Director Wanted

There’s no shortage of complaining about Hollywood’s over-reliance on remakes in the film blogging world, but that’s probably because there’s no shortage of new remakes being proposed either. And this latest one, it just feels like somebody’s messing with us. Variety reports that MGM is dipping into their back catalogue and pulling out The Magnificent Seven as a new starring vehicle for Tom Cruise. The Magnificent Seven was a 1960 cowboy film directed by John Sturges that starred names like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson, and the fact that it’s being remade by MGM is especially egregious for several reasons. The most obvious of which is that the original Magnificent Seven was already a remake of sorts, as it took the plot of Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 film Seven Samurai and transplanted it into a Western setting. But that’s not the real reason this plan is so insulting.

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If you ever go to an airport, it becomes clear pretty quickly how much people love Dan Brown novels. Or at least, how much people love Dan Brown novels when they have to sit around in public for hours and there’s a convenient little newsstand across the way. So, even though he’s one of the biggest names in the business, it was a coup when Ron Howard got to direct the film adaptations of Brown’s Robert Langdon books. That first movie alone, The Da Vinci Code, has made $750 million worldwide. That’s a lot of cheese. But now that it’s time to start adapting the third book in the series, The Lost Symbol, it seems that Howard wants out. Why would someone want off of a proven cash cow like a Dan Brown adaptation? Deadline Duncan is reporting that Howard informed Sony producers that he didn’t want to keep doing the same kinds of stories with the same characters anymore, and that for The Lost Symbol, he wished to step back from the director’s chair and only produce. For someone who just spent a lot of time trying to get a Stephen King series adapted into three films and a television series, but ultimately got turned down by Universal, that kind of sounds like sour grapes. Is Howard upset at the studio system and punishing them by sabotaging a proven earner?

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