James Horner’s recent work: ‘Southpaw’ and ’33' scores

Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal star in "Southpaw."

Rachel McAdams and Jake Gyllenhaal star in “Southpaw.”

(Scott Garfield / The Weinstein Co.)

James Horner, who died Monday in a plane crash, is responsible for a long body of acclaimed film work dating back more than three decades. But the prolific composer also has recently been working on a number of projects yet to be released.

Most notably, Horner wrote the score for “Southpaw,” a boxing drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal that the Weinstein Co. will open in July.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film already has a strong music component -- Eminem, who at one time was going to star, wrote songs for it. Horner had said in an interview posted on a fan site that the “Southpaw” score was uncharted territory for him.

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“I’m starting another film in a world I know nothing about. About a boxer, an American boxer,” he said. “It’s just a movie I’ve never done before. I thought it would be really challenging again. It’ll be really edgy, but it will be very simple. No big orchestras.”

In a statement Tuesday, Fuqua said: “I am very saddened to hear the news about James. He was a legend, an artist, and a great friend. ... James was not only a composer. He was a true filmmaker. He cared about the music, but also about the story as a whole.”

Added Fuqua: “Rest in peace my friend, you left us with the gift of your incredible music.”

Later in the year, more Horner music will be heard when Patricia Riggen’s Chilean miner drama “The 33” hits theaters. The film, due out in November, stars Antonio Banderas in the fact-based survival story.


Reached by email, Andrew Kosove, co-chief executive of “33" distributor Alcon Entertainment, said, “I never met James but I was very sorry to learn of his tragic accident. His score for ‘The 33' is fantastic and in keeping with his many moving and emotional scores. The picture itself is terriffic and will suprise a lot of people this fall.”

FROM THE ARCHIVES: James Horner scored ‘Aliens’ to ‘Legends of the Fall,’ and now: ‘Casper’

In a tragic coincidence, one of the most recent projects Horner worked on was the upcoming National Geographic documentary “Living in the Age of Airplanes,” a look at the history of flying narrated by fellow aviation enthusiast Harrison Ford, who survived a solo plane crash in Los Angeles in March.

Horner’s work is also being celebrated with a remaster of his score for “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” the 1993 chess drama directed by Steven Zaillian.


But one of his more ambitious recent projects remains in question. Horner had been reteaming with longtime collaborator James Cameron for work on the “Avatar” sequels. It’s not yet known how much work Horner had done on the score, and if any of the music will be included in the planned films.

Times staff writer Josh Rottenberg contributed to this report.

Twitter: @ZeitchikLAT