Director James Mangold is feeling a western vibe. At least, that’s what you could guess from his recent projects. He’s following up his Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line with 3:10 To Yuma, a remake of the classic Western. Mangold was 17 when he first saw the original version, and it has been with him ever since. “The characters are much more complicated than simple black and white hats, and the story presented not only the potential for action but also a kind of claustrophobia, unique among Westerns, one that forces these opposite characters into a very close and intense proximity,” says Mangold.

The film followed him into other projects, as he drew inspiration from it while making Cop Land in 1997 and Identity in 2002. It was during the filming of the latter that he finally decided to go after 3:10. “Sometimes the most attractive land is the land that hasn’t been plowed lately and the western seemed to me to have been abandoned in the last decade,” Mangold explains. “Yet it’s such an integral part of American moviemaking.”

While making Walk the Line, Mangold and producing partner (and wife) Cathy Konrad approached writing team Michael Brandt and Derek Haas to work on the screenplay, and the wheels were put in motion.