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James Mangold

Directors in the Oscar race

Mangold has been gearing up to remake “3:10 to Yuma” his entire career. First seeing the 1957 Delmer Daves original in a classroom while he was a teaching assistant for director-turned-professor Alexander Mackendrick at CalArts, Mangold says he later used the film as a “plot template” while directing “Cop Land.”

But his reverence for the pic was what worried Mangold most. “I felt a danger as a director that I would be caught up in the fantasy of making a Western,” Mangold says. “You can end up making a movie about movies, instead of a movie about characters.

“Westerns are about our great mythical landscape, our Mt. Olympus, in which all of the great American themes are played out in this kind of fever dream. That’s what I tried to keep in focus: not being so fastidious about tradition or history that we trampled on the dreamscape of the Western.”

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