his off-camera work on the film.
When John Sturges remade Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 masterpiece Seven Samurai as the 1960 film The Magnificent Seven, he turned Kurosawa’s seven Japanese samurai into seven American gunslingers. Antoine Fuqua’s new version, out Friday, keeps Sturges’ Old West setting but introduces a far more diverse band of seven, including Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Native American actor Martin Sensmeier, and South Korean actor Byung-hun Lee with Denzel Washington starring as the leader of the crew.
Seven may be a prime number, but in Hollywood, which has always loved to make its own math, it’s as divisible as they want it to be. So it is that one classic concept, Akira Kurosawa’s iconic 1954 epic Seven Samurai, can be fractioned off infinitely: most famously as a 1960 Western revered in its own right, and now again more than half a century later with a new set of stars, a few fresh ideas, and a lot of the same old arithmetic.
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