Tom Cruise has been attached to the remake of The Magnificent Seven for a couple of years now. However, it has been announced that he has dropped out of the project, just as John Lee Hancock has come onboard to rewrite Nic Pizzolatto’s script.
There’s probably nothing to really say about this – Cruise has a packed slate and it’s likely that he bailed because it didn’t fit into his schedule. Hancock has quietly become something of an auteur and a go-to screenwriter. He has directed the likes of Saving Mister Banks, The Blind Side, The Rookie and The Alamo (he really likes ‘The’ in the title also), while he has also tapped-out scripts for fairytale pics Maleficent, Snow White and The Huntsman and Clint Eastwood dramas Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and A Perfect World. Presumably, it is Hancock’s merging of scope and character nuance that has made MGM to hire him. Or maybe it’s because he’s fast and cheap.
As for Cruise’s replacement? Who knows? At this point the western genre is a tricky proposition following the box office failure of The Lone Ranger (even though the fact that it was a western wasn’t the reason it failed), so the studio will need a few big stars to anchor this reboot. In the early days it was stated that Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon would be joining Cruise as he rode across screen (likely to a jazzed-up version of Elmer Bernstein’s classic theme). There’s no word on whether this is still the case, but it’s all quite plausible. It’s also possible that Cruise will hop back into The Magnificent Seven saddle once he reads Hancock’s script.
As is always the case with these things – time will tell.