What Sold Antoine Fuqua On Chris Pratt As The Lead For Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven Chris Pratt

How do you even consider doubting Chris Pratt in a role that sees him turn up the charm to 11? The answer is, obviously, whenever that performance has previously been played by Steve McQueen; which is exactly the same hang-up that The Magnificent Seven director Antoine Fuqua had when considering the Guardians of the Galaxy star as the modern face of Western cool. But just as soon as he doubted Pratt's skills, they were just as quickly redeemed, and all it took was a song.

Fuqua spoke with The Hollywood Reporter during their time at the Toronto International Film Festival, and among stories about how he had to convince producers and Denzel Washington on his vision for the remade classic, was a story about how Antoine Fuqua needed a little convincing himself. Fuqua recalls the moment he knew Chris Pratt was the one below:

The hardest thing was who would play [the role played by] Steve McQueen [in the original] because he was like the coolest guy in the world. I heard Chris loved Westerns and we talked about it. He was flirting with other stuff. Then he called me a few days later and he started singing "Oh Shenandoah" on the phone. I said 'He's it. He's Steve McQueen.'

If the moment described above doesn't sound like the epitome of why Chris Pratt is the perfect choice as one of The Magnificent Seven, then we don't know what does. While it's forgivable to think that Pratt might not rank up with Steve McQueen's levels of cool, it's hard to find anyone that really does. Yet if one were to think about just who could come close to filling the man's boots in our modern world, Pratt's name surely would come up on the short list. And without his brand of swagger, The Magnificent Seven might not have worked as well, despite the rest of the fantastic casting involved.

The Magnificent Seven is a film that means a lot to Antoine Fuqua, as it was a film that he enjoyed at an early age and still carries as a favorite to this day. So naturally, he's going to be a little protective of the movie that he's a huge fan of. To let Chris Pratt in on a project like that is the ultimate sign of confidence, but then again, if he were to sing Oh, Shenandoah to any of you on the phone, would you be able to turn him away?

The Magnificent Seven opens in theaters on September 23rd, after its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. You can read our Sean O'Connell's thoughts on the film here.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.