1960’s The Magnificent Seven Faced A Tight Deadline That Could Have Killed The Movie


The major headache for Sturges here had, at least initially, nothing to do with Brynner and McQueen. It was the other five members of the titular team that was a problem, primarily because he had yet to cast them.

This is where the strike threatened to shut down “The Magnificent Seven.” As actor Robert Vaughn recalled, “Unless the casting for a picture was completed by noon on a particular Friday, production couldn’t begin.”

Though Sturges and Brynner were respected by their peers, many name actors were reluctant to join the production as supporting members of the seven; e.g. John Ireland and Sterling Hayden rejected the role of knife-thrower Britt (a part that went a long way toward making James Coburn a star). There was also the matter of casting the numerous villagers and the villains. It wasn’t quite a cast of thousands, but there were dozens of speaking roles to fill, and that strike date wasn’t going away.

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