The following story contains a massive spoiler for Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven. Stop reading now if you haven't yet checked out the remade Western.
With Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in the saddle, Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven galloped to a healthy $35 million opening this past weekend. If the estimate holds, it will be a career best for Fuqua, topping The Equalizer ($34.1 million) and proving how much audiences like the collaborations between the director and Denzel. If you made it this far into the story, though, you know that Chris Pratt sacrifices himself at the end of the movie in what has to be the coolest on-screen death scene in the entire film. So when I interviewed Pratt at the Toronto International Film Festival -- where this movie made its world premiere -- I learned that he had a slightly different death in the script, and he told me why they changed it. Pratt said:
I think originally I was supposed to... blowing myself up was, like, what was going to happen in the original script, but it changed because it was -- originally it was written to be in a cave, but then because of the weather and the budget, there was no cave. I was going to be inside of a mine, and blow myself up inside of a mine, or something like that. Everything was in flux and shifting, so I got to take part in that and turn it more into a magic... like, another one of those kinds of tricks that he does. I got to be really collaborative with that.
Almost all of the actors who I spoke with at the Magnificent Seven junket talked about how their death scenes (and there are several of them) changed a bit from the page to the screen because of the environment, and how it played out while they were shooting. Ethan Hawke said it was his idea to have him and Byung-hun Lee's characters dying in the church steeple. Vincent D'Onofrio elaborated on the number of arrows he originally was supposed to take before his hulking hero eventually went down (it was a lot less than the multiple arrows he endured). And Antoine Fuqua backed up Pratt's claims that tunnels and mines originally were a big part of the finale of the movie, but staging that action was just going to be too expensive.
Chris Pratt's character, Josh Faraday, is a bit of a magician, pulling card tricks on intended victims in scenes throughout the movie. It all builds to a payoff where he surprises the movie's main villains with a "trick" of his own -- and even that was suggested by Pratt as part of the collaboration on his ultimate death. Listen to him describe it to me in the video below: