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Trevor Rabin’s ‘Max’ Score: ‘Emotion Without Being Sappy’

Max” (out June 26 via Warner Bros.) is the story of a military dog who loses his Marine handler during the war in Afghanistan, then returns to America where he bonds with the soldier’s troubled brother.

Director Boaz Yakin, who first met Trevor Rabin on “Remember the Titans,” concedes that his is already “a highly emotional movie,” so he needed a composer “who could find emotion without being sappy.”

“I really wanted a score that had a classical movie score quality to it without sounding old-fashioned,” Yakin adds. “He had to carry and sustain the story, and the adventurous aspects of the movie.”

Yakin and Rabin have become close friends since their time on “Titans” 15 years ago. “The movie needed heart, first and foremost, and then pace,” says the composer. It also needed “a lot of tension,” he adds, noting that he kept in mind the image of a stretched elastic band throughout the process: “Pull it just to the point where it’s about to break.”

They worked closely on the score for nearly eight weeks, Yakin often visiting Rabin’s studio to hear what the composer was creating.

“He gets a visceral impression. You show him a scene, he goes, ‘Wait, I have an idea,’ he’ll play a few notes, you look at it together with the picture on the screen — and this combination of notes actually does support the image. It’s a beautiful thing to see.”

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