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Se7en (1995) Poster

(1995)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (3) | Spoilers (16)
As preparation for his traumatic scene in the interrogation room, Leland Orser would breathe in and out very rapidly so that his body would be overly saturated with oxygen, giving him the ability to hyperventilate. He also did not sleep for a few days to achieve his character's disoriented look.
Denzel Washington turned down the part that went to Brad Pitt, telling Entertainment Weekly that the film was too "dark and evil." Washington later regretted his decision upon seeing a screening.
All of John Doe's books were real books, written for the film. They took two months to complete and cost $15,000. According to Somerset, two months is also the time it would take the police to read all the books.
While filming the scene where Mills chases John Doe in the rain, Brad Pitt fell and his arm went through a car windscreen, requiring surgery. This accident was worked into the script of the film. Ironically, the original script did call for Pitt's Det. Mills character to be injured during this sequence--but to something other than his hand.
All the building numbers in the opening scene start with 7. The climactic delivery was scheduled for 7pm.
New Line executives originally balked at the film's ending, but Brad Pitt refused to make the film if the ending were changed.
This was voted the eighth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Gwyneth Paltrow was David Fincher's first choice for the part of Brad Pitt's wife, having impressed him with her work in Flesh and Bone (1993). Paltrow was initially not interested, so Fincher had to ask her then boyfriend - Brad Pitt - to get her to come in and meet with him.
There's a line in which Mills names motives that killers give; one of them is 'Jodie Foster told me to do it.' He is referring to John Hinckley Jr., a man that was obsessed with Jodie Foster and attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan to impress her. The other that Mills says is "My dog told me to do it.", a reference to David Berkowitz, AKA, the "Son of Sam", a serial killer who terrorized the New York City area in the summers of 1976 and 1977 and claimed that his neighbor's dog was possessed and told him to commit murder.
Andrew Kevin Walker had enormous difficulty getting a studio to buy the rights to his script because he was a complete unknown in Hollywood. Allegedly, he put together a list of agents that represented writers that work in the crime and thriller genres, and just called each one up until he got a positive response.
Originally, Morgan Freeman drew his pistol with his finger on the trigger. Police officers that were on the set as technical advisors quickly corrected him, as that is not correct police procedure.
When looking for the part of Victor, David Fincher stated that he wanted to find someone who was incredibly skinny, around 90 lbs. Michael Reid MacKay auditioned, and at the time weighed 96 lbs. Fincher gave him the part and jokingly told him to lose some more weight. Much to his surprise, MacKay turned up to filming having lost another 6 lbs.
The "Platinum Series" DVD of Se7en by New Line is mastered from a new HDTV transfer which was made directly from the camera negative. This required that the whole film had to be re-graded digitally, applying color and contrast correction to every shot under the director's supervision. The resulting HDTV master is now the official master of the film. The digital corrections are quite extensive in some shots as the DVD supplements demonstrate in detail.
During pre-production, Al Pacino was considered for the Somerset role, but he decided to do City Hall (1996).
The word "fuck" and its derivatives are said a discernible 74 times throughout the movie, mostly by Brad Pitt.
David Cronenberg was offered a chance to direct this but he turned it down.
Brad Pitt earned $7 million for this film.
This was regarded as the first "A" production for New Line Cinema, proving that they could attract "A-list" directors and cast.
The original script had a strange, dwarf-like woman as part of the forensics team, appearing in every one of the "cleanups" after a murder and hurling foul language and epithets at Somerset and Mills.
The film was the subject of a lawsuit brought by a photographer whose work was used in the background of John Doe's apartment. The case was decided in the filmmakers' favor. Sandoval v. New Line Cinema Corp., 973 F.Supp. 409, 412-414 (S.D.N.Y 1997).
Surprisingly, this enjoyed some degree of success in post-revolutionary Iran where it did well at the box office (this was prior to the hardline Iranian regime taking control and effectively outlawing anything pro-Western). Its success in Iran can partly be attributed to the fact that the film's cinematographer, Darius Khondji, hails from that country.
The box full of photographs at the "Sloth" scene has written on the side "To the World, from Me."
The autopsy of the first killing, as originally scripted, was incorrect according to the research of makeup man Rob Bottin (who viewed a real human autopsy as part of his prep work). The scene was truncated from the original script and shows only the sewn-up corpse of Gluttony, not the actual autopsy.
When Somerset is in his apartment, he can be heard listening to a radio broadcast of John F. McClellan. McLellan was a Boston disc jockey (among other things) who did live Tuesday night broadcasts from the Boston club Storyville, on WHDH radio in the early 1950s. In the clip in the movie, you can hear McLellan's voice announcing some of the members of the band at Storyville that night, including Charlie Parker with Herb Pomeroy on trumpet.
Kevin Costner and Nicolas Cage were considered for the role of David Mills.
Mills and William Somerset discuss the book "Of Human Bondage", which was written by W. Somerset Maugham.
The police badge used in the film does not identify the setting, it only says 'Metropolitan'.
The screenplay had references to a partner Mills had when he still lived in the country, named Parsons. Parsons was shot and killed while on a bust with Mills, and consequently Mills is overprotective of Somerset in some scenes. All references to Parsons were deleted before shooting began.
Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker wrote the script over a two year period while working at a branch of Tower Records.
An edited-out sequence near the beginning had Somerset looking over the country home he's planning on moving into. He uses his switchblade to cut loose a rose on a fragment of silk wallpaper and carries it with him throughout the movie. The rose falls out of his jacket as he is taking off his gun before eating with the Mills family. (This touch was edited out, too. Both sequences are in the supplementary section of the Criterion laserdisc.) The rose is briefly visible in the opening scene, sitting atop a handkerchief on Somerset's dresser.
Robert Duvall was offered a role but turned it down.
According to earlier versions of the script, the unspoken name of the police captain is Captain Lucas.
A rejected version of the credits had the same scratchy handwriting and Coil-remixed "Closer", but used static images instead of the jumpy, blurred footage used currently. (This credit sequence is in the Criterion laserdisc supplement section.)

