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The 'head in a box' ending continued to worry the studio after filming was completed.After the first cut of the film was shown to the studio, they attempted to mitigate the bleakness of the ending by replacing Mills' wife's head with that of a dog, or by not having Mills fire on John Doe.The primary influence for the film's screenplay came from Andrew Kevin Walker's time spent in New York City while trying to make it as a screenwriter.
At the time, Fincher had not read a script for a year and a half since the frustrating experience of making Alien 3; he said, "I thought I'd rather die of colon cancer than do another movie".
Fincher eventually agreed to direct Seven because he was drawn to the script, which he found to be a "connect-the-dots movie that delivers about inhumanity. It implies so much, not about why you did but how you did it".
Somerset opens the box and, in a sudden panic, warns Mills to stay back.
Doe then says that his sin was envy, