PREVIEW: Russell Crowe and Christian Bale in ‘3:10 to Yuma’

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Remakes have long been fertile ground for studios to dip into the old vault for material. And so it follows that every year there are bound to be a few remakes of old movies that are contemporized for today’s audiences. The Western genre could never be updated into a modern setting successfully, though some have tried. Its mythic elements are too entrenched in movie history to be married to other genres. The qualities and settings of the genre haven’t changed over the last sixty years but what it has is its style and form. 

This fall will see the release of 3:10 to Yuma, a remake of the 1957 Glen Ford movie. In this new version, the plot is intact. A local rancher, Dan Evans (played by Christian Bale) is forced to take an outlaw in custody, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), to the nearest train station to await the train that would take Wade to court. Of course, there is a meaner form of justice awaiting them as word spreads and they hole up to face the wrath of Wade’s vigilantes when they descend on the station.  

3:10 to Yuma has been in development for a while. James Mangold (Identity and Walk the Line), who is directing, has had an on-off relationship with the film. He was close to making it in 2003 before finally committing in 2006, based on a rewrite of the script by Stuart Beattie (Collateral). The original draft was by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. The original short story on which 3:10 to Yuma is based upon was written by Elmore Leonard. Says Mangold of the story: 

There are a lot of good-bad themes that were only touched on in the original. A lot of Westerns are meditative, but this is a total struggle culminating in a showdown, which has the potential to be one of the great movie gunfights." 

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Tom Cruise and Eric Bana were at one point eyeing the project seriously but dropped out. Still, the pairing of Crowe and Bale will be a formidable one. They’re two strong dramatic actors playing characters at odds with each other and their harsh environment. 3:10 to Yuma also stars Peter Fonda, Ben Foster and Gretchen Mol. It will be released in October by Lionsgate. 


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