Have we come up with a term for remakes of remakes yet? Someone better get on that, because Variety is reporting that Tom Cruise has signed on to headline an MGM remake of the 1960 Western classic The Magnificent Seven, itself a re-imagining of Akira Kurosawa‘s iconic 1954 masterpiece Seven Samurai. Variety notes that we won’t see the project for some time, though, as Cruise has several other films in the pipeline and no director or writer has yet been chosen.
Directed by John Sturges, the original film transplanted Kurosawa’s story – a farming village hires a team of warriors to defend their crops from bandits – from sixteenth-century Japan to the American old west. The Magnificent Seven was notable for its large cast of stars, including Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, and Charles Bronson, and its iconic musical score by Elmer Bernstein. The film was a box-office success, and inspired three sequels plus a short-lived TV series that ran from 1998 to 2000.
With details scarce, it’s unclear what direction the remake will take. Westerns have not been a successful genre for Hollywood over the past decade, but The Magnificent Seven gives MGM the chance to put together a team of superstars, just as the original did, that might draw in otherwise uninterested audiences.
If MGM surrounds Cruise with a truly interesting, fun ensemble, this could even be the rare retread worth getting excited about. The possibility for invigorating team dynamics certainly gives the film more potential than MGM’s other developing remakes, like Robocop, Poltergeist, or War Games, at least from this writer’s vantage point.
We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, those in need of a serious Tom Cruise fix can see him - in what I assume will be a substantially different sort of role - in eighties Jukebox musical Rock of Ages on June 15th.