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It’s been almost 25 years since Seven was in theaters, but there’s a reason why the movie is still hailed as having one of the best endings of all time. The legendary twist before the credits roll is one of the things movie fans remember most about David Fincher’s blockbuster thriller. But according to the film’s star, Brad Pitt, Seven’s ending didn’t exactly go over the way he thought it might.
For those who don’t remember Seven -- or who haven’t gotten around to seeing it (what are you waiting for? Go now!) -- the ending goes a little something like this: after finally catching John Doe (Kevin Spacey), the serial killer that’s been choosing his victims because they commit the seven deadly sins, Detectives William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and John Mills (Brad Pitt) think all is well. But they learn that John Doe managed to kill one -- well, technically two last victims -- Mill’s pregnant wife, Tracy (Gwenyth Paltrow). Oh, yeah, and her head is in a box, which John Doe made sure was delivered right to the traumatized detective.
The horrific turn of events helped cement Seven as one of the best crime thrillers of all time. And during an interview with Marc Maron on his WTF Podcast, Brad Pitt admitted that he knew David Fincher had hit it out of the park. Except, according to the actor, when he sat in on test screenings of the film, he was surprised at how the audience reacted:
OK if you remember, the movie ends, they flick on the lights and I look at people. And they just kind of slowly get up from their seats and no one’s talking. Then, they just kind of disappear from the screening. I remember just looking at Fincher and going, ‘Oh my god, what the fuck did we do? What happened. What’s going? I thought this shit was great.’
I mean, it’s easy to see both sides here. On the one hand, Brad Pitt is right - the ending is great. But on the other hand, it might have helped him to remember that it wasn’t exactly the feel-good movie of the year. The audience probably left in silence because their minds were blown, or their hearts were broken, or maybe both.
And of course, David Fincher and Brad Pitt had nothing to worry about as far as whether Seven connected with audiences. It was well received by critics, and an unqualified hit at the box office, making over $100 million in the US. Seven helped establish David Fincher as one of the most exciting filmmakers of his generation, and also solidified Brad Pitt as an A-list actor. And the two clearly weren’t scared away by the initial reactions they witnessed -- they teamed up again for the equally twisty Fight Club just four years later.