Clint Eastwood‘s spaghetti western A Fistful of Dollars is the basis for a TV series in development from Mark Gordon Pictures. The production company, only just formed in August by former PGA head Mark Gordon and backed by longtime partner company eOne, is starting off their slate strong by buying up the rights to adapt the seminal work for a contemporary remake.
Directed by Sergio Leone, A Fistful of Dollars (which is actually itself just a remake of Akira Kurosawa‘s samurai film, Yojimbo) follows a nameless wanderer who pits rival gangs of a dangerous town against each other. Released in Italy in 1964 and then America in 1967, the film both popularized Clint Eastwood as a leading man and spaghetti westerns as a genre in the states, leading to the two sequels that make up the “man with no name” trilogy as well as a cavalcade of similar films.
Deadline reports that Mark Gordon Pictures has secured the rights to both A Fistful of Dollars and Yojimbo, and aim to tell an original, contemporary version of the story. Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman, who is also helping on Amazon‘s expansive upcoming Lord of the Rings series, is in talks to adapt. No other news has been released about the project, but a large IP like A Fistful of Dollars shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a buyer.
It’s worth noting that Mark Gordon Pictures only has the rights to A Fistful of Dollars and Yojimbo, not the other two “man with no name” movies, the most popular of which by far is The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It’s not impossible to adapt a singular film, especially one so famously (even purposely) devoid of dialogue and character writing, into a series. It is, however, a more difficult sell, given that spaghetti westerns have become significantly less popular since the 1960s.
The aim of the producers, so they say, is to tell a more contemporary version of this story, only pulling from the source material for inspiration. In the modern era of anti-westerns and neo-westerns, the archetype of The Man With No Name has fallen out of favor, with gruff, stoic male heroes if anything considered a tired and unhealthy stereotype now. “Contemporary” will have to be the operative word for the team behind this adaptation if they want it to work, but that isn’t to say there’s no room for good westerns anymore. The premise of A Fistful of Dollars, or rather Yojimbo, (but it doesn’t matter because the producers now own both) is a perfect kind of simple. There’s a lot more room to stretch out and explore the concept than there are with most modern TV pilots, and with streamers constantly looking to buy, there might be places this remake could find room to be bloody and brutal without completely letting go of its spaghetti roots.