We afford a small look at what had been on the horizon for James Horner, a window into what a few short weeks ago was certain but which now must be accepted as a reality that will never come to be.
It had been known for quite some time that he was going to compose the scores for the sequels to Avatar. As late as this past April, he talked about how he had started putting together ideas, and James Cameron also stated after Horner’s death that he would have started work on the score later this year.
However, there were also other films lining up for the magic brushstrokes of James Horner’s musical mind.
First was Mel Gibson’s new film. When James Horner came to Stavanger, Norway, in May to attend the Nordic premiere of Pas de Deux and to conduct some of his other music, he revealed he’d actually postponed a meeting with Gibson in order to attend the concert. Horner also spoke about this during his BAFTA Conversations interview with Tommy Pearson in April, where he expressed that he wanted to be by Gibson’s side for what is supposed to be his comeback film as a Hollywood director. The film, currently titled Hacksaw Ridge, stars Andrew Garfield as
Corporal Demond Doss, a World War II army medic who refuses to kill and who later became the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Mel Gibson, Corporal Demond Doss, Andrew Garfield
Photo Credit: FayesVision / WENN.com – comingsoon.net
Also in the BAFTA Conversations interview, Horner mentioned he had two projects ongoing, but didn’t say anything about the second one. We now know this to be the Norwegian movie, 12th Man, directed by Harald Zwart. The movie is currently scheduled for release next year.
Zwart and Horner first collaborated on The Karate Kid in 2010. They became close friends and Horner often visited the Zwart family, Harald Zwart tells in an interview with Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. It was at one of these visits that Zwart introduced Horner to Mari and Håkon Samuelsen. Zwart invited Horner for a house concert with the two soloists so they could meet. This of course was the start of both a fruitful collaboration and a close friendship with the two young soloists.
Harald Zwart, in the same article, is full of praise for his late friend:
"He was warm, compassionate, and always had time for people. It was a fantastic experience working with him. He was a genius in all his simplicity. He made it sound beautiful without using unnecessary effects."
He goes on to discuss their plans for future collaborations.
"He had said yes to write the score for a Norwegian film I’m working on about Jan Baalsrud. He had read the script several times and was looking forward to starting on the project."
The loss of James Horner can be felt through the music that will forever remain unwritten. There were musical journeys ahead on which we will never get to embark. Cameron, Gibson, and Zwart must now find a new voice to enrich their upcoming cinematic endeavors, we cannot deny that the final chord has been struck and the last note has been written.
Photo Credit: © 20th Century Fox


  1. This whole article breaks my heart. I am also currently listening to the score of Southpaw and the music is making me cry in the middle of class. I can’t help but think of what is to come and what will never be.

  2. I do so agree with Zoe’s comments, especially today for the first anniversary of Royal Albert Hall. Just played Titanic, first time I’ve played since June last year….very sad. I have tried to find when the Samuelson’s are coming to UK to play Pas de Deux again, as on their website.

    1. And now being the month that really changed our lives it’s hard to imagine what’s going to happen next. We never wanted that horrible day to be real. As stated on their Facebook page Varèse Sarabande has updated their cover photo and all month they are celebrating the life, career and immense legacy that James Horner left behind for us.

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