Seven of the best for Den­zel and Co

Dou­ble Os­car win­ner Washington takes on a western re­boot

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

The 1960 western movie The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven has a spe­cial place in the hearts of film fans. A retelling of Akira Kuro­sawa’s 1954 Ja­pane­se­lan­guage film Seven Sa­mu­rai, the John Sturges pro­duc­tion pit­ted screen icons Yul Bryn­ner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bron­son and more to­gether as a band of mis­fit gun­men on a mis­sion against the odds. Train­ing Day pro­ducer An­toine Fuqua is the man tasked with this re­boot, out in UAE cin­e­mas to­mor­row. He’s teamed up with Den­zel Washington once again for this retelling. Here’s Washington’s take...

There’s some­thing al­most myth­i­cal about orig­i­nal film, The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven, and the film that in­spired that, Seven Sa­mu­rai.

You know, I don’t re­ally look at it that way. I’ve never seen The Mag­nif­i­cent Seven and I don’t ap­proach a char­ac­ter on what peo­ple say or have said about the past movies be­cause I don’t know how to play “myth­i­cal”. I don’t know what that means. I just look at what the script gives me and what it says about this man in these cir­cum­stances.

An­toine had put a great team to­gether and you trust in each depart­ment’s abil­ity to han­dle it. And you know, it all starts with the ma­te­rial.

You play Sam Chisolm. What can you tell us about him?

He comes to town, look­ing for re­venge for some­thing that hap­pened to his fam­ily. He’s com­ing to do a job and finds that this town is be­ing taken over. It’s a story about good and evil. He’s not com­pletely good.

The first man he recruits is Josh Fara­day, played by Chris Pratt, after they meet in a bar…

It’s co­in­ci­dence be­cause he’s in the bar to serve the war­rant. Jus­tice is a big mo­ti­va­tion for Chisolm – he wasn’t able to serve jus­tice for his own fam­ily and be­cause of that, he’s at­tracted to right wrongs, to bring evil peo­ple to jail and to make them pay for their crimes.

Fara­day kind of ad­mires what my char­ac­ter does and he’s in­trigued by that. Fara­day is a gam­bler, a card player, and he likes a pretty girl.

He’s very fast with a gun and very funny. He’s in it for the booze and women to be­gin with but it turns into some­thing else for him as well.

Is Chisolm look­ing for spe­cific abil­i­ties in each of the six men he recruits?

There are some he knows, like Good­night Ro­bicheaux, played by Ethan Hawke, and Good­night has a friend, Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee) who’s nifty with knives. He sees a strength and a power in Fara­day and he knows Jack Horne (Vin­cent D’Onofrio) and what he is ca­pa­ble of, his track­ing abil­ity – so some of them he knows, but not all.

Tell us about the recruits...

These men are there for a num­ber of rea­sons - they all have their own mo­ti­va­tions for join­ing Chisolm at first. But that changes when they see that Bogue (the vil­lain, played by Peter Sars­gaard) has en­slaved these peo­ple. They see how this evil man has bro­ken the backs, lit­er­ally and spir­i­tu­ally, of these peo­ple and that af­fects each of the seven in a dif­fer­ent way. There’s some­thing time­less about the idea of pro­tect­ing the weak, the in­no­cent.

What was it like to work with world-fa­mous sharp­shooter Thell Reed?

He would al­ways tell me “smooth is fast”. You know, I have fast hands and I’ve been box­ing for years. I’m just fast but he was al­ways telling me “slow down! Slow down!” (laughs) Thell is the man. He’s worked with John Wayne. You know, he’s the man. He’s the truth…

You’ve ob­vi­ously got a great his­tory work­ing with An­toine…

An­toine and I have ob­vi­ously had great suc­cess. We won our Academy Award with Train­ing Day and we had great fi­nan­cial suc­cess with The Equal­izer. He’s a mas­ter film­maker. I think we are a good fit. I think he got in­ter­ested in movies from watch­ing west­erns, fron­tier movies, as a child.

What was it like work­ing with this group?

They are very, very tal­ented, pow­er­ful, strong ac­tors and very strong in­di­vid­u­als. I didn’t hang out too much with the fel­las and that’s just sort of my na­ture any­way but there’s a lot of tal­ent on the screen, that’s for sure. I al­ways kid Chris (Pratt) and I call him Juras­sic Boy. And you know he’s a very, very fine young man. He’s he’s an or­di­nary man with an ex­tra­or­di­nary job.

‘I don’t ap­proach a char­ac­ter on what peo­ple have said about past movies. I don’t know how to play myth­i­cal.’ – Den­zel Washington

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