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The A-List Actor Who Almost Starred In Se7en

You'll probably find a number of stories floating around the next few days about David Fincher's Se7en, and with good reason. It was 20 years ago this week that the haunting thriller found its way into theaters. In the years since then, the movie has garnered cult status, and as a result we've gotten to hear numerous fun behind-the-scenes stories about the film. For example, did you know that there was a developing version of the feature that had Denzel Washington in mind for one of the leads?

Yahoo! has published a list of interesting bits of trivia about Se7en, and included among them is the tidbit that the star of Malcolm X, Philadelphia, and Glory was originally eyed for the part of Detective Mills in the movie - the role that would eventually go on to belong to Brad Pitt. That version of the film was much different than the one that wound up coming to theaters, though. The version that was crafted for Washington was evidently much more of a "kick ass, action cop movie."

Fans of Se7en will be quick to point out not only that Denzel Washington wasn't the only "other" choice for Mills (Sylvester Stallone was an considered an option), but that the David Fincher-directed thriller wasn't originally supposed to star anybody that's actually in the film. For example, Val Kilmer was at one point offered the role of serial killer John Doe (the part that eventually went to Kevin Spacey), but initially the director and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker wanted Ned Beatty for the part. Unfortunately, the Deliverance star's reaction to the script was, "I can’t do this. This is the most evil thing I’ve ever read."

There were also attempts to get Al Pacino to sign on as Detective Somerset (Morgan Freeman's part), and Christina Applegate was thought of for Tracy before Gwenyth Paltrow came aboard. When you think about it, there are many different timelines than our own that got a very different version of Se7en than the cut we know and love. Did I also mention that both Guillermo del Toro and David Cronenberg were at one point considering the helm?

As you can tell by now, Se7en is a project that is filled with a wide variety of in-development casting stories, but looking back on the movie 20 years later it's hard to imagine anyone else inhabiting the feature's famed central characters. The dynamic between the young Brad Pitt and the older Morgan Freeman is pitch perfect, and Kevin Spacey's entrance in the movie is iconic just because of the presence that he creates. Still, there is a part of me that wants to try and hunt down the action movie version of Se7en just to discover what could have been.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.