Casting an actor in an iconic role for a film remake must be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are filling the shoes – or, more accurately, cowboy boots – of legendary Hollywood actor Steve McQueen. Director Antoine Fuqua had just the task when filming action-western The Magnificent Seven.
Fortunately, Fuqua soon heard on the grapevine that Jurassic World star Chris Pratt was a big fan of Westerns and reached out to discuss the actor's potential involvement. Promoting the movie at Toronto Film Festival, the Training Day director explained to The Hollywood Reporter that "the hardest thing" when casting the movie came down to who was going to play the role played by McQueen [in the original] because "he was like the coolest guy in the world".
"He was flirting with other stuff," Fuqua recollected, which is unsurprising given how quickly Pratt has gone from television actor to bonafide movie star in the last two years. "But then he called me a few days later and he started singing "Oh Shenandoah" on the phone. I said 'He's it. He's Steve McQueen.'"
A self-confessed fan of the 1960s original from an early age, Fuqua was expected to take care in his decision to cast the film's lead. The fact that he was keen to get Pratt aboard is, naturally, a vote of confidence for the Parks And Recreation actor will have the right kind of swagger for the role.
Also starring Daredevil's Vincent D'Onofrio, Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington, The Magnificent Seven centres on a bunch of outlaws, assassins, gamblers, sharp shooters and bounty hunters who are employed to protect the residents of a town controlled by ruthless industrialist Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). It will reach both UK and US cinemas on 23 September.
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