No audience can forget the horrific climax of Se7en and Brad Pitt’s iconic harrowing line, “What’s in the box?”. Pitt was never supposed to be in the movie, as the role was originally written for Denzel Washington. Washington turned it down, deeming it too demonic, and it eventually landed with Pitt. The Equalizer actor unintentionally contributed to the Troy actor becoming one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood.
Brad Pitt’s earlier roles before Se7en mostly involved romantic leads in fantasy movies. His role as David Mills in the movie established him as an A-list star in Hollywood, capturing the attention of many legendary directors and producers.
Denzel Washington Turned Down Se7en Which Came As A Blessing For Brad Pitt
On numerous occasions, Denzel Washington revealed that rejecting Se7en was one of the biggest regrets in his career. Notably, he shared this regret with fellow actor Jamie Foxx on the Off Script podcast. Washington shared that he thought the script was “too demonic” for him. However, upon seeing the movie, he realized that he had missed a good opportunity. The Training Day actor told Jamie Foxx:
“I turned down Se7en. They wanted me to play the Brad Pitt role. I thought the script was too demonic. Then I saw the movie, and I was like, ‘Aw. I blew it.’ But it’s worked out alright.”
David Fincher’s “demonic” themed film explores the story of two detectives, William Somerset and David Mills, chasing a serial killer who chooses his victims based on the seven deadly sins. Morgan Freeman played the role of the veteran detective Somerset. In an attempt to move past his regret, Washington took on a role in a similarly themed film, Fallen. The film was not as successful as Se7en, but it gained a cult following over the years.
However, the opportunity proved to be life-changing for Brad Pitt. Before the release of the film, Pitt was highly optimistic about his role. He even shared with The Hamilton Spectator that the role helped to “expand his acting horizons”. Se7en earned a massive $327 million at the box office against a budget of $33-34 million.
Se7en Changed Hollywood’s Perspective About Brad Pitt
During the release of Se7en, Brad Pitt told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was ready to move on from his “pretty boy thing” to playing “someone with flaws” (via E! News). This shift indeed happened for the Bullet Train actor in Hollywood after the film. He was taken more seriously as an actor, landing roles that earned him a reputation as one of the best actors of modern times.
Pitt was prepared to redefine his image when he signed up for the film. He changed his poster boy looks and adopted a more unglamorous and gritty look. Fincher adjusted some elements of his script to accommodate the acting styles of both the Mr. & Mrs. Smith actor and Morgan Freeman. Pitt shared his desire to move from larger-than-life roles to more flawed characters, in his interview with The Morning Call:
“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.”
Despite his critically acclaimed roles, the Academy Awards always eluded the actor until he finally received one for Best Supporting Actor for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Se7en is now available for streaming on Paramount+.