This weekend, Fox‘s ambitious blend of action, comedy and romance, “This Means War,” rolls into theaters starring Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as warring CIA agents at each others’ throats vying for the attentions of Reese Witherspoon. With the picture now finished and screenings beginning to roll out across the country, we got a chance to catch up with director McG and talk about the film. What intrigued us most was the end of ‘War,’ with the helmer telling Movieline that initially he thought about doing a “Clue“-style ending. The 1985 film had three different endings shot, and shipped to theaters, with audiences never knowing what they would get. While McG abandoned that idea, without spoiling anything, we’ll say the version of “This Mean’s War” that moviegoers see in theaters wasn’t the only one under consideration.
“I wanted to make sure that when I tested the film, it felt satisfying, and that the audience was equally split rooting for Chris Pine and rooting for Tom Hardy,” McG tells The Playlist. “When it was clear that they were, it felt safe selecting the ending that I did.” And without spoiling things, he does confirm that one man walks away with the girl, acknowledging the losing side by saying, “I planned on photographing an ending where she landed in [his] arms, but fortunately we stayed the course, and I think we ended it in the best place.”
However, if you purchase the eventual BluRay/DVD, you’ll get a peek at a much more unconventional end to “This Means War.” “We had an ending where she ended up with nobody, and we wanted to call that the homoerotic finish,” McG says. “It didn’t seem as satisfying, but we shot it for fun, it will be on the DVD, where the boys end up in each others’ arms, and they leave Reese out to dry on the highway.”
McG’s confidence in selecting one of the three possible endings comes from casting the two male leads, which he credits as the “best decision I had made on the movie.” Speaking about the project’s formative days, which saw quite a handful of actors circle (Justin Timberlake, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Seth Rogen, Sam Worthington and more), he says, “I heard that Will Smith had an action-comedy property, and I love Will Smith.” Chasing Smith, who McG later wanted for his once planned “Captain Nemo” film, proved fruitless, as the actor later abandoned project, which eventually landed in David Fincher‘s lap as “20,0000 Leagues Under The Sea.” As for the female lead of the pic, McG felt inspired to show a different side to his star.
“I was interested in re-introducing the world to a sexier version of Reese Witherspoon,” he says, noting her involvement came shortly after her award wins for “Walk The Line.” “Then I needed to make sure I had two guys that were up to the strength that Reese had onscreen. And I once saw Pine in a play called ‘The Lieutenant Of Inishmore‘ by Martin McDonough, and he was great. So I said, I need one more that can be antithetical to the All-American Pine selection. And I had seen Tom Hardy in ‘Bronson‘ and ‘RocknRolla,‘ and his turn in ‘Inception‘ was fantastic. I said, I gotta meet this guy. I sat with Hardy and it became clear to me he was capable of being so mischievous, and brilliant, with such an active mind, that I thought, wow, people don’t know you for comedy, maybe I can turn the world onto this lighter, more playful version of Tom Hardy.”
“This Means War” is now playing in theaters.