Morgan Freeman's smooth cool, Brad Pitt's bedhead and a serial killer obsessed with the deadly sins. It's Seven, the neo-noir crime thriller from visionary director David Fincher. Here we'll take a look at 10 things you never knew about Seven.
Four Se7en directors.
It's hard to imagine Seven in the hands of anyone but David Fincher, but there were a number of other directors who could have made it. Jeremiah S. Chechik, director of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Benny & Joon, was reportedly once attached. It was also offered to Guillermo del Toro, fresh off of Cronos. "I rightfully said no to Seven, because it was a great script but it was a very cynical view of the world," he said in a 2008 interview. "And I loved it, I wanted to see it, but I'm a romantic, fat bastard at heart and I don't subscribe to that view." David Cronenberg also passed.
An earlier script from screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker would have seen Denzel Washington as the younger detective played by Brad Pitt. Washington reportedly found the story "too dark and evil," though he later starred in The Bone Collector. In a 2017 interview with GQ, Denzel admitted that he regrets turning down Seven.
At one point, Al Pacino was considered for the Morgan Freeman role. He made City Hall instead. Walker is said to have envisioned William Hurt in the part as he wrote.
Brad Pitt passed on a role in Apollo 13 in order to fit Seven into his schedule.
House of Robin
Robin Wright auditioned for the role of Tracy Mills but lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow. In 2017, Wright earned an Emmy nomination for House of Cards, the Netflix drama executive produced by David Fincher, which costarred Seven villain Kevin Spacey.
The studio ending.
The studio favored a much happier ending than what ended up on screen. There were different versions, including one where Pitt's Detective Miller saved his wife. There's another version where Kevin Spacey kills Brad Pitt before Freeman takes him out. Fincher was sent the "what's in the box?" version of the script by mistake and became dead set on making it that way. Pitt strongly agreed with the director.
We can thank Legends of he Fall
In fact, Pitt made that ending part of the contract that secured his participation in the film. He'd been unhappy with the decision to cut a scene from Legends of the Fall where he "had no juice." As he recounted to Entertainment Weekly a few years ago, "With Seven, I said, 'I will do it on one condition - the head stays in the box. Put in the contract that the head stays in the box.' Actually, there was a second thing, too: 'He's got to shoot the killer in the end. He doesn't do the 'right' thing, he does the thing of passion.'" Fincher did do one thing to try to placate the worried studio. Rather than cut away dramatically right after Mills shoots the killer, he added the moments where Pitt is taken away and Freeman quotes Ernest Hemmingway.
There's a Seven Easter Egg in Fight Club
In Fight Club, David Fincher's 1999 reunion with Brad Pitt, there are three detectives named Andrew, Kevin, and Walker, an homage to Seven's screenwriter.
A rumored sequel would have seen Brad Pitt's character in a mental institution. The tonally similar thriller Solace, starring Collin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins, was at one point rewritten to be a sequel to Seven, 'though this idea was later scrapped and it was rewritten again. As for Fincher's thoughts on a Seven 2, he once said, "I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes."
There are 74 f-bombs in Seven.