In 1960, MGM's American adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai was a big hit for the studio. It starred Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz, and was called The Magnificent Seven, having been turned into a western. The film told the story of seven of the best gunslingers in the west banding together, having been hired to protect a small Mexican village which lived in fear of a pack of bloodthirsty bandits. The film spawned three sequels and was also adapted into a TV series for CBS just before the turn of the century.
In May 2012, Tom Cruise became attached to star in a new remake of Magnificent Seven, thanks to his deal with MGM. MGM had begun a campaign to mine their library of past hits in an attempt to turn them into future profits, which is why they're also looking at revisiting WarGames, Death Wish, and Poltergeist. The lion studio is also set to release the upcoming remake of RoboCop. This new version of Magnificent Seven, with Cruise onboard, was being written by Nic Pizzolatto, fresh from selling his hotly-anticipated series True Detective to HBO.
Cruise's involvement was seemingly always shaky, though, with the actor having several projects floating around at the same time. The western wasn't said to be a major priority for the superstar and, alas, The Wrap is now reporting that he has walked away from The Magnificent Seven. While no one is sure of an exact reason why he departed, we do know that John Lee Hancock has been brought on to rewrite the script. Hancock is a writer-director that's brought us The Blind Side, and Disney's current Oscar-buzzworthy film Saving Mr. Banks.
Hancock has some history with the genre, having co-written and directed The Alamo for Disney and, despite that film's commercial failures, they still have faith in him. The mouse studio turned to him to "save" Maleficent- the upcoming $200 million tentpole starring Angelina Jolie- with a rewrite, and he had a hand in writing another recent hit, Snow White & The Huntsman. At this point it's unclear if he's coming on to write and direct, or just to write the new Magnificent Seven.
What's your favorite western? I've always been partial to Tombstone.
SOURCE: The Wrap