Everett Collection/Inset: Getty Images
According to the entertainment news site The Wrap, Smith is currently in negotiations with Warner Bros. and producer Jerry Weintraub to serve as both leading man and co-producer for a remake of "The Wild Bunch," Sam Peckinpah's notoriously dark and violent western about a band of aging gunfighters making one last stand as they stage a robbery in a Mexican border town in 1913.
According to reports, the remake with Smith would not be a period piece or a conventional western. Instead, Smith would play a DEA agent whose career has been clouded by scandal. Unable to bring down the leader of a Mexican drug cartel through legal means, he organizes a gang of accomplices and goes rogue to bring down the dealer.
This isn't the first time someone has announced plans to remake "The Wild Bunch," often cited as one of the best western ever made and a powerful expression of the troubled zeitgeist of the late 1960s. Weintraub and Warner Bros. have tried to re-launch the project more than once, and director Tony Scott was attached to "The Wild Bunch," with Brian Helgeland scripting, before Scott's death on August 19, 2012 put an end to those plans.
If Smith signs on as expected, his production company Overbrook Entertainment will collaborate with Weintrab and Warner Bros. to bring "The Wild Bunch" to the screen. It's also expected that Helgeland's script will be tossed, and a new writer will be brought in to shape the story to Smith's specifications. No directors or co-stars have been liked to the film as of yet; one of the strengths of Peckinpah's "The Wild Bunch" was its outstanding ensemble cast, which included William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, and Ben Johnson. It also remains to be seen if the 44-year-old Smith is willing to play a man with little to lose near the end of his life, like the leading characters in the original.
The "Wild Bunch" announcement comes as Smith is already linked to a number of other notable projects. Smith co-stars with his son Jaden Smith in M. Night Shyamalan's sci-fi adventure "After Earth," which opens May 31, and he's currently filming the fantasy "Winter's Tale" with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Smith is also committed to upcoming sequels to "Hancock" and "I, Robot," as well as "The American Can," a fact-based drama set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Will Smith
- Jaden Smith
- Jerry Weintraub
- The Wild Bunch