Will Smith Eyeing Modern Day Remake of THE WILD BUNCH

Ay caramba.

The Wild Bunch is one of the best movies ever made, and it's an incredibly personal statement from director Sam Peckinpah. So of course it's getting remade. It's hard to get worked up about that - the original will always exist and will always be better - but it is easy to feel a sense of encroaching ennui about the whole thing.

Hold on to your butts, because your ennui is about to go into overdrive. The remake of this film, famous for its grey morality, grim realness and hyperviolence, has attracted the attention of super-family-friendly star Will Smith. He's looking at producing and starring in the remake, which will be a modern day version set amidst the cartels of Mexico. Will Smith is fundamentally wrong for this movie... unless. Unless. There's one way that this could work. 

The Wild Bunch is technically an ensemble piece, but the lead of the original movie is William Holden, playing Pike. He's an aging outlaw looking for one last score. That's almost certainly the role Smith will want (remember that he turned down Django Unchained because he didn't feel Django was the lead of the piece), but it's the wrong role. Pike is a man of cold pragmatism and a weary heart. Smith doesn't have enough anti-hero in him to play it.

But there's another role, Deke, that would work for Smith. Deke isn't the lead, but he's close. He's Pike's old friend and partner, and he's been deputized to hunt down the Wild Bunch. Deke is a guy struggling with his conscience, and he's a guy trying to do the right thing, which happens to involve betraying his friends. I think Smith could pull this off, especially if Deke is written to be a bit more of a convert to law and order. But this isn't the lead role (unless the whole story is screwed with), so Smith likely won't take it.

I'm sure the movie will be largely unrecognizable as a remake of The Wild Bunch anyway. I'm not particularly worried about it. What I'm interested in is whether this is where Will Smith decides to start tackling adult fare again.