Although it is now an iconic western classic, the director of the 1960 film The Magnificent Seven, John Sturges, revealed he had struggled to cast the movie.
According to IMDb, The Magnificent Seven followed seven gunfights who are hired by Mexican peasants to liberate their village from oppressive bandits. The film is based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film Seven Samurai. The film starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Eli Wallach, and Horst Buchholz.
Although it’s now a classic, The Magnificent Seven only earned $2.25 million in the U.S. and Canada. It was considered a box office disappointment. However, the film garnished almost three times as much as the U.S. earnings overseas. Three sequels followed, which were 1966’s Return of the Seven; 1969’s Guns of the Magnificent Seven; and 1972’s The Magnificent Seven Ride. The film also had a remake in 2016. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Music. It also scored a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer – Robert Vaughn.
Cowboys & Indians reported that in his book A Fortune Life, The Magnificent Seven star Robert Vaughn recalled that he showed up to Sturges office for his audition just to be met with some obstacles for the film, including the Screen Actors Guild calling for a strike in Spring 1960. “[Sturges told me] ‘We don’t have a script just Kurosawa’s [Seven Samurai] picture to work from. You’ll have to go on faith.”
Despite the circumstances, Vaugh told Sturges that he was in for the project. Sturges replied, “Good decision, you man. And do you know any other good young actors? I’ve got four other slots to fill.”
Robert Vaughn Revealed That ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Crew Just Made the Film As They Went Along
While continuing to share details about The Magnificent Seven set, Robert Vaughn admitted that he and the rest of the cast and crew just made the film up as they went along. “There were long periods when we didn’t work because the script was still being written. We’d be told one evening, ‘Tomorrow we’ll be doing scene so-and-so.’ And that night carbon copies of the script on onion-skin paper would be slide under our doors to learn the next day.”
Vaughn also declared that his The Magnificent Seven co-star Steve McQueen was always intensively competitive and even at the point of being paranoid. At one point, the acting icon went ballistic over Brynner’s choice of guns.
“The gun has a pearl handle for God’s sake,” McQueen was heard saying. “He shouldn’t have a gun like that. It’s too bleeding fancy. Nobody’s gonna look at anything else with that godda— gun in the picture.”
Vaughn made it a point to note that McQueen only meant that no one was going to be looking at him if the gun was in the film.