The Magnificent Seven ride again in 2016 with a diverse cast with a wide variety of riding experience, although all of them trained in Louisiana for weeks before filming.
Before we get going here … some of you just watched the movie trailer above and are wondering.
Yes, that’s a Gatling gun, but …
There are plenty of harrowing scenes with horses, enough so NPR reviewer David Edelstein says he was more worried about them than the characters.
The human body count is high. The embattled streets of Rose Creek are littered with human corpses, but as Daily Mail reviewer Brian Viner observed, but no horses. The equines always got up, and not as zombie horses. 😉
Not even after the bad guys bring in the Gatling gun. I wasn’t going to mention the spoiler, but it’s in the trailer you just watched.
Still, even my non-horsey companions at the theater wondered about the welfare of the equine actors as we headed for the parking lot. We’d left before all the credits finished rolling, so I checked the Humane Hollywood website . I didn’t see the movie listed as having had monitors on set. However …
According to this NPR interview with the film’s director Antoine Fuqua, he listened to the wranglers and trainers about the nature of working with horses: (The italics are mine.)
I learned quite a bit about horses in this movie and how delicate they are. … They’re so powerful, they’re so beautiful, but they’re delicate in the sense that if a horse falls and snaps its ankle, gets hurt, you have to put him down. Luckily none of that happened, but dealing with the trainers, dealing with how skittish they are, how delicate they are with their senses. They could feel when an actor is not in control or their rider is not in control; they could feel the tension around them.
Actor Chris Pratt said last year on his Instagram account with a photo of co-star Byung Hun Lee:
800 horse falls!!! That’s a new movie record!!!A horse fall is a stunt. When a stuntman falls off a horse. We’ve done over 800 on this movie!! So far so good. No injuries. Man or horse.
Maybe he forgot about his co-star’s boo-boo. Martin Sensmeier tells Cowboys & Indians magazine he fell from his horse and split open his elbow.
Speaking of, the actor who plays the Comanche warrior Red Harvest needed to be an excellent rider and not just because he had to ride bareback.
What the Alaska-raised Athabaskan-Tlingit Sensmeier lacked in skill, he reportedly made up for in athleticism, daring, and weeks of preparation with a Blackfeet native stunt man.
The grey Red Harvest rides is 17 hands tall, probably a little tall for a horse of the period, and, judging from his height and spirit as reported by Sensmeier, a thoroughbred or, at least, a TB cross.
As with a Comanche warrior, a former Confederate officer should look pretty good in the saddle. Actor Ethan Hawke rides in some hectic battle scenes. According to this article in W Magazine, Hawke and co-Seven Vincent D’Onofrio learned to ride in 1998 movie “The Newton Boys.”
D’Onofrio and Sensmeir enjoyed their downtime practicing with their horses and guns, according to this article in Moviefone.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo grew up on a ranch in Jalisco, Mexico, where he learned to ride.
As for Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington, here’s a video from the TV show “LIVE with Kelly:”
As you saw in the above video from LIVE from Kelly, Chris Pratt has been around horses and probably rode a bit as a child.
And then there’s Denzel
From the moment you see Denzel on his horse on the desert horizon, you may be reminded of Omar Sharif’s entrance in “Lawrence of Arabia.”
Denzel’s bounty hunter character is the leader of the seven. As you saw in the above video, he rode three times a week for months before filming — and it shows.
Check out this next video from Denzel’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live:”
A couple of things …
- I bet Denzel, some day, returns to riding.
- If Denzel and Palome meet again, Palome will recognize him, especially if they had a good relationship. From what I saw on film, they did.
No “hugging” with the forelegs, but Palome is liable to amble or trot up to Denzel at the turnout fence.