Keanu Reeves Movie ‘Speed’ Originally Ended at Dodger Stadium — Why the Team Said No
Speed confirmed Keanu Reeves as an action movie hero three years after his genre debut in Point Break. The vehicular action captivated audiences in the summer of 1994 and ever since. One of the big thrills of Speed was that it wasn’t limited to the bus. There’s a whole third act on the subway, plus the prologue on the elevator, so there are three vehicles in danger. But, the original ending would’ve taken the bus to Dodger Stadium, if the team owners had allowed it.
Speed screenwriter Graham Yost was a guest on the Script Apart podcast on Aug. 17, 2021 to discuss his original script. Yost said before the subway climax was even contemplated, the film originally ended with the bus at Dodger Stadium.
In both versions of the movie ‘Speed,’ Keanu Reeves would have driven the bus in a circle
After spending all morning trying to keep the bus above 50 miles per hour, Jack Traven (Reeves) has the idea to drive the bus to the airport where they can speed along the open runways. If he’d thought of it earlier, it could’ve saved a lot of vehicular damage and maybe even a few lives, but then we wouldn’t have had the awesome crashes and freeway jump. But, Yost’s original idea wasn’t even the airport.
“The original ending was just them getting off the bus and it just was a shorter script,” Yost said on Script Apart. “I don’t know how well you know L.A., but I just looked at a map where could they drive around in a circle and I saw Dodger Stadium has this big road all the way around the stadium through all the parking lots. I thought that’s perfect.”
Dodger Stadium disapproved of the subject matter of ‘Speed’
The whole bus fiasco is the work of Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper). He rigs a bomb to arm when the bus reaches 50, and explode if it drops below again. That was enough to turn off the Dodger franchise.
“That was scripted and then the people who owned the Dodgers at the time owned the stadium and the parking lots,” Yost said. “They said, ‘Yeah, no. We’re not going to have a terrorist film shot at Dodger Stadium.’”
Dodger Stadium would’ve been a cool L.A. landmark to include in Speed. A closed road would have limited the action a bit more than the airport, too. There is also a world in which Speed ends when the bus explodes and Payne is arrested for his crime. They could’ve saved the subway for Speed 2 and that would’ve been better than Cruise Control, but we did get Money Train a year later.
Even the airport ending confuses Graham Yost
At the airport, Traven rigs the closed circuit cameras to repeat so he can get the passengers off the bus without Payne noticing. Once everyone escapes, the bus not only drops below 50, but crashes into a plane. Then Payne kidnaps Annie (Sandra Bullock) onto the subway with his ransom money for the final showdown.
“So they scouted other ideas and they came up with the idea of the airport,” Yost said. “That then allowed [director] Jan [de Bont] to have a big explosion which makes no f***ing sense but it’s fun. It’s cool. You want to see something blow up. It’s this weird thing of, well, we’ve been waiting the whole time for this bus to blow up. But now it hits a plane and is it the plane blowing up? The audience doesn’t care. They don’t even care that you can see the tow cables rattling around on the pavement because we didn’t have enough money to paint them out.”