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17th Annual AFI Awards - Red Carpet
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The Wild Bunch

Mel Gibson is getting out the cowboy hat and spurs.

The actor-director is on-board to direct a remake of Western classic The Wild Bunch, EW has confirmed. Gibson will also co-write with Bryan Bagby.

The film is based on the 1969 Sam Peckinpah film of the same name, which was controversial for its graphic violence upon its first release. It follows the titular group of aging outlaws as they go after a final score on the Texas-U.S. border and are pursued by a brutal posse. Set in 1913, the film explores themes such as the death of the American West, the rise of the industrial age, and more. Filmed on location in Mexico, the film starred William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez, and Ben Johnson.

Gibson will be following in the tradition of the original film; director Sam Peckinpah co-wrote the script with Walon Green.

As a filmmaker, many of Gibson's films, including Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, and Hacksaw Ridge, have also been noted for their violence. New York Times critic Vincent Canby said of the original 1969 film, " It's also so full of violence—of an intensity that can hardly be supported by the story—that it's going to prompt a lot of people who do not know the real effect of movie violence (as I do not) to write automatic condemnations of it." Peckinpah defended his choices, saying the violence was meant to be allegorical to the then-ongoing Vietnam War.

Following much personal turmoil, Gibson has gradually been mounting a comeback over the last few years, most recently earning a Best Picture Oscar nomination for Hacksaw Ridge.

The project has been in development in Warner Bros. for some time and was first announced in 2011. The project reportedly stalled following the 2012 death of director Tony Scott, who was attached at one time. Gibson previously was rumored to be meeting with Warner Bros. about a potential DC superhero collaboration.

Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

The Wild Bunch
  • Movie
  • 134 minutes

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