Director: David Fincher
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey
Plot: Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi.
Initial script revisions replaced the now infamous head-in-the-box ending with what Fincher feared most: a happy ending that had Detective Mills (Brad Pitt) running home to save his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) from John Doe (Kevin Spacey). It was the studio approved ending, and Fincher insisted on dropping it.
Kevin Spacey's name was deliberately removed from the opening credits so that audiences would be surprised by the killer's identity.
All of the building numbers in the opening scene start with 7.
Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker was inspired by the brutal conditions of New York City, where he lived. He says in the commentary that he could walk down the street and observe one of the Seven Deadly Sins without even trying.
The room constructed for the “gluttony” scene was wrapped in plastic so that the cockroaches let loose inside of it couldn’t escape into the studio. A cockroach wrangler was also on set to keep the bugs in line.
n the middle of the film’s big chase scene Pitt seriously injured his hand after he went backwards through a car’s back window and then grabbed onto shattered glass as he pushed himself up. He sliced through a tendon, nerve and three fingers. The cast he wore after the injury had to be written into the script.
Actor Leland Orser, who plays the man forced to kill the prostitute representing “Lust,” stayed up all night to get into a deranged mindset. But on the expected day of shooting, he learned that he wouldn’t film until the next day. So he stayed up another night. On the actual day of shooting, he spent the time between takes sitting in the corner of the interrogation room breathing rapidly so that he could hyperventilate during the scene.
At exactly seven minutes into the film, Detective Mills gets a phone call about the first of the seven murders. With exactly seven minutes left of the movie, Detective Somerset tells Mills, “he will win,” in regard to John Doe.
"Seven" is also one of the few films where the end credits crawl down instead of up.
At one point, a compromise was considered in which Pitt’s character did not get to shoot Spacey. Instead, Freeman would have killed Spacey in order to spare the young cop’s life.
Seven is known for its non-stop downpours. It is raining in nearly every scene. This wasn’t originally planned nor was it purely a stylistic choice. The filmmakers were rushing to film all of Brad Pitt’s scenes because he would be leaving soon to make Twelve Monkeys. There was heavy rain on his first day of filming, so rain was added to later scenes to maintain continuity.