Wild Bunch remake from Will Smith
Will Smith is apparently eyeing a remake of the classic western Wild Bunch, looking to produce and star in the film. It's not going to be a Wild Wild West version though, thankfully, it plans to modernise it and relocate it in time, following plans that Tony Scott had before Scott died.
Now Smith is pushing the project forward and with him planning to star in it too, perhaps lead. What would be interesting is if he assembled an equally powerful and big name cast alongside him and deliver a film worthy of the connection with the original title The Wild Bunch.
The Wild Bunch was directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1969 and starred William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson. It's a cracking film and tells the story of a group of aging outlaws who are fighting to cope with a new world fast leaving their way of life in the Wild West far in the past. They plan one last bank robbery which goes terribly wrong and shows that they are done for in this new America, and so they head off on the run.
However one of their group is eventually captured and the aging outlaws have to decide between continuing to run for the rest of their lives, away from their past, what they really are and away from their captured comrade, or turn around and risk everything to save him.
Now reading that write-up I've given it I'm sure you can see the core of the story, well now let's look at what we know about the new version that is being planned.
The new version is going to see a disgraced D.E.A. agent getting together a team to go after a Mexican drug lord and his illegally obtained money.
Well there are certainly aspects which are similar but that core of the original, that idea of the world moving away from these men who are left stranded knowing only how to behave in the old world, the old ways, and eventually giving up trying to run away from them and instead run headlong towards them. Is that what you're getting?
No, me neither. It sounds like one guy going against bureaucracy and taking the law into their own hands to hand out justice. It's much more simplistic and far less expansive. In fact it sounds like a Tony Scott film. Add in the idea of assembling their own team to go against the law and bring someone down, perhaps something like Expendables comes to mind. Films that promise more action and less of the core of the original film. I do find that a little disappointing, but then this might have been an earlier draft or it might just address the superficial aspects of the remake. Let's hope so anyway.
Looking back, as I seem to remember writing about a remake before, I found that in October of 2010 I had news that David Ayer was writing a remake of the film. That appears to have come to nothing, or it fed the remake that Tony Scott was working on, perhaps that's the version that has led to this blurb.
The article also mentions that Tony Scott and Brian Helgeland were originally working on developing a new version of The Wild Bunch and since Helgeland is the writer of films such as L.A. Confidential; Payback; A Knight's Tale; Mystic River; Man on Fire (Filmstalker review); The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (Filmstalker review); Green Zone (Filmstalker review); Robin Hood; 42, and more, if there was a script we can imagine the scope for action but with strong characterisation.
There's no writer currently attached so we'll wait and see how this progresses and how the story develops, perhaps we will have something much more akin to the original.