Get ready for a new version of The Wild Bunch, the gritty ’69 Western directed by Sam Peckinpah (Straw Dogs, Cross of Iron).
Two-time Oscar winner Mel Gibson has been hired to direct the Warner Bros. picture, which he’ll also be co-writing – alongside Bryan Bagby – and executive producing. Deadline broke the news.
The classic western starred William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan and Edmond O’Brien, among others, and followed an ageing group of outlaws during the transition from the “traditional” American West to the industrial age. A final ‘score gone wrong’ sets the remaining members on a path towards their fates. The film caused a bit of controversy in 1969 for its depiction of violence, but has since been recognised as something of a masterpiece by cinephiles.
Gibson certainly seems like the right filmmaker to tackle this remake. With films like Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto and Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson has shown off his ability to direct screen carnage and drama with high skill. Count this one on our ‘highly anticipated’ list.
Also on the agenda on the directing front for Gibson is Destroyer, a WWII picture set to star Mark Wahlberg. Financing is currently coming together for that one.
In the acting realm, Gibson has a number of films on the pipeline: Dragged Across the Concrete, a corrupt cops thriller co-starring Vince Vaughn and directed by S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99); The Professor and the Madman, a biopic co-starring Sean Penn and directed by Apocalypto co-writer Farhad Safinia; Boss Level, a Groundhog Day-type sci-fi actioner with Frank Grillo and Naomi Watts, directed by Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces, The Grey); and War Pigs, an action film co-starring Colin Farrell and directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow).
Here’s the trailer for the original The Wild Bunch: