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SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Ready Or Not. If you have not yet seen the film, please proceed at your own risk!
As the utterly fantastic Ready Or Not gets closer and closer to its conclusion, the audience is still very much kept in the dark about the reality of the situation that motivates the plot of the movie. Is the deal that the Le Domas family made with Mr. Le Bail real, or has the clan been overly superstitious and killing people for generations without reason? By the end, of course, it’s very definitive when everybody starts exploding – which makes for one of the best finales of the year – but it may surprise you to learn that the film went through a whole lot of evolution before landing where it did.
This morning we had the absolute pleasure of exclusively revealing the home video dates for Ready Or Not – on digital starting November 26th, and on Blu-ray and DVD on December 3rd – and tied to that announcement I recently had the wonderful pleasure of hopping on the phone with the movie’s directors, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and it was while deep diving into spoiler territory that I learned about how the end of the film came together.
In totality, Ready Or Not, written by Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy, actually changed a lot from its first draft to what we see in the final cut, and that very much includes the ending. Keeping in mind the ambiguity that exists throughout the movie, I asked them specially how it evolved over the stages of production, and it turns out that it was really a challenge to nail down the best way to conclude things. First discussing what was originally going to happen, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin explained,
Obviously that only proved to be the starting place for the workshopping, given what we wind up seeing in the finished version of Ready Or Not. All were in agreement that what existed didn’t quite work, and so the directors got to work with the writers figuring out the best way to wrap things up.
According to Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, the filmmakers went through a lot of different ways to try and make it work, but they didn’t quite click. Eventually they found it though:
While drawing things out too much had been an issue for reworked drafts of Ready Or Not, what the filmmakers ultimately discovered is that it was best to keep things simple: have the Mr. Le Bail deal be real, and have the Le Domas family pay the consequences for years and years of murder in trade for wealth and success. When the directors got this version of the script, they immediately recognized it as the winning idea that it was, and it became basically what we see in the finished cut. Said Bettinelli-Olpin,
The end of Ready Or Not is super cathartic, particularly because it lets serious tension give way to fun insanity… but there is an extra detail within this story that provides a nice extra twist. One of the best aspects of the scene is the way Samara Weaving’s Grace hysterically laughs while everyone is exploding, but that wasn’t actually a part of the aforementioned half page that Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy wrote. Rather, it was not only an on-set addition to the movie, but it was actually Weaving’s idea for Grace to have that reaction.
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin explained that initially Grace had a more dramatic interpretation of events, but after a couple of takes Samara Weaving offered up her suggestion:
Matching the more serious versions of the scene, they shot a couple of takes of Samara Weaving uproariously laughing at the horrible demise of Le Domas family, and it was clear very quickly in the edit bay that it needed to be a part of the Ready Or Not experience, Said Matt Bettinelli-Olpin,
It’s a big part of the filmmaking process to adapt and change things as new ideas are presented, and this is really an excellent example. Ready Or Not’s ending is absolutely one of the best big screen moments of 2019 , and from my conversation with the directors, it’s clear that it was a big team effort.
With the movie now getting prepped for its big home video release, you’ll soon be able to relive the amazing time that is Ready Or Not – and also get to enjoy a slew of special features including a three-part behind-the-scenes featurette called Let the Games Begin: The Making of Ready Or Not, a gag reel, and a commentary track recorded by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, Chad Villella and Samara Weaving. You can digitally pre-order it now by clicking here, but also be sure to keep checking here on CinemaBlend for more from my interview with the directors!