According to director Antoine Fuqua, Martin Sensmeier was cast as Red Harvest because he auditioned with luxuriant, almost knee-length hair. Sensmeier wasn't told his hair was a selling point, and he cut his hair soon after. Fuqua was upset, then got the idea for Sensmeier to have his hair cut into a Mohawk.
Chris Pratt's character tells a story of a guy falling off a five-story building. At every floor the people hear him say, "So far, so good." This is an homage to Steve McQueen's character on the original The Magnificent Seven (1960) telling the same tale, except it was a ten-story building.
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt were the first two actors cast. Antoine Fuqua knew that both men had expressed interest in appearing in a western. Getting Washington was easy, but Fuqua initially was unsure in which role Pratt would fit. On the second phone call between Fuqua and Pratt, the latter started to sing "Oh, Shenandoah", which Fuqua immediately declared that "Pratt is Steve McQueen".
James Horner worked on this film after he and Antoine Fuqua became close friends while making Southpaw (2015). According to Fuqua, Horner's team visited him on the film's set in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, one month after Horner's accidental death, to deliver the completed score. Horner had been so inspired after reading the script that he composed the entire score during pre-production.
The theme song from the original The Magnificent Seven (1960) plays during the end credits.
The characters use explosives produced by the Giant Powder Company of San Francisco. The company began operations in 1868, as the U.S.'s first manufacturer of dynamite, under exclusive license granted personally by Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.
Later in the movie, Chris Pratt uses a shortened lever-action rifle. This unique firearm (nicknamed "The Mare's Leg") was made popular by Steve McQueen in his series Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958). Pratt's character is McQueen's character from The Magnificent Seven (1960).
The character name of "Red Harvest" is an homage to the Dashiell Hammett story of the same name, which Akira Kurosawa borrowed for the plot of his other great samurai tale, Yojimbo (1961). Kurosawa wrote and directed the movie Seven Samurai (1954), upon which The Magnificent Seven (1960) is based. The Red Harvest plot was also used as the model for A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
The Gatling guns used in the film's time period were chambered in .45-70 Government, with a muzzle velocity of 1,600 feet per second, a 300-grain lead bullet, and a range of well over a mile. At the time, the Army's standard target was a 6 ft. x 6 ft. wooden target at 600 yards, well over the distance shown in this film. The .45-70 round was also used to shoot buffalo in the late 1800s. The range for the Gatling gun in the movie was more than accurate.
Chris Pratt was on the set of this movie when his previous film Jurassic World (2015) was released to huge box office success, which consolidated his celebrity status overnight. Pratt said that his fellow Magnificent Seven cast member Denzel Washington teased him relentlessly, starting every morning with a box office update in the form of "Here's our 100 million dollar guy!", then "Here's our 112 million dollar guy!", followed by ever increasing numbers each day. The number went up to 500 million dollar during the shoot.
The cabin where Jack Horne lives is also featured in True Grit (2010), where Cogburn kicks the Indians off the balcony.
Antoine Fuqua met with studio executives to review actors for the film, but was unhappy that all of the actors under studio consideration were white. He felt the audience would be able to identify with characters who came from a wide variety of backgrounds, coming together for a common cause.
Some areas of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where filming took place, had to be relandscaped to resemble the "Old West."
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke's third collaboration with Antoine Fuqua since Training Day (2001). Hawke co-starred in Brooklyn's Finest (2009), and Washington starred in The Equalizer (2014).
Jason Momoa was originally going to appear in the film. He dropped out due to his commitment with Aquaman (2018).
Although this film is not a straight remake of The Magnificent Seven (1960) and the characters have different names, parallels can be drawn between them. Chris and Sam are both team leaders and black-clothed guns for hire. Vin and Faraday are both broke gambling drifters. Lee was a sharp shooter suffering from PTSD, similar to Robicheaux. Britt is a lethal knife fighter, as is Billy Rocks. Vasquez and Chico are both Mexican, though Chico was far less experienced. Bernado O'Reilly looks like a Native American, like Red Harvest. Harry is a large imposing man, much like Jack Horne.
