By now I am sure everyone knows I am a big fan of Timothy Olyphant's work. I plead guilty to enjoying Mr. Olyphant's presence on my screen. The problem is there isn't enough of him.
Now since Olyphant plays the cowboy characters so well, it got me to thinking about what western movies would be perfect as a remake for Tim. I grew up in a time when western movies were very popular. John Wayne was an American Icon. Who could resist the Duke's swagger across the big screen. As a kid I remember sitting in the dark and watching Wayne in Big Jake. I loved the movie, even though I cried when Jake's faithful, ever protective dog got killed by the bad guys. Jake got his revenge. Good old frontier justice. An eye for an eye.
Olyphant's characters are great at doling out frontier justice. His characters live by the rule. You step out of line you have to pay the price. So with that in mind, here are five westerns that I think would be great with Olyphant as the star. A little update, a little grittier for the modern movie goer and I think they would all be hits.
1. The Searchers. Olyphant would play the part of Ethan Edwards (played by John Wayne in the original), a Civil War veteran who returns to his brother's home in west Texas. Edward's past is only hinted at during the film. We gather that he fought in the Mexican Revolutionary War and he has a lot of gold in his possession upon his return home. Edwards sets off with the Texas Rangers to track down some cattle thieves. The band soon discovers it is only a ploy by the Comanches to lure them away. Upon returning to his brother's home Edwards finds it burned to the ground. His brother's family is slain except for the two girls who have been taken captive. Ethan, his adoptive nephew and a band of volunteers set off to find the girls but tragically they find the youngest daughter's body during their search. As the band of volunteers give up, Ethan and his nephew begin a five year journey to find the remaining girl.
The core element of the story is Ethan's internal battle with the belief that the girl is better off dead after having been with the Indians so long and his love for her. I think Olyphant would be brilliant at portraying this inner battle with himself.
2. Two Mules For Sister Sara. Olyphant would play the Clint Eastwood part of a drifter named Hogan. In the movies first scene Hogan rescues a woman from rape by a gang of Mexican bandits. She reveals to him that she is a nun working with Mexican revolutionaries fighting the French. Hogan reluctantly takes her along with him as he is also working with the revolutionaries. His interest, however, is pure profit. He has agreed to help attack the French garrison in exchange for a portion of whatever they find in the safe. Hogan and Sara have many harrowing adventures on the way to the garrison. After arriving Hogan finds out that Sara is not a nun at all but a prostitute. She helps with the attack on the garrison and the two leave together richer and wiser. Olyphant's style would be perfect for the humor in this movie and his cool tough cowboy persona perfect for the character. Throw in the adversarial romance and it is a must see movie.
3. High Noon. It would be hard for anyone to follow in Gary Cooper's footsteps, but I believe Olyphant would be a terrific Will Kane. Kane is turning in his marshal's badge to marry his sweetheart. After years of serving the town, he is ready to start a life with his new bride. But on his wedding day, he receives news that an outlaw he put in prison years before is coming to town with his gang to kill Kane. His friends advise him to run. At first he agrees and leaves town but that is not who he is and he returns against his bride's protests. Nobody in town will help him. Even his deputy quits. Kane stands his ground and fights the gang. Only one person helps him, his bride. After it is all over he throws his badge on the ground and rides out of town with his wife. This story is a tale of morality and human weakness and fear. I believe Olyphant could portray the man who lives his principles even under the fear of death as well as the disgusted and disillusioned man he is in the end.
4. High Plains Drifter. This one could really be Olyphant's shining moment. He seems made for the part of the stranger who rides into the town of Lago to change the residents lives forever. Clint Eastwood played this part with the same cold charm Olyphant does so well. The town of Lago is a morally bereft place. The citizens had their own sheriff killed to hide a secret. The gang they hired to kill the sheriff is getting out of prison and the citizens know they will be returning to exact revenge. The drifter offers to help them in the face of this danger. During the course of the story the masks are peeled away to reveal what kind of people reside in Lago. When the stranger rides out of town, leaving the citizens to face the gang alone chaos ensues. Then the gang is killed one by one by an unseen hand. The stranger appears to face the last gang member, the leader. After killing him he rides out of town and simply disappears.
The drifter is seemingly as morally bankrupt as the townspeople or so it seems until we learn he is there for his own justice. Olyphant can portray the hard, unfeeling drifter and still have the audience on his side.
5. The Guns Of Fort Petticoat. This one would just be fun. Fort Petticoat is an old Audie Murphy movie. Murphy was a World War II hero turned actor. Olyphant would take over Murphy's role as Lt. Frank Hewitt. Hewitt deserts the army after learning about a planned Indian massacre at Sand Creek. He knows this will cause an Indian uprising in his home state of Texas where most of the men are gone off fighting in the Civil War. He deserts to return and warn the settlers, mostly women and children, about the danger and move them to safety. Hewitt and a band of women and children take refuge in an old mission, where he tries to turn the ladies into Indian fighters. The women turn out to be a tough band indeed as they fight off outlaws as well as Indians. This one is my dream role for Olyphant. Tim surrounded by dozens of women. The humor and the sexual tension combined with the action would have to be a winning combination.
That is my five western remake wishes. They are all great classic movies. If you haven't seen them do yourself a favor and catch them online or on a classic movie channel such as TCM or The Western Channel.
Article Views: 1122 Report this Article