Antoine Fuqua wishes he could release recuts of two of his films

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The director of Training Day and The Equalizer 3, Antoine Fuqua, has been talking about two of his films he’d most like to release different versions of.

Antoine Fuqua is out and about promoting The Equalizer 3, his latest collaboration with Denzel Washington. The duo first worked together on the wonderful drama, Training Day which received a 4K anniversary restoration screening in cinemas this week. However, whilst on the promotional trail for The Equalizer 3, Fuqua has revealed that it’s another film that both he and Washington made that the director would like to go back and release: The Magnificent Seven. 

Fuqua revealed that there’s a longer cut of the movie which he’d love to release, stating that he’d want to get his ands on it and bring it up to scratch for a director’s cut release. The film (which is famously a remake of a remake,) featured Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Manuel-Garcia Rulfo and Vincent D’Onofrio and suffered upon release due to its association with its classic namesake, receiving mixed reviews.

Still, Fuqua believes there’s a better version of the film out there than the one he got to release into the world, stating: “[Ethan Hawke] saw the very first [cut]. I don’t know where it is now though, with MGM, I’d have to try to get it. I would like to recut it myself, but I don’t know who would pay for it. I’d have to pay for that, somewhere down the line, I might try. But yeah, he saw the very first cut, which I thought was better. You are dealing with the studio and timing and theatres, but you got a business is business. But I wish that one was the version [that was released].”

Fuqua also told Indiewire that he’d love another crack at editing Tears of the Sun, the 2003 Bruce Willis-led dramatic thriller movie that also released to a mixed reception. “It had much more to it,” reflected Fuqua, “it was cut down quite a bit. It became a little more movie star-driven, and that wasn’t the intention. It was more about the people and the events, and then it became obviously shifted. But Bruce Willis is an amazing movie star, and I get it.”

We certainly understand Fuqua’s desire to go back and reclaim part of his original vision for these films. The director’s cut that was eventually released of 2004’s King Arthur certainly improved upon the theatrical version, allowing Fuqua to reshape parts of the film to match his original vision as his darker and more violent take on that film was suddenly redefined by the studio midway through his work on the project.

Whether Fuqua will get the chance now with Tears of the Sun or The Magnificent Seven, we’ll have to see but his comments offer a fascinating insight into the process of a filmmaker whose creative ambitions have often run up against the wishes of those controlling the purse strings. You can catch The Equalizer 3 in cinemas this week – and there’s potential for more films to come in the future.

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