The director of The Magnificent Seven has said he isn’t trying to make a statement to Hollywood about the film’s diverse casting.
The movie includes Denzel Washington, South Korean star Byung-Hun Lee, Mexico’s Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Native American actor Martin Sensmeier. Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke also appear in Antoine Fuqua’s retelling of John Sturges’ 1960 western classic.
“It wasn’t to make a statement. We don’t talk about it because you guys [the media] talk about it,” said Fuqua.
“My idea was: Denzel Washington walks into a room and the room stops, Clint Eastwood walks into a room and the room stops. Is it because of the gunslinger or because of the colour of his skin? So we let the audience decide.”
Washington, who worked with Fuqua on Training Day and The Equalizer, said he had never seen the Sturges movie, which starred Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen.
“I didn’t keep away from it. I just didn’t know how it would help me,” he told BBC News.
“[Not seeing it] allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do. Instead of trying not to do what someone else did.”
The 1960 western was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese-language film Seven Samurai.
Fuqua’s version sees seven gunslingers protect the town of Rose Creek from the deadly grip of industrialist “robber baron” Bartholomew Bogue, played by Peter Sarsgaard.
The Magnificent Seven is out in the UK on September 23.
Meanwhile, it was recently revealed Pratt is set to appear in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie.