ByRicky Derisz, writer at
Staff Writer at MP. "Holy cow, Rick! I didn't know hanging out with you was making me smarter!" Twitter: @RDerisz.
Ricky Derisz

Seven is one of the most riveting crime thrillers of all time, a movie that is equally unique, expectation-shattering and hideous. What could've been a fairly generic murder mystery was elevated to a sadistic jigsaw of intrigue, repulsion and ingenuity under the leadership of director David Fincher.

Following the bloody tracks of serial killer with a flair for creativity, John Doe (Kevin Spacey), the film centers around his "project" of themed murder inspired by the cardinal sins. The climax is one of the most brutally unforgettable in cinema.

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Having handed himself in, John Doe leads Mills () and Somerset () into the wilderness. Then, in what must've haunted FedEx drivers for years to come, a box arrives containing Mill's wife's unfortunately disembodied head. This leads to Mill's shooting Doe, committing the sin of "wrath" and thus completing his grim masterpiece.

The First Choice For Seven's Antagonist Was A Famous Rockstar

But all this was almost completely different. may not have featured at all if a well-known rockstar hadn't turned down the role first. In an interview on Alec Baldwin's Here's The Thing podcast, R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe revealed that he was approached to play John Doe. He said:

"I was offered the role of the psychopathic killer in the film 'Se7en.' They wanted someone very unexpected, and unfortunately my band was going on tour the same month they were filming. And it required nothing, all I had to do was run down some hallways and look scary. There was no dialogue."

Picturing anyone other than Spacey in the deranged role is almost impossible. The actor's psychotic goading of Mills, as well as his unhinged yet outwardly cool persona, made the larger than life killer chillingly believable. Importantly, though, Stipe also reveals the role wouldn't have included any dialogue.

On top of that, originally the ending was going to be completely different. The singer added:

"I would've loved doing it. I didn't like the way that movie ended. They changed something at the end with Brad Pitt's rather than Morgan Freeman's character killing Kevin Spacey, which shouldn't have happened. It didn't make sense."

Would The Alternative Ending Have Been Better?

Stipe's comments are intriguing. Had he not been preoccupied losing his religion while touring with his band, the film as we know and love would never had been made. If John Doe had no dialogue, it's hard to imagine how events would've turned out. Would the murderer have been deadly silent, letting his work do the talking?

The early draft also suggested Somerset was the one to kill John Doe. Had the plot changed the run-up to that crucial scene, this may have made sense; in an act of mercy, he could've murdered him before Mills had the chance, his final act as a detective the sacrifice of his freedom to save his partner.

Somerset killed John Doe in a different version [Credit: New Line Cinema]
Somerset killed John Doe in a different version [Credit: New Line Cinema]

But how events run in the final cut, Mills as the one who pulls the trigger makes perfect sense. The entire narrative revolves around John Doe trying to show the dark side of humanity, pushing the buttons that provoke the deadly sins. Mills had endured the unthinkable, and in that moment, you can't help but cry out for him to have mercy, yet Fincher defies those expectations and broke our hearts.

Clearly, Stipe's disagrees, but perhaps he knows more about 's early plans than the rest of us. He shouldn't be too disappointed, though. After all, everybody hurts.


Which version would you have preferred?

(Source: Here's The Thing)


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