Mel Gibson has been set by Warner Bros to direct The Wild Bunch, a new version of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah-directed classic Western. Gibson is writing the script with Bryan Bagby. Gibson will be executive producer.
In The Wild Bunch, an aging group of outlaws look for one last big score as the traditional American West is disappearing around them and the industrial age is taking over. They are pursued by a posse led by a former partner they double crossed. Peckinpah wrote the script with Walon Green. The original starred William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez and Ben Johnson.
The film was originally considered exceptionally violent, but it later came to be considered a stylistic masterpiece. Warner Bros has tried several times to mount a remake, but it seems in good hands with Gibson. From Best Picture winner Braveheart to films like Apocalypto and the recent Best Picture nominee Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson has distinguished himself as one of the best directors of action working in the business.
I’m not reflexively against remakes. I think of it much like covering a song. If you’re bringing something to it, it can be great. I love both the Marshall Tucker original of “Can’t You See” and the Waylon Jennings version. And Deadline is right — Gibson is really good at this sort of thing. Still — really?
I’ll withhold judgement till we know more. Is it a straight remake or a different take on the scenario? What does “new version” mean? Don’t know yet.
One thing for sure: Mad Mel is right there with Bloody Sam in the mad, bad and dangerous to know department, so there’s that.