How Brad Pitt fought to keep Gwyneth's head in the box in 'Se7en'

Fincher fans, this one’s for you!

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, Moneyball star Brad Pitt reflects on his life and filmography in a rare in-depth conversation, the first in a series called The EW Interview.

During the chat, Pitt opens up about a particularly frustrating experience early in his career when his favorite scene in Legends of the Fall was cut after the studio determined that it elicited the most negative response from audiences. “Guys, this is exactly why we’re here,” Pitt remembers. “We want to evoke emotion — not favorable opinion, not agreement.”

Pitt claims that he “had no juice,” and couldn’t do anything about the change, but he made sure to not let the same thing happen on his next film, the extra-edgy David Fincher film, Se7en

With Se7en, I said, “I will do it on one condition — the head stays in the box. Put in the contract that the head stays in the box.” Actually, there was a second thing, too: “He’s got to shoot the killer in the end. He doesn’t do the ‘right’ thing, he does the thing of passion.” Those two things are in the contract. Cut to: Se7en has been put together, and they’ve tested it. They go, “You know, he would be much more heroic if he didn’t shoot John Doe — and it’s too unsettling with the head in the box. We think maybe if it was the dog’s head in the box…”

It’s pretty tough to imagine that harrowing final scene hinging on the discovery of Pitt’s dog’s head, rather than the head of his pregnant wife, but it’s also kind of amusing. Watch the scene here for yourself and pretend!

For more on Brad Pitt, including the truth behind his “rescue” of an extra on the set of World War Z, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands September 16th

Click here to buy the issue now!


Comments (126 total) Add your comment
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  • AN

    I’ll always have a special place in my celebrity crush heart for Brad, but I just don’t look at him the same way after his divorce.

    • Jay

      At least he isn’t a rapist or a dog killer like Ben Rapistberger and Michael Convickt.. Divorce? Much too common to be a big deal. Who gives a rat’s a**?

      • mar1ey

        Roethlisberger never raped anyone, he is simply stupid…much like Brad Pitt.

      • DL

        He’s given millions of dollars and probably hundreds of man hours to foreign aid, and he divorced Jennifer Aniston. Hmm, I wonder which one is more important and indicative of his character! [/sarcasm]

      • Meg

        Jealous much? Crying over someone else’s divorce is just stupid. Boggles the mind how invested people are in others’ lives. I prefer to watch his on-screen acting (not some lame real-life drams), and Seven delivers in spades.

      • He’s no Robert Redford

        Brad Pitt looks like a poor man’s Robert Redford

      • C Peter Roberts

        @He’s no Robert Redford:
        You are the first person to ever make that comparison.

      • Tom

        I wanted to see her head in a box too Brad. But that was before this movie. giggity giggity!!

      • @C Peter Roberts

        Have you been living under a rock ?

      • Matt

        Your character isn’t the sum of your actions, Dl, it’s the lowest of your actions. So your point is lacking.

      • Dream Out Loud

        Mar1ey,

        you’re crazy if you think Rapistburger hasn’t raped someone before. that BS he did in Georgia was waaaayyyyy to reheased.

    • REALLY

      Oh AN, go cry in the mirror with your Rachel cut and get over it. AJ is on his level, and I am so fn sick of everyone hating on her when JA is the “perpetual victim” in everything she is involved with, including her movie resume.

      • Sam J

        “What’s in the box?”

      • deedeedragons

        Oh thank God! A sane person!

    • Liz

      I have to agree with you, and not b/c of the divorce but b/c of the things he has said since he divorced. He has thrown his x-wife under the bus so many times, he should just shut up about it and only promote his movies not his personal life. It’s just tacky.

      • Sam J

        “C’mon, what’s in the box?”

    • Daisy Steiner

      Are you for real? As if that doesn’t happen every day to millions of people. So their marriage ended. Big deal. He’s a good actor, and we go to see his movies because he’s a good actor, not because of who he’s married to in real life.

      • Faith

        exactly…and he is REALLY happy now and fulfilled with Jolie and THEIR children

    • Faith

      Which is too bad because he is REALLY happy now and fulfilled with Jolie and THEIR children.

      • Sam J

        “NO!!!”

    • TicklePig

      Why? That’s so …. unrealistic. Life is about choices and he found himself at a crossroads and needed to make a choice. If you ask me, he’s become a much better man. He openly usses his celebrity to expose world tragidies instead of pimping himself out for 100k to show up at a party for a new club. Also, he and Jolie have used thier considerable wealth and circumstances to adopt and save childre, providing them with something they would never have gotten; health, educastion, love, etc. His mistake may have been marrying Anniston, not divorcing her.

    • Lizo

      I seriously think Jennifer Aniston goes to bed every night thanking Brad Pitt! Overnight she became America’s Sweetheart with an amazing career projectory

    • Issa

      Really? I had newfound respect for him once I heard he dropped that self-aggrandizing dimwit (and bore).

