It’s been 20 years since David Fincher’s classic thriller came out, but the film is just as good as it was then. In celebration of the film’s anniversary, we take a look at some things you may not have ever known about it.
1. At exactly 7 minutes into the film, Brad Pitt’s character, Mills, receives the call that sets the seven murders into motion. With exactly 7 minutes remaining in the film, Morgan Freeman’s character, Somerset, says “he will win,” referring to Kevin Spacey’s John Doe.
2. Brad Pitt’s character (and the audience) first actually meet Kevin Spacey’s character at the sloth crime scene.
If you pause it just right, you can see that Spacey is the photographer whose camera is slapped out of his hands by Pitt.
3. Kevin Spacey was only cast two days before filming.
4. Brad Pitt needed surgery on his arm after he slipped while filming his chase scene with Spacey. His arm went through the window of a car, and the producers had to work the injury into the script. The film had actually originally intended for Pitt’s character to get injured during this scene coincidentally.
5. Denzel Washington was originally offered for the part of Mills, but turned it down because it was too “dark and evil.”
He’s since stated that he regrets his decision.
6. Spacey was originally going to receive top billing for his role in the film, but he convinced the producers to keep his name from promotion and the opening credits in order to surprise the audience with the killer’s identity.
This had the added bonus of relieving him from public appearances and interviews to promote the movie. What a sly guy!
7. Despite being one of the most horrific killers in cinematic history, John Doe is never shown actually killing anyone onscreen.
8. Producer Arnold Kopelson had the original ending changed to show a race to Tracy’s life, but director David Fincher, Pitt, and Freeman all refused to do the movie unless the original ending remained.
9. When casting Victor, Fincher said he was looking for someone incredibly thin, about 90 lbs; he gave the part to 96-lb Michael Reid MacKay and jokingly told him to lose some more weight. To his surprise, he did!
MacKay showed up ready to film 6 lbs lighter, and make-up artists used exaggerated teeth and an assortment of other goodies to make him look even more corpse-like.
10. Gwyneth Paltrow was David Fincher’s first choice all along for the part of Tracy, but she was so disinterested that Fincher recruited her boyfriend to persuade her.
Her boyfriend was Brad Pitt at the time. And how could you refuse those puppy dog eyes? You can’t.