With Antoine Fuqua’s humdrum remake of The Magnificent Seven due for release next week and HBO preparing to debut its unnerving series-reimagining of Westworld next month, we can imagine that studio executives are busily scouring their dads’ DVD collections looking for the next big Western blockbuster. So, it should come as no surprise that Relativity Studios has picked up the rights to crank out an updated version of Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 award-winning High Noon, The Wrap reports.
The original film—about a small town sheriff (Gary Cooper) who is abandoned by the citizens he protects when a shiftless outlaw (Ian MacDonald) comes back looking for bloody vengeance—was widely seen as a statement on McCarthyism and the Hollywood blacklist from screenwriter Carl Foreman, who was later forced to seek work in Europe. The new version will reportedly take place in present day along the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s unknown how much Relativity will allow criticism of the country’s current struggles with ugly nationalism to bleed into their retelling.
“High Noon is one of the most iconic films of all time,” the studio’s motion picture and television head Dana Brunetti said in a statement. “I’m honored to be a part of modernizing this timeless story, and bringing it to a new generation.”
This won’t be the first time filmmakers have jiggered with the component parts of the classic film to make something new. There have been at least two film sequels and one outright remake (all for television) produced over the years. The most memorable response to High Noon came from Howard Hawks, who fashioned his 1959 Western Rio Bravo as an inverse-retelling of Foreman’s story, complete with a lead role for blacklist-supporting draft dodger John Wayne as a small town sheriff who refuses help from his citizens because he’s so tough and masculine.