  • BrandonK

    Oh, man…I was okay with Se7en until that head-in-the-box scene. I really hate unhappy endings, and that was a doozy.

    • DTO

      Wuss! :)

      • Sam J

        I had the ENTIRE plot of Se7en spoiled for me before I saw it in the theaters and I STILL was floored by the ‘darkness’ of it. I would look at my family as they were in shock at what I already knew was unfolding on the screen. Head in the box is the only way to go.

    • Daisy Steiner

      Some of the best movies have unhappy endings. Sometimes, unhappy endings are the most realistic. If you want everything tied up in a neat package, watch a Disney movie.

      • Well, any Disney movie except Old Yeller

        That movie did end with a dog’s head in a box.

      • RyanK

        Zing!

    • jonny

      that was the point of the movie, genius.

  • Eric

    Anyone know what they cut from Legends of the Fall?

    • MarkM

      They cut the scene with Gwyneth’s severed head in a box…he used to demand that in ALL of his movies!

      • ree

        I wish that was still in his contract. I don’t have the hate for Gwyneth that a lot of people have, but, if at some point he was given a box with her head in it in Moneyball, I don’t know that I would complain.

      • obviously an idiot

        @MarkM hahahahhahahhaha

      • mar1ey

        LOL!!

      • Mark

        Stupid comment is stupid.

      • Crystal

        That was hilarious!

    • Eric

      Funny Mark, but I asked what was cut from LEGENDS OF THE FALL, not from Se7en.

  • Pamela Anderton

    Se7en would have been much better if John Doe was arrested before going after Gwyneth’s character.

    • Hunter

      How so? Not only is that stupid, but it would ruin the rest of the movie. John Doe didn’t get arrested. He turned himself in after he set the last 2 sins in motion.

      • Pamela Anderton

        There was no pay-off for the audience at the end. The whole film is dark, depressing and downbeat and it should have ended with John Doe getting arrested and Tracy telling David that she was pregnant.
        Morgan Freeman’s last line would still be the message of the film but it would have been more hopeful, powerful and triumphant because in a a crime-filled city of urban decay, Mills and Somerset could still make a difference – “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for. I agree with the second part.”

      • DTO

        They weren’t trying to make the usual formulaic police procedural. If they’d have done it your way, nobody’d still be talking about that film today. As bleak as it is–and though you don’t like it–the ending MAKES that movie.

      • d

        The pay-off for the audience is the bleak reality of the world we live in. Because any day the worst thing can happen and you can lose all hope. Morgan Freeman is agreeing with the second part because that’s the view the film takes. He has to see Brad fail. It’s the ugly truth of human flaws, and even though it’s not a happy ending- it doesn’t mean the world isn’t still worth fighting for.

    • MarkM

      It would have also been better without all of those sin related killings.

      • Rutiger

        lmao, thank you for that

      • anonymous

        That is the point of the movie you idiot .

      • Larry

        It would have been better without the sin related killings, and if Freaman’s character retired at the beginning, and was never partnered with Pitt’s character.

      • Sam J

        @MarkM

        So you’re saying you prefer ANOTHER MOVIE ENTIRELY?

        Check out Memento.

      • @Sam J

        Derp.

      • jules

        “anonymous” just doesn’t get sarcasm. *sigh*

      • BobS

        It would have also then been a different movie! What would you propose they do durng this movie if not for the seven deadly sins killings, which were genius!

      • spnfan87

        Sigh. Some people do NOT get sarcasm. Good one, MarkM.

      • RyanK

        The best thing about comment threads is that you can always find people that make you feel good about your intelligence. Thanks “anonymous”

    • erin

      To wrap it up all nice and neat and have eveyone walk off happily into the sunset would have ruined the entire movie.

    • sly

      disagree … that ending would have been a copout.

    • Me

      I couldn’t disagree more. I think Se7en is the greatest ending in the history of movies. So many stupid movies have endings that just aim to “pay off” the audience. The reason it’s so good is because it doesn’t do that. It stays true to the movie. Genius ending.

      • Slizzard

        Exactly. The movie demanded 7 killings for 7 sins. They had us waiting, tensely for John Doe’s final surprise. Yeah, you felt sick to your stomach, but you were also shocked/blown away. A predictably ending would have been a let down. Talk about a gun-wrenching pay off.

    • Big Dave

      Well, it’s a relief you’re not in the movie-making business.

    • Endang

      Right, but since the past is a moot point in this scenario, the only pdoircter of the future is runs given up (not when they happen to be given up). Like if you think of it that way, a player who scores 100 runs but only 5 game winning runs, is worse then a player who scores 50 but 10 game winning runs.

  • Merson

    My favourite Brad Pitt movie is Meet Joe Black (1998). It is an underappreciated and underrated classic. Anyone who hasn’t seen it should watch it. It should have been much more critically and commercially successful and won a truckload of Oscars.

    • Sara

      LOVE that movie.

    • crispy

      That movie is terrible.

    • Reason

      Meet Joe Black is one of the most boring films ever made. No actually it is the most boring film ever made. Watch it and tell me it doesn’t piss you off how long it take people in that film to talk to each other.

