** Do not read unless you've seen Orphan (or don't care about ruining the twist for yourself) **
The big twist at the end of Orphan makes it one of the best flip-reversal horror movies ever, but did you know that what the writers had planned for Esther was so, so much worse?
Here's the 3-minute scene where we find out Esther's true nature...
So, we're told that 'orphaned child' Esther is a 33-year-old woman with proportional hyperpituitary dwarfism who 'killed seven people' and was sent to an insane asylum called Saarne.
Pretty sick stuff, but earlier drafts went into more grisly detail. Via Imdb:
She was molested by her father for years, starting when she was an infant; this sexualized her at a very young age and destroyed any future chance of her having her own children. Her father later took another lover, telling Esther that, because of her condition, she could never be a real woman. She murdered them both and was ultimately sent to Saarne, a mental institution.
After escaping from Saarne, she worked as a prostitute in Estonia for years, mostly catering to wealthy pedophiles. When she was arrested for this, she kept up the pretense of being a child to stay out of jail and was sent to an orphanage.
Esther sees herself as trapped inside the body of a child, and it disgusts her. She wants to 'grow up' and be a wife, a mother, and a lover (what her father considered a 'real woman'), and tries to find 'love' where she thought she'd had it as a child, with her new father.
WOW. No wonder Esther is all kinds of messed up...
Esther a.k.a. Leena Klammer's back story was fully expanded into a tale of incest and pedophilia, but the writers didn't stop there in the first draft... more had to die:
In earlier drafts of the script, Kate and John go to the orphanage not to see girls for the first time, but to bring presents to Yolanda, a 7-year-old Puerto Rican girl whom they plan on taking home the next day. There, they meet Esther (this scene plays out almost exactly as it does in the actual movie).
Although she impresses them, especially John, she finds out that they've already adopted Yolanda. The next morning, Sister Judith finds Yolanda hung in a closet; it's assumed that she died in a kids game gone wrong, but implied that Esther killed her. John later suggests to Kate that they adopt Esther instead.
Not only was Esther going to hang an innocent 7-year-old, her murder attempt on Daniel in the hospital was originally intended to be successful... These details in the original draft would have put Orphan in the ranks of the few horror movies that had the balls to kill a kid on screen.
While we're on the topic of all the extra messed up stuff that could have happened in Orphan, here's the chilling, much darker alternate ending that I really wish that they'd kept in for the theatrical release... It begins at 2:53, though the rest of the footage is interesting deleted scenes.