“We all dream of being a child again, even the worst of us,” Don Jose said in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch. “Perhaps the worst most of all.” The director then took the most graphic violence and realistic gunshots to turn the wild south west into a beautifully tortured regression in time. Warner Bros. is handing the film over to Mel Gibson, who will co-write, executive produce, and direct a remake of the influential 1969 American epic Western movie, according to Deadline.
The Wild Bunch is about a gang of aging outlaws on the Mexico–United States border in 1913 led by William Holden. Lee Marvin was originally cast as the lead, but backed out to do the Western genre musical Paint Your Wagon. Veteran actor Holden was at the beginning of a major comeback. Filmed in Mexico, the film also stars Robert Ryan, who reportedly threatened to punch Peckinpah if he wasn’t given time off to campaign for Robert F. Kennedy. Ernest Borgnine, who also stars, threatened to punch the director if he wasn’t given a break from the dust. Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez and Ben Johnson rounded out the cast.
Peckinpah wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay with Walon Green and Roy N. Sickner. His multi-angle, quick-cut editing, and use of slow motion setups got Peckinpah nominated for an Outstanding Directorial Achievement award by the Directors Guild of America. The American Film Institute considers The Wild Bunch the sixth-best Western movie of all time.
You can sample some of the classic film here:
Warner Bros tried to produce a remake several times. This is Gibson’s first directorial job since the 2016 film Hacksaw Ridge, which got him nominated for an Oscar for best director. Gibson won the award for Best Picture for his film Braveheart.
Gibson is still in pre-production for his World War II drama Destroyer, which will star Mark Wahlberg.
There is no word yet on casting or when The Wild Bunch will hit theaters.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.