Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie was one of several credited writers on the screenplay for the recent Tom Cruise-led sci-fi epic “Edge of Tomorrow”. Speaking with Film School Rejects, McQuarrie discussed some of the changes that happened to the material – specifically how the film was originally a much darker affair than the end result.
Apparently, Cruise was the one to stress the importance of the story’s inherent dark humor – something even McQuarrie initially didn’t see. Once that began to be incorporated, the film’s controversial and more ‘upbeat’ current ending came into effect:
“I was always arguing it has to end on the helicopter. You have to be thrown back to wondering, ‘Did the movie even happen? Did any of this really happen?’ To that end, there were a million things you had to do with the writing and visually, to serve that ending. That presented a lot of challenges and debate for us. We really struggled to deliver what the movie needed to be emotionally.
I know the ending was somewhat controversial, with some people who didn’t like it. I think the only way to make those people happy would to end the movie in a way that wasn’t happy. We weren’t interested in doing that. It needed to end in a way that wasn’t harsh.”
McQuarrie also revealed that an early version of the script had an even more out there third act, but it was too exposition heavy and exhausting to use:
“When Tom loses the power, and they go to Paris, and Tom is preparing the team as they go into Paris where he’s telling them the rules of the movie, he tells the team everything the audience knows. Basically, he told them: ‘Kill as many Mimics as you want, but do not kill an Alpha. If you kill an alpha we’ll be right back here having this conversation, and we won’t even know it. The enemy will know we’re coming and they’ll kill us all.’
When they get to Paris there’s the classic horror movie scene where one of them gets separated from the group, and he gets attacked by an Alpha and kills it. As he kills it, you see the Omega reset the day and you see the point-of-view of the villain. We cut to the plane and hear the same speech all over again. This time when he gets to the line, ‘You can bet they’ll have a plan to kill us all,’ the ship gets hit. As the audience, you realize the enemy knows they’re coming. The problem was you were so exhausted by the time you got to that point.”
For the full interview with more details about the alternate version, click here.