Before filmmaker David Fincher turned it into an iconic masterpiece, the serial killer thriller “Se7en” could’ve been quite different. Directors like David Cronenberg and Guillermo del Toro were attached at one point, and numerous actors were up for the roles of Detectives Mills and Somerset.
One such casting possibility was R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe playing the serial killer John Doe. Stipe, Val Kilmer and even R. Lee Ermey were reportedly all up for the part which eventually went to Kevin Spacey. Speaking on Alec Baldwin’s podcast this week (via The Playlist), Stipe discussed why he turned down the role and his take on the final film:
“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.”
The killer was obviously retooled in the wake of Spacey’s hiring as the character not only speaks but has some notably memorable dialogue. “Se7en” opened in cinemas back in 1995.