Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt have never worked together before, and they’ve never starred in a Western. So this September’s The Magnificent Seven is a two-birds-one-stone situation, for the men who have become two of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
We talked to Washington and Pratt about Seven for our Fall Movie Preview, which you can read in full in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Here’s a short excerpt, where the two stars talk about the joys of Western filmmaking.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you fans of Western films before you signed onto the film?
DENZEL WASHINGTON: I didn’t really watch ’em growing up. It was the end of the Western era in the movies. They had, what was the Clint Eastwood show? Rawhide! That was just kicking in. I remember some of the TV shows.
CHRIS PRATT: I started watching Westerns when I was shooting in London about four or five years ago. I really fell in love with Gary Cooper, and his stuff. That sucked me into the Westerns. Before, I never got engrossed in the story. I’d just dip in, and there were guys in horses in black and white.
EW: High Noon is such an unusual story.
PRATT: The idea you would tell a movie in real time. “Guy shows up, and in an hour and a half, we’re gonna have to kill people.” High Noon‘s later Gary Cooper, I liked that. But I liked The Westerner.
WASHINGTON: The Westerner? Who’s in that one?
PRATT: That’s Gary Cooper and…I’m forgetting his name, he’s so great. Walter Brennan!
[Washington and Pratt both simultaneously break into spot-on impressions of Hollywood icon Walter Brennan.]
PRATT: That’s my favorite one. I have that poster hung up in my house because I really like that one.
WASHINGTON: What’s the Clint Eastwood one where he paints the whole town red?
EW: Paint Your Wagon?
PRATT: High Plains Drifter! That movie’s crazy!
Had you seen the original Magnificent Seven, or Seven Samurai, in preparation?
WASHINGTON: I didn’t go back and look at the original. I liked Seven Samurai, but I never looked at The Magnificent Seven in preparation for this.
PRATT: “Which one are you?” I get that a lot.
WASHINGTON: I’m the black guy. “There wasn’t one in there!” Can’t say that anymore! [laughs] The opportunity to ride a horse? Wear all black? It was cool! You gotta cut to the chase now. You don’t get that many opportunities to do a Western. And your horse! I loved my horse.
PRATT: Your horse loved you, too.
WASHINGTON: I had a good horse!
PRATT: You’d show up on set, and you guys would take off and be hanging out together. That horse listened to you. My horse would just sit there.
WASHINGTON: Well, you gotta – “you gotta,” like I’m the expert, I’m from New York City! – but what I would do is, I wouldn’t get on him when I first met him. I’d walk with him. So I’d get him used to walking with me. I’d stop, and then he’d realize he’s supposed to stop where I stop. I’d let him eat, not let him eat, reward him for things. They can sense you. They feel you. They know if you’re chicken. Plus they gave me a nice old horse. You don’t want too young a horse.
To continue reading more from EW’s Fall Movie Preview, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here – and subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.