Brad Pitt’s Role in ‘Se7en’ Was Turned Down by This Academy Award-Winning Superstar
Oscar winner Brad Pitt became a household name in the 90s. With several early film roles that catapulted him to stardom including Thelma & Louise and Legends of the Fall, the actor began to get his pick of roles.
Despite his growing popularity at the time, Pitt wasn’t the first choice for a part in the box office thriller Se7en in 1995.
Oscar winner ‘had fun’ on ‘Se7en’
The dark and disturbing film featured Pitt as a rookie cop teamed up with veteran Morgan Freeman to capture a serial killer, played by Kevin Spacey. According to Yahoo! Entertainment, famed director David Fincher had only one credit to his name when he took on the project. Pitt was attracted to the role due the character’s authenticity and the gritty backdrop of the film.
“I love movies from the ’70s like The French Connection and that’s what David Fincher and I talked about during our first meeting,” Pitt told The Morning Call in 1995. “I was looking for something with a documentary feel. I wanted to play a character who has flaws, who has good intentions but makes mistakes. I also wanted to kill the mythic thing – this, like, larger-than-life thing about me.”
Pitt had just come off starring in Interview with the Vampire, where he hadn’t relished the long shoot in dreary London weather. Despite the ominous subject matter of Se7en, he enjoyed his time on the set.
“Se7en is dark too, but I had more fun making it,” the actor said. “It’s a dark subject matter, but for me personally, it wasn’t depressing.”
Brad Pitt gets engaged to ‘Se7en’ co-star
Portraying the wife of Pitt’s character, Gwyneth Paltrow was not yet famous when she took on her role in Se7en. The two young actors fell hard for each other and eventually got engaged. After years of being in the spotlight and hounded by the press, Pitt and Paltrow parted ways in 1997. The actress blamed herself for the split.
“I’m so lucky that I spent time with Brad, somebody who was such a good person!” she said, as reported by ABC News. “Especially when I was, like, such a mess… My kind of internal stuff really tripped up that whole relationship. And I felt really responsible, and also like I was the architect of my own misery. … I just made a big mess out of it… I was very upset for a long, long time.”
In a later conversation with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show, Paltrow again brought up the relationship and took the rap for its failure.
“I was such a kid, I was 22 when we met. It’s taken me until 40 to get my head out of my a**,” Paltrow told Stern, according to Us Weekly. “You can’t make that decision when you’re 22 years old… I wasn’t ready, and he was too good for me. … I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Denzel Washington was offered the part before Brad Pitt
Though Pitt was excellent in the role, the character of David Mills was initially written for superstar Denzel Washington. Yahoo! Entertainment reports that the script for the film was more of a “kick a**, action cop movie” when the Training Day star was being courted for the part, but Fincher went in a bit of a different direction when Pitt signed on.
Washington revealed that after reading the original script, he couldn’t envision himself in the role. “I was like, man, it’s just too much,” he said in 2014 when promoting his film The Equalizer, according to CTV News. Yet the actor had second thoughts after viewing the finished product. “Then I saw it and I was like, ‘Oh God.”‘
Still, the Academy Award winner felt Pitt was the right actor for the part. “Evidently it wasn’t for me, it was for Brad all the time,” he said. “It was just too much when I read it, it was just different when I saw it.”