Director Antoine Fuqua on why a remake of “The Magnificent Seven” is culturally relevant today.
Fifteen years ago, Denzel Washington became an Oscar Award winning actor with the film, “Training Day” directed by Antoine Fuqua. Thirteen years later, the pair reunited for “The Equalizer” and fans have only had to wait two years for the pair to reconnect for the remake of “The Magnificent Seven”. The original film from 1960 starred Yul Brynner. When MGM offered Fuqua the opportunity to remake the project, he wanted Denzel in the lead.
In the midst of the film being edited prior to its fall release, The L.A. Sentinel had an exclusive opportunity to speak with Antoine about his humble beginnings as a production assistant and how he’s blazing a trail for other young filmmakers.
On his choice to recreate the 1960s classic…
Antoine Fuqua: When you look at the world today, when you oppress a people, it’s terrorism and tyranny. It takes individuals to come together and to stop it. A scene which actually happened in real life–if you burn down someone’s church and kill them, then you’re stripping them of their religion and their rights as human beings. When I read the script I said it’s important today because it’s still happening. We had to make the film diverse because the world has changed; it’s not just a white cowboy or a white soldier; it’s all of us together now: white, black, Asian, Indians, Latinos, we all have to come together to fight tyranny so that’s why the cast reflects our world today and that’s why I was confident in making this film.
On whether or not there was push back towards diversifying the film and having Denzel as the lead?…
AF: Denzel is so powerful on the screen, you have to respect him. As directors and people behind the cameras, we have to be successful in the jobs that we’re in so there can’t be a debate of whether a black person can do the job. A part of the decision for me to do a western is that there’s a young black man behind me that wants to make a movie on Mars. Somebody has to be the example that just because of the color of his skin, it doesn’t mean he can’t make a movie outside of the hood because Antoine did it.