Sam Chisholm tells the Sheriff of Rose Creek to pass a message to Bartholomew Bogue: "Lincoln, like the President. Lincoln, Kansas". Lincoln, Kansas was founded in 1870, one year after Lincoln, New Mexico where the Lincoln County War took place in 1878-1879. Several plot details mirror the range war, including a robber-baron exerting control over the town, the local sheriff being on the robber-baron's payroll, a group of gunfighters forming to fight the robber-baron (known as The Regulators in the Lincoln County War), the siege of the town (July 15-19, 1878; known as the Battle of Lincoln), and a significant protagonist having the surname Chisholm (Cattle rancher John Chisholm in the Lincoln County War).
Near the end, Ethan Hawke in the bell tower says to Billy Rocks, "Let me tell you something my daddy once said," pauses and continues, "well he said so many things." Bob Dylan said the same thing, almost verbatim, in his Grammy acceptance speech.
Wagner Moura was originally cast as Vasquez. The role was recast because he was committed to film Narcos (2015), in which he plays Pablo Escobar.
Walter Mirisch was the Executive Producer of both this film, and the original The Magnificent Seven (1960).
The Battle of Antietam, where Goodnight Robichaux earned the nickname "The Angel of Death," took place 17 years before the Battle of Rose Creek.
The final screenwriting credits lists Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk as the credited writers. John Lee Hancock rewrote Pazzolotto's script substantially, but was denied a writing credit by the WGA.
While filming in Baton Rouge, LA, temperatures on the set sometimes got as high as 104° Fahrenheit. The highest recorded temperature in Louisiana is 105°F.
Jonathan Joss (King of the Hill's John Redcorn for most of its run) plays the silent, golden headband native - most impressively during the Sacramento's "All men have a price." scene.
Walter Mirisch was one of the most successful independent film producers in Hollywood in the 1960s. He worked alongside Yul Brynner, producer Lou Morheim, director John Sturges, and screenwriter Walter Newman to get Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) remade in America. Many decades after its release, Mirisch still holds The Magnificent Seven (1960) in high regard.
Haley Bennett and Denzel Washington both previously starred together in The Equalizer (2014), also directed by Antoine Fuqua. It was also a remake, but of a TV series, not a film.
As a teenager, Antoine Fuqua was inspired to be a filmmaker after watching two films, The Magnificent Seven (1960) and Scarface (1983). He once said that he would lobby to do a remake of these films if there would be a plan to do so. Fortunately, he got his chance; producer Roger Birnbaum wanted to do a remake after leaving his position as co-chairman of MGM, saying the original film and its characters underline the theme of mortality, a theme that he holds after surviving a gastrointestinal tumor.
Chris Pratt and Vincent D'Onofrio both starred in Jurassic World (2015). Pratt played Owen and D'Onofrio played Hoskins.
From the moment Faraday gets his horse and rides away, there are several musical beats from the original movie's theme song, but with different instruments, and only the first 9 familiar beats. The entire original theme song, sometimes called the Marlboro commercial song, is played during the end credits.
Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio previously starred together as brothers in The Newton Boys (1998), Little New York (2009), Brooklyn's Finest (2009) and Sinister (2012).
Chris Pratt appears in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), as well as Kurt Russell, whose father, Bing Russell appeared in The Magnificent Seven (1960).
Chris Pratt and Vincent D'Onofrio have both appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Pratt played Peter Quill/Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). D'Onofrio played Wilson Fisk/Kingpin in Daredevil (2015).
James Horner composed the soundtrack of Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), a futuristic retelling of Seven Samurai (1954)/The Magnificent Seven (1960).
On March 29, 2015, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer set release for January 13, 2017. In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment moved the release to September 23, 2016.
The film reunites Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, and Antoine Fuqua, from Training Day (2001).
Ethan Hawke's second western of 2016. The first was In a Valley of Violence (2016).
Chris Pratt and Jonathan Joss previously starred in Parks and Recreation (2009), as Andy Dwyer and Chief Ken Hotate.
Antoine Fuqua's second PG-13 theatrical film. His first film was King Arthur, released in 2004.
This is the second time Haley Bennett appeared in a movie using The Magnificent Seven (1960) theme. The first was Hardcore Henry (2015).
James Horner composed the soundtrack of Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) which is a futuristic remake of Seven Samurai (1954) which The Magnificent Seven (1960) was a remake of.
Robert Vaughn, who played Lee in The Magnificent Seven (1960), was not offered a cameo role in the film.
When Chisholm and the rest of the 7 are discussing plans, Farraday asks what if Bogue shoots you in the head. Chisholm responds, "avenge me." This could be a play on of Farraday (Chris Pratt) being in "Guardians of the Galaxy" who are later Avengers in the MCU.