View the preview for Training Day director Antoine Fuqua’s Spectacular Seven reboot for the first thing and twenty seconds that ’ll hit on you like a bullet in the eyes is its cast. Denzel Washington heads up a team of rogues that only happens to contain Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt and Daredevil’s Vincent D’Onofrio. But as the leader of a crew which includes a Hispanic outlaw, a Korean assassin and a Native American warrior, Washington is directing one of the most varied casts in Hollywood in years. It turns out this wasn’t consistently true.
When I was in a room with MGM and everyone we were only discussing the cast It ’s amusing,” Fuqua says in an interview in the new issue of Total Film. “Right away, we went down the list of performers… Denzel’s name wasn’t on that list. It was simply lots of celebrities. Most of them were not black. I simply said, ‘I believe this film wants an occasion. It needs something more than simply the name. It must be something that everyone can grab on to. Denzel would be amazing as Yul Brynner, that character, coming over the hill in all-black and looking like a badass…’”
It was like a hush went over the room. I got excited,” he continues. I got that feeling in my gut he would allow it to be unique. And then the fact he was black kind of came up in the room. I simply think of him as a great performer. I didn’t think about colour. Folks asked me whether I was going to make an issue out of it. I said, ‘No. Let folks who come to the theaters paint their own image. You understand he’s not white. I don’t should point that outside.’ And then I began thinking about making it more varied after I thought about Denzel.”
Fuqua is making sure his female characters aren’t only damsels in distress for this 21st century Western. Haley Bennett takes on the part of frontierswoman Emma Cullen who can manage herself, thank you very much. She picks up her gun and she’s involved in conflicts. She there,” Fuqua supports. “It’s significant to do that. It is necessary to not have a girl in misery or only there for a sexual target help make it feel modern.”
Read the complete interview with Antoine Fuqua in the new issue of Total Film magazine outside on today or subscribe to additional issues here.