Seven men on horseback will again ride through the Old West to save the day, and this time, they”re led by Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
The two actors saddled up for The Magnificent Seven remake opening in theaters later this year. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), the film”s first trailer hit the web today. You can watch it below:
Based on the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven, which itself was based on Akira Kurosawa”s Seven Samurai, the new film also stars Peter Sarsgaard as industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, who”s ruthlessly taken control of the small town of Rose Creek. The desperate townspeople employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers, and hired guns – Sam Chisolm (Washington), Josh Farraday (Pratt), Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), Jack Horne (Vincent D”Onofrio), Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee), Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), and Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).
HitFix was among a small group of reporters to visit the edit bay for Magnificent Seven last month to view a couple scenes from the film and talk with Fuqua.
We watched a scene when Washington”s character, Sam Chisolm, faces the men who claim to be lawmen protecting the town of Rose Creek. “This is an awful lot of deputies for such a small place,” he observes. It”s a tense scene, though one with a few chuckle-worthy quips, before it launches into a thrilling shootout between Chisolm”s men and the guys terrorizing Rose Creek. The second scene we watched featured Washington”s and Pratt”s characters training the people of the small town. That one was a light and humorous scene, both thanks to Pratt”s slick, mischievous character and to the comedic incompetence of the townspeople with guns before they”re ready for the big battle.
In both scenes, we also got to see Hawke”s troubled but clearly skilled gunslinger. Fuqua (who directed Hawke”s first Oscar-nominated performance, in Training Day) said the actor was very, very eager to be a part of his Magnificent Seven.
“He literally grabbed me by the collar and said, ‘If you do this f—ing movie, I”m in it. I don”t care who I”m playing!'” Fuqua recalled.
Fuqua said the “DNA of the characters” in his Magnificent Seven comes from the men brought to life by Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and the rest of the cast in the 1960 movie, though the characters aren”t directly modeled after those in the original film.
I asked Fuqua about the challenge of figuring out how each of his gunslingers would be introduced, living up to the memorable way the team of seven comes together in John Sturges” film.
“Everybody“s introduction, I would say, is pretty fantastic,” Fuqua said. “And they all do something pretty cool that tells you a bit of who they are. Each of them gotta up the ante.”
This trailer features a cover of “House of the Rising Sun,” but Fuqua assured us that he”s staying traditional with the film”s music, despite any rumors out there that the film will include hip-hop music. “Nah, I wouldn”t do it,” Fuqua said when one reporter asked about the possibility of hip-hop in the movie, though the score “has more bottom sometimes,” he said. “There are some twists with sounds that feel more electronic. That”s as modern as I will go.”
The film”s score is by James Horner, who had the challenge of following Elmer Bernstein”s iconic score for the 1960 film. It”s Horner”s final posthumous release, after his death in a plane crash last June.
At the time we visited the edit bay, an 80-piece orchestra had just started recording the film”s score, so the scenes had temp music, mostly from Horner”s past work, including Legends of the Fall, Thunderheart, and Braveheart.
When Horner died, Fuqua thought he”d have to find another composer. Production hadn”t begun yet – Horner didn”t even have any footage to write music for at the time he died.
But then Horner”s collaborators Simon Franglen and Joe E. Rand told Fuqua that the late composer had a gift for him. Fuqua thought it was a gift from among the rooms and rooms of beautiful trinkets and toys in Horner”s house. (“He had no Academy Awards, no film posters, [decorating his house]. It was all toys from the 1800s and beautiful things,” Fuqua said.)
The gift, it turns out, was Horner”s score for the film: He”d written several suites and themes just based off of the screenplay.
“They played it for me, and it was just gorgeous. Guy”s a genius,” Fuqua said.
After Magnificent Seven wrapped shooting, Franglen, Rand, and more of Horner”s frequent collaborators completed Horner”s score.
It was actually Horner who gave Fuqua the push he needed to make the film.
The director was at Horner”s house, meeting with him about Southpaw, telling the composer his frustrations about securing the budget needed to make Magnificent Seven.
“We stood outside in his garden area,” Fuqua recalled. “I was just f—ing complaining. Couldn”t get the money. Seven actors – you need movie stars. The whole Hollywood system sometimes is tough. You gotta have a certain level of actor to get the money to make a Western.”
Then Horner, whom Fuqua remembers as a “slight, soft-spoken guy,” told the director, “You have to do it. Antoine, you”ll make history. You, Denzel, Chris, Magnificent Seven. Don”t worry about the money – I'll do it for whatever. But you gotta make that movie. You'll probably never get to make another Western in your lifetime. You just gotta figure out how to do it.”
That”s what made Fuqua realize, “I gotta stop f—ing whining and figure this out.”
He indeed figured it out. The film is set to open on September 23, 2016.