Well, they weren’t meant to wrap up the way they did!
A list of some biggies whose original endings were scrapped
Did Thelma & Louise always drive off that cliff? Did an elderly Kate Winslet always throw that necklace into the ocean at the end of Titanic? Hollywood is filled with rejected movie endings, ones deemed too weird, too miserable, or just too darn confusing. Here are some that got swiftly left on the cutting room floor...
FATAL ATTRACTION (1987)
Along with the bunny boiling, Fatal Attraction is also famous for its bullet-ridden finale, in which Anne Archer’s mistreated wife steps up to salvage her broken family by pumping her husband’s mistress with bullets following a stalk-and-slash bathroom fight.
While it’s an iconic ending, it clashes slightly with the rest of the film, which paints Glenn Closes’s spurned lover as a tragic figure used and abused by Michael Douglas’s misogynist Wall Street creep. The ending, in hindsight, seems to take Douglas’s side, painting Close as the villainous femme fatale who almost destroyed a picture-perfect marriage rather than Douglas’s choices.
But it wasn’t always this way. The film’s ending originally saw Close’s character slit her own throat with Douglas’s knife, framing him for her ‘murder’. Douglas is arrested and faces prison, until Archer discovers an audio recording in which Close reveals her plans to kill herself, vindicating Douglas in the process.
It’s a sad, ambiguous closure, but one that test audiences disliked, setting up a reshoot which depicted Close getting her apparently deserved comeuppance.
Director Adrian Lyne and star Glenn Close have always disliked the reshot ending.
“It was a brilliant scene,” Close told Entertainment Weekly. “But I’m not punished. Even though I killed myself, people wanted me to be punished even more, which is being killed by somebody”.
“I felt from all my research, I just didn’t think she was a psychopath. I thought she was a deeply disturbed woman, but she’s not a psychopath. So once you put a knife in somebody’s hand, I thought it was a betrayal of the character.”
I thought she was a deeply disturbed woman, but she’s not a psychopath. So once you put a knife in somebody’s hand, I thought it was a betrayal of the character
— GLENN CLOSE
THELMA & LOUISE (1991)
No, there isn’t an alternate ending for Thelma & Louise in which the pair speed their vehicle over the cliff edge, bounce off a rock and high-tail it to Mexico. But there was originally a slightly extended closer that built on the film’s breathtakingly powerful final shot.
Instead of fading to white as Thelma and Louise’s car flies through the air, the film originally let the scene roll, with the car torpedoing into the vast rocky abyss below, Harvey Keitel surveying the wreckage with a disheartened look on his face, followed by a shot of the vehicle, in its better days, speeding off into the distance. All accompanied by a slightly comedic BB King song on the soundtrack rather than Hans Zimmer’s emotionally-draining gospel-tinged score.
Ridley Scott decided to cut back the scene before the film hit cinemas, however, realising his iconic protagonists shouldn’t be seen plummeting to their deaths.
“You know they’re gonna die,” Scott told Entertainment Weekly in 1997. “But I wanted to go out on the high of the car in control.”
“You know they’re gonna die. But I wanted to go out on the high of the car in control
— Director RIDLEY SCOTT
BLADE RUNNER (1982)
There are countless different versions of Blade Runner, from ones that correspond with Ridley Scott’s original, more ambiguous vision for his film, and others that are far more blunt with the explanations.
Those who saw Blade Runner in cinemas back in 1982, however, were privy to an awkward happy ending for Harrison Ford’s Deckard and his replicant love interest Rachael (Sean Young), a scene forced upon Scott by a studio concerned the film was too complicated.
Against aerial footage shot by Stanley Kubrick for The Shining and left on the cutting room floor, Deckard and Rachael drive off into the sunset together, accompanied by a voiceover in which Deckard explains that he doesn’t know what the future will hold for the pair, but that that’s okay.
But Ford’s narration is so non-committal and wooden that he had to clarify to Playboy in 1999 that he didn’t deliberately “sandbag” his line readings in the hopes Deckard’s voiceover wouldn’t be used.
The voiceover explainer was later removed from Ridley Scott’s many director’s cuts of the film, along with this last scene entirely.
TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1992)
T2 ends on an ambiguous note, with Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor left none the wiser as to whether 1997 will indeed see the world consumed in a nuclear holocaust.
But the film originally ended with concrete confirmation that 1997 came and went without incident. Presumably cut to ensure more sequels could happen, the scene shows Linda Hamilton in elderly make-up and sitting on a park bench in the year 2029, where she recites into an audio recorder that Michael Jackson turned 40 in 1997, she got drunk, people had sex, and that everyone survived.
She also plays with her granddaughter, and makes no comment as to how John Connor apparently grew up to look like the most gooberish goober imaginable.
MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING (1997)
Part of what makes My Best Friend’s Wedding such an interesting romantic comedy is that Julia Roberts’s protagonist is a complete monster. Desperate to destroy the upcoming nuptials of her best friend, who she’s decided she is in fact in love with, she’s a surprisingly complex anti-hero for a genre that so often steers clear of shading.
