The Mega-nificent Seven

You know what to do with that extra jack, those few hundred million you’ve got just lying around earning squat. Sure, you could snag some dirt cheap real estate. Or you could probably buy out some public service from the city of Chicago. There’s plenty of ways to abuse the commercial enterprise system, especially when you don’t need the dough. But the idea’s to get a kick while doing it. The idea’s to get a smile from all that scratch.

I say it’s time you produce a new version of “The Magnificent Seven.” And I gotta say it’s a brilliant stroke that fits right in with the premier secret to successful Hollywood producing. It’s all so simple, all so obvious, but so many people miss it completely. The key in Tinseltown is all about being vey fresh, very new, very now, and at the same time as wholly unoriginal as possible. In order to fulfill that formula, what could be better than a remake of a remake?

Don’t get me wrong. I ain’t saying your new “Magnificent Seven” ain’t going to be tricky, especially when it comes to the cast. You gotta make it boffo, blockbuster, dream-team like. You’re talking the stuff of “The Longest Day” and “The Towering Inferno.” In order to pull this off you’ll have to assemble the best goddam cast there’s even been. That means you need the very best talent—but don’t confuse “talent” with “ability.” The two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but they’re not necessarily the same thing, either. In Hollywood, talent is a commodity, talent is a hired gun—and ain’t that apropos for this flick? So when I say you need the best talent, I mean the most expensive. Take a page from Dino de Laurentiis and Francis Ford Coppola: the most expensive always means the best, right?

Lucky for us we’ve got that roadmap to good, clean capitalist living, Forbes magazine. The little dears over at Forbes have already compiled our cast for us based on Hollywood’s top money makers from May 2011 to May 2012. Here’s your mega-million, all-star ensemble. The listing includes their last yearly earnings with notes, the character they’ll play, and the actor from the original cast. (“Original” refers to the American original which was a remake of the Japanse original. Got that?)

Tom Cruise
$75 million
Chris Adams / Yul Brynner
Mr. Hollywood himself struck it big with “Mission Impossible—Ghost Protocol,” and “Jack Reacher” looks promising. Cruise is a funny guy. He’s taken smaller parts in the past, but you know in an all-star affair he’ll settle for nothing less than the lead. But will he shave his head?

Leonardo DiCaprio
$37 million
Vin / Steve McQueen
“J. Edgar” was a box office let down, but “Django Unchained” should turn things around. It could take some fancy schmoozing to get Leo into another western, not to mention another remake after “The Great Gatsby.”

Adam Sandler
Harry Luck / Brad Dexter
Here’s a twosome that could only be made in Hollywood: Sandler tied with DiCaprio for the number two spot (and a paltry sum it is compared to Tom “Cash Cow” Cruise). Sandler’s ready for a winner after the break-even, “Jack and Jill” and the box office flop, “That’s My Boy.” Maybe he can bring a little more panache to the role than Dexter did—it would be awful difficult not to.

Dwayne Johnson
$36 million
Bernardo O’Reilly / Charles Bronson
Is Dwayne the hardest working man in Tinsel Town? He appeared in no less than five flicks in 2012. Remake negotiations could be tricky: with Cruise already doing the cue ball thing for the Yul Brynner role, you’ll have to convince Dwayne to wear a rug.

Ben Stiller
$33 million
Lee / Robert Vaughn
Despite the weak showing of “The Watch,” Stiller’s one of Hollywood’s best respected, and best paid, funnymen. We’ll see how straight he can play it in black leather gloves. He can’t possibly look anymore out of place than Vaughn did.

Sacha Baron Cohen
Chico / Horst Buchholz
$30 million
It’s a dead heat for the last three cast members. Sacha should be itching to do a western after dropping out of “Django Unchained” for his role In “Les Miserables.”

Will Smith
$30 million
Britt / James Coburn
It’s hard to beat the $600 million box office for “Men In Black 3.” Will’s sci-fi “After Earth” should prove interesting—he shares screenwriting credit with M. Night Shyamalan. Can’t you just see Smith displaying a little knife-play razzle-dazzle?

Johnny Depp
$30 million
Calvera / Eli Wallach
Forget “Dark Shadows.” Just forget it. Depp’s the one and only star in the movie universe with three flicks earning more than $1 billion each. You know he’ll never go for conventional casting, so Depp earns the role of the Mexican villain. The question is whether or not he’ll choose to adopt Wallach’s completely miscast Brooklyn accent.

The total payday for this Hollywood elite? $308 million. For that amount you could consider a remake of “Titanic,” but the all-star western sounds like a lot more fun. Now it’s time to attach a director—let’s ride!



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