The Magnificent Seven: Why it was important the remake had a multicultural cast

The Magnificent Seven ride again in this weekend’s big budget retelling of John Sturges’ iconic western – itself a remake of Akira Kurasawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’ – but director Antoine Fuqua is keen to stress his film isn’t a remake.

In fact, he admits his stomach dropped when Sony first pitched him the idea of remaking the 1960 film.

He says more of a retelling of the story, with many major elements tweaked so that, as Fuqua told Yahoo Movies, it “represents our world today”.

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One of the most notable changes is that four of the seven gunslingers, who join forces to defend the threatened Frontier town, are played by non-white actors, and star Denzel Washington thinks the film offers a more realistic representation of the Wild West than the overwhelmingly white westerns of old, telling us, “I think it’s reflective of what was actually going on in the Frontier at that time”.

The Magnificent Seven - Credit: Sony Pictures
The Magnificent Seven – Credit: Sony Pictures

Fuqua agrees, adding that it also makes an interesting point about the multicultural America of today.

“It raises the question with having a black lead going into a town to help all white people,” Fuqua says.

“Who may not necessarily, at that time, have been so friendly. Also there’s a native American who comes, and an Asian, and a Mexican who come in to fight for the white citizens. That’s very important to say because people are people.”

And in an America where over 30% of the national army is made up of non-white personnel, and Donald Trump is calling for a wall to keep the Mexicans out, maybe they’re right – maybe this IS the Magnificent Seven we need in 2016.

‘The Magnificent Seven’ rides into cinemas today.