The problem? Test audiences hated her, and hated that, once she backs off trying to split up Dermot Mulroney and his fiancee Cameron Diaz, she conveniently meets a handsome love interest (played by Sex and the City’s John Corbett) at their wedding.
So to work around their problem heroine? Beef up the role of her gay confidante Rupert Everett, whose scene-stealing presence couldn’t help but make Roberts’s lead more appealing by proxy.
“Every time [Julia] talked to him, she’d explain why she was doing these terrible things; he’s her conscience throughout,” director PJ Hogan told Entertainment Weekly.
So eight months after production wrapped, Roberts, Everett and Hogan reunited to shoot a new ending in which Everett surprises Roberts at the wedding, creating a final scene that is sweet and melancholy and surprisingly realistic.
“That one scene somehow gave the audience permission to forgive her,” Hogan continued. “Those last five minutes really made the whole movie work.”
Those last five minutes really made the whole movie work — Director P.J. Hogan
DEEP BLUE SEA (1999)
At the end of the Samuel L. Jackson-gets-unexpectedly-eaten-by-shark thriller, Saffron Burrows’s wetsuit-clad scientist sacrifices her life to distract a killer shark that is about to escape into the ocean, ensuing hero Thomas Jane can shoot a harpoon at the toothy villain and save the day.
But Burrows was originally the film’s central heroine, with an original ending that saw her shoot the harpoon at the film’s last surviving shark.
Turns out, however, that test audiences absolutely despised the character, primarily as they blamed her for the fact that the film’s sharks were going on a murderous rampage in the first place, Burrows spearheading a scientific plot to enlarge shark brains in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease (it’s a long story).
So, a month before the film was due for release, director Renny Harlin called an emergency reshoot which saw Burrows get killed off, CGI deployed to digitally remove her from the film’s final shots, and her co-stars repositioned as the film’s sole survivors.
“In their minds, she was the bad guy and in our minds, she was the heroine and we thought saving her was the key,” Harlin told Crave Online. “Basically, we had test cards that said, ‘Kill the b****.’ It was an amazing revelation.”“I remember us all sitting down and going, ‘Holy shit, we are in trouble. How do we fix this? It was my idea, I said, ‘Okay, we don’t have time for a big reshoot but I have an idea. When she falls in the water, what if she doesn’t survive? She gets eaten by the sharks and LL Cool J is the hero. Everybody likes him.”
Basically, we had test cards that said, ‘Kill the b****.’ It was an amazing revelation.
— Director Renny Harlin
Believe it or not, the original ending of Titanic isn’t actually a joke.
As everyone in the world knows, thanks to both the film and also Britney Spears’s wonderful bit of acting in her classic single Oops! I Did It Again, Titanic ends with an old version of Kate Winslet throwing a priceless necklace into the ocean, letting it sleep with the fishes while she remembers her late, frozen love Leonardo DiCaprio.
But in the original ending, Bill Paxton and his group of treasure hunters discover old Rose just as she’s about to toss the necklace away. They attempt to reason with her, until she explicitly describes the themes of the movie in order to convince them it’s actually memories and love that are priceless, not fancy trinkets.
She tosses the necklace to a chorus of gasps, a burly treasure hunter yelps: “That really sucks, lady!” and Paxton starts to laugh hysterically at the unexpected turn of events before asking Rose to dance. The pair dance and the camera pans up and into the end credits. It’s completely baffling.
SWEET HOME ALABAMA (2002)
A prime candidate for Hollywood’s “What on earth were they thinking?” pile, Sweet Home Alabama sees high-flying New York fashion designer Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon) gradually embracing the identity she once was so eager to escape -— returning to her Alabama roots and her less-glitzy birth name, Melanie Smooter.
So, in the original, rejected ending, right after Melanie has her big, final romcom kiss with love interest Jake (Josh Lucas), we’re led to believe Melanie has been electrocuted in a lightning strike. The scene then cuts to a wedding reception where Jake walks in with what appears to be Melanie’s dead body. He announces to a shocked crowd, including her own parents, that Melanie Carmichael is dead.
But don’t worry, it’s only a hilarious joke! Turns out it’s only Melanie Carmichael who is dead and gone, because Melanie Smooter, her true, authentic identity, is back once and for all! Melanie abruptly stops playing dead, the pair kiss, and the crowd goes wild, seemingly unbothered that they were just part of a practical joke that played on the idea that their loved one had been horribly killed. Thankfully, this whole thing was removed from the theatrical cut.
For the entirely pointless Carrie remake in 2013, director Kimberly Peirce attempted to do something a bit different with the ending, smartly recognising a direct redo of the terrifying cliffhanger twist that rounded off the Sissy Spacek original might be unwise.
But the alternative, ultimately rejected ending was a bit too nuts to be believed. Rather than Carrie’s zombified hand popping out of her own gravestone to scare Sue Snell, the remake’s original ending had Carrie’s hand popping out of Sue’s vagina just as she was giving birth.
Wisely, producers thought it was a bit much. Instead they remade the original film’s ending, only instead of Carrie’s hand popping out of the ground to scare Sue, her gravestone just cracks a little. Which is fittingly just as underwhelming as the film itself.
(The Daily Telegraph)