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Magnificent Seven: Haley Bennett on playing a female role model in a Western

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Sam Emerson

The Western movie genre is typically a boys club. Just look at The Magnificent Seven, Antoine Fuqua’s reboot touting names like Chris Evans, Denzel Washington, and Ethan Hawke. But the film’s lone leading lady, Haley Bennett, hopes to give women a new gunslinging role model.

“On set, there was so much excitement it really rubbed off on me,” she tells EW in an interview, “because they were so excited to be there and to be living this dream of being cowboys, and I didn’t really get to share that excitement because there was no real role model in Westerns. So to have that opportunity to portray a character that could be that for this generation is the most exciting part.” 

In Magnificent Seven, Bennett plays Emma Cullen, a young widow who hires bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Washington) to protect their farming town from a tyrannical gold prospector. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to defend herself. 

“It was like a testosterone tidal wave,” Bennett says of working with the male-heavy cast. “So I was just trying to stand and not get plummeted by the tidal wave.” 

Watch her discuss the film (out in theaters now) in the video above.