The cult classic was written by Andrew Kevin Walker, who at the time had optioned the script with “Christmas Vacation” helmer Jeremiah Chechik on board to direct. But Chechik had a different movie in mind and told Walker to rewrite the ending.
[Editor’s Note: Spoilers for “Seven” follow. Proceed at your own risk.]
The movie as we know it ends with John Doe (Kevin Spacey) delivering Detective Mills’ (Pitt) wife’s head in a box. Walker’s reworked version didn’t include that scene. After Chechik moved on from the project, the original version of the script with the shocking twist accidentally landed in the hands of Fincher.
“[Fincher] expressed some interest [in directing], but in expressing his interest to them, had mentioned there was a head in the box,” Walker told The Hollywood Reporter. “And they were like, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We sent you the wrong draft.’ And then they sent him the vastly rewritten, Jeremiah Chechik draft, which had a completely different ending, and Fincher said, ‘No, I wouldn’t be interested in doing that.’”
From there, Fincher met with Walker to discuss his film, which eventually got made with the original ending intact.
“He is one of the rare people who is respectful of every piece of material that comes across his purview,” added Walker. “He’s not a person that you hand the blueprints to a house and he says, ‘OK, let’s go make this into a boat.’”
Since then, Walker has done uncredited work with the filmmaker on films such as “The Game” and “Fight Club,” among others.
“Every one of those writing experience with David, was the best experience you could possibly hope for, regardless of the fact that so many of them never got made. And I’m very lucky,” Walker concluded.