      • sly

        actually, the most boring film ever made is his other film “The Assissation of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” … watching paint dry was more entertaining! I kept waiting for him to be killed and when it did happen, I still had another 30 or so minutes to watch!

      • KLD

        I disagree with that remark Sly…….I loved The Assassination of Jesse James and thought that Brad did some of his best acting ever. I do agree however that after he was shot….it should have ended.

      • jonny

        im sorry but most boring movie ever goes to…. CONTACT! a true jodie foster stinker. i want my money back from 15 years ago or however long til this day!

      • Slizzard

        I enjoyed it and sat through it at 13. You just have to care about the business stuff.

      • Buster Cretin

        that’s one of the reasons why I liked it. They could have changed the pacing of the movie simply in the editing without losing any story, but they chose to create something different. And I loved it.

      • Nadine

        I was expecting “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” to be boring, but it was AMAZING. The pacing adds to the reality of the times. I was on the edge of my seat.

  • Pittner

    Fincher is great. Se7en is great. The ending is great.

  • hilda mootz

    Seven was such an intense movie. Kevin Spacey was pure evil in it. Brad Pitt was right with his conditions.

    • Lele

      It’s getting close to the point where we might seoulisry be thinking of Galvis as Rollins’ successor which has a broad set of potential ramifications, including the possibility of renting another player for a couple of years while Galvis finishes his preparations. I was not ready for Galvis to take this type of step forward.And, yes, I think Santana has taken a big step forward. It’s not easy to be 18 and hit in A ball with an okay average and power. He’s still got quite an upside.

  • VozikJenn

    the way it was presented is the best, imho. why watch a Fincher movie if you’re looking for a shiny, happy experience?

  • Sara

    I think having her head in the box is what made it so creepy. I still can’t watch that movie because of the ending. I don’t think it would have made sense any other way.

  • Al

    Brad Pitt is a mediocre actor and a terrible human being. Now that his looks are going, his career will soon be on life support.

    • punch drunk fool

      hahahhaa ur so right! ur also retarded!

      • Jiminy

        Yep, wouldn’t be an EW comment thread without some wag throwing out the world “retarded.” Stay classy, pdf.

    • KLD

      Al…jealous bro? LOL………I do believe that some of the men posting on here have a man crush on Brad. ;0)

    • Slizzard

      He’s actually a pretty good actor, IMO.

    • @Al

      If only you could age as fantastic as Brad, now that your looks are going as well .

  • sawyersmother

    Totally agree about Meet Joe Black — great movie!! Oh, and by the way, I still adore Brad Pitt.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Se7en wouldn’t be half as good without that ending, good call Brad.

  • bijoux82

    Yeah, one of the most important parts about that ending is that Pitt’s character kills John Doe. I’m sure he would have been disgusted and hurt if the box contained his dog’s head, but I don’t think that discovery would lead him to shoot John Doe.

  • hannah

    Maybe Brad is blocking it, but I am bummed that I don’t see “Inglorious Bastards” listed with the other movies. It is my favorite movie of his.

  • Rachel

    ““Guys, this is exactly why we’re here,” Pitt remembers. “We want to evoke emotion — not favorable opinion, not agreement.””

    Actually, you’re here to make money by creating movies people will pay to see. And that’s why producers try to cut scenes that will offend and alienate the audience.

    • punch drunk fool

      I don’t think that’s the only reason people make movies but you could be right? who knows? maybe everyone in the film industry only want money.

    • Jay

      “Se7en” made a ton of money, and is still discussed to this day. I would say the ending was the right choice.

    • Vicky

      When we do our job, is it all about money? Or do we want our opinion to be counted as well?
      Ok, when we’re poor, maybe we just want to make money, but once we consider we have enough, then I think (at least for me), I’d want to make sure that my opinion is counted – or at least be heard.

    • Daisy Steiner

      Yeah, heaven forbid moviemakers should make anyone think or make a movie that reflects the world around us sometimes. What jerks!

    • Squishmar

      Rachel, producers aren’t artists, they are business people, so yes… they will try to dilute and repackage everything to make what they think will appeal to the widest audience. Luckily, actors and directors–the artists–get power to make something more sometimes and– shock of shocks– those occasionally happen to appeal to a large audience as well. “Forrest Gump” is the perfect example of this. A film rich with meaning and symbolism that one can totally and completely enjoy on its surface; you need not dig deeper… but some of it seeps in anyway. It’s kind of like putting cheese around a vitamin for an animal or “a spoonful of sugar” for the medicine to go down.

      • Michelle

        As penance for my early skeiitcpsm, I think I’ll post a comment raving about Galvis every time he has a good night.Seriously, though, seeing this kind of broad based improvement in the metrics that matter most combined with reports regarding his added muscle is just very, very encouraging. This kind of improvement is (1) likely to be sustained, and (2) evidence of a work ethic/physical ability that augurs well for further future improvement.

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