The ending of David Fincher's Se7en has become one of the most beloved movie twists of all time. The reveal of Kevin Spacey as killer John Doe comes from out of nowhere, and the "what's the in box?" scene remains one of the most terrifying movie endings in recent memory. However, it turns out that Spacey wasn't the original choice. During the production of the film, the role of the insane serial killer almost went to R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe. Stipe explained:
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. 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.
Michael Stipe recently made an appearance on Alec Baldwin's Here's The Thing podcast and admitted that he was actually offered the role of John Doe in David Fincher's Se7en back in 1995. The project required very little work of the musician; all he had to do was run down a hallway and just generally look creepy. However, Stipe was on tour at the time of the film's production, so he couldn't work the scenes into his schedule.
Casting Michael Stipe as John Doe would've definitely changed the way we view Se7en as a whole. The fact that his incarnation of John Doe had no dialogue means that Fincher gave Spacey much more to do once he came on-board the project. That being said, it would probably be almost impossible for any performer to compete with Spacey in the "box scene." After all, his chilling performance has become utterly legendary.
In the end, it might be for the best that Michael Stipe didn't take the part of John Doe. Based upon his statement, he doesn't seem particularly fond of the way in which the movie actually ends. David Fincher notably played around with a number of different endings for Se7en before ultimately opting to have Detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) murder John Doe while Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tries to talk him out of it. While many audiences have come to love this ending, it seems that Stipe isn't a huge fan.
What are your thoughts on this potential casting situation? Do you think Michael Stipe would've improved Se7en's ending, or was Kevin Spacey the right choice for the film? Let us know what you think in the comments section below to keep this conversation going!