After celebrated composer James Horner died last month, it was assumed that director Antoine Fuqua’s upcoming film Southpaw would be the final film to feature his work. However, Fuqua recently revealed that Horner had already completed work on the score for his upcoming remake of The Magnificent Seven, which will almost certainly be the prolific composer’s final film score.
Speaking with NPR (via James Horner Film Music) about Southpaw, his upcoming film that casts Jake Gyllenhaal as a disgraced boxer attempting to earn his life back in the ring, Fuqua said he wasn’t aware that Horner had composed a score for The Magnificent Seven before his tragic death in a plane crash. When the deceased composer’s team delivered the completed score to him, it came as a surprise to just about everyone involved in the film.
“I just found out a few days ago,” explained Fuqua. “[Horner’s] team flew out here, to Baton Rouge, and they brought me all the music for The Magnificent Seven. He already wrote it for me based on the script. He did it all off the script because he wanted to surprise me. I thought it was a gift or something. And they all came out here and said, ‘Antoine, James wrote the music for Magnificent Seven already and it’s just glorious.'”
Best known for his work on films such as Titanic, Aliens, and Apollo 13 (among many other movies), the two-time Oscar-winning composer was involved in a fatal plane crash last month. Fuqua’s remake of John Sturges’ 1960 western The Magnificent Seven — which was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film Seven Samurai — was one of several projects Horner was expected to compose a score for in the coming years.
The 1960 version of The Magnificent Seven followed a group of gunfighters — played by Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, Horst Buchholz, and Brad Dexter — who were recruited to protect a Mexican village from bandits. Elmer Bernstein’s score for the film received an Oscar nomination.
While the remake of The Magnificent Seven is expected to change the setting for the film to a mining town targeted by a vicious gold baron, the film follows suit with the original in featuring an impressive cast of A-list actors. Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Haley Bennett, Byung-hun Lee, Jason Momoa, Matt Bomer, and Billy Slaughter are all slated for featured roles, with Peter Sarsgaard playing the film’s villain.
“James was an incredible human being,” recalled Fuqua in the interview. “He was a filmmaker through and through. He was one of the most gentle people I’ve ever met. Even the way he spoke was very soft and thoughtful. He was magical. He had this childlike wonderment in his eyes, but he was an amazing artist, an amazing poet. I loved him and we became friends.”
The Magnificent Seven is scheduled to hit theaters January 13, 2017. Southpaw arrives in theaters this Friday, July 24.
You can listen to the interview with Fuqua using the NPR player below.