Cameo 

Andrew Kevin Walker:  The writer of the film appears as the first corpse.
Alfonso FreemanMorgan Freeman's son as a fingerprint technician.
Charles S. Dutton:  the cop who keeps the press out of the Greed crime scene.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The producers intended that Kevin Spacey should receive top billing at the start of the movie but he insisted that his name not appear in the opening credits, so as to surprise the audience with the identity of the killer. To compensate, he is listed twice in the closing credits: once before the credits start rolling, and once in the rolling credits in order of appearance. Another advantage from Spacey's point of view, as he saw it, was that he was excluded from the film's marketing during its release, meaning he didn't have to make any public appearances or do any interviews.
At exactly 7 minutes into the film, Mills gets a call that starts the seven murders. With exactly 7 minutes left of the film, Somerset says to a distraught Mills: "he will win," regarding John Doe.
The ending in the movie is the ending in the original draft of the screenplay. Producer Arnold Kopelson had it rewritten and the ending became a race to save Tracy's life. When David Fincher, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman read the new ending, they all demanded the that original ending be put back in or they wouldn't do the movie. (From the Platinum Series DVD).
Kevin Spacey was cast two days before filming began.
The victim tied to the bed for a year was not an animatronic model, but a very skinny actor made up to look even more corpse-like. Rob Bottin used a set of exaggerated teeth to make the head look smaller and more shrunken from malnutrition.
Before Kevin Spacey was set to shoot his first scene, he asked director David Fincher if he should shave his head for the role. David Fincher replied "If you do it, I'll do it." Both Fincher and Spacey were bald for the remainder of the movie production.
The ending narration of Somerset quoting Ernest Hemingway was an added compromise that neither David Fincher or Morgan Freeman particularly cared for. The decision came from New Line after poor test screenings regarding the dark ending.
Kevin Spacey as the antagonist, John Doe, made his first appearance in the film, as the photographer taking pictures of Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman at the sloth crime scene. If you pause the film, when Pitt's character is slapping the camera out of the photographer's hand (at around 54 mins), you can clearly see that, it is Kevin Spacey.
It is raining every day in the movie except for the last day. The reason is less about thematic issues and more about continuity. It rained on the first day that Brad Pitt filmed so they kept it going as they were rushing to do all of Pitt's scenes before he left to go make Twelve Monkeys (1995).
R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe was once considered for the Kevin Spacey role of John Doe.
Even though he's probably one of the most horrifying and sadistic killers in cinematic history, John Doe isn't seen killing anyone on screen.
To appease the producers, who wanted to soften the dramatic ending a bit, an alternate version of the ending was storyboarded, with Somerset saying that he "wants out", and killing John Doe, thereby preventing Doe from winning, and Mills from ending up in jail. In the mean time, the crew shot a test ending, which is basically the theatrical ending without some of the dramatic shots. This finale was so well received in screenings that it convinced the producers to go along with it, and not even film the alternate ending.
The prison jumpsuit John Doe wears at the end of the film has the words "Bardach County Jail" written on it. Elinor Bardach was the costume supervisor for this movie.
One version of the script contained a few scenes following the final confrontation between the detectives and John Doe. In one, Somerset is recovering in the hospital after being shot by Mills, and the captain delivers a letter to him from Mills which reads, "You were right. You were right about everything."
R. Lee Ermey originally auditioned for the part of John Doe. After the part was given to Kevin Spacey, Ermey was offered, and took, the part of the police captain.
One of the re-written endings of the film involved Somerset discovering that John Doe was raised by an abusive priest in a church orphanage. Doe kidnaps Mills and lures Somerset to a decrepit church decorated with artwork depicting the Seven Deadly Sins, intent on making Somerset murder him out of vengeance. Instead, Doe and Somerset engage in a shootout, and Somerset lawfully kills Doe to protect Mills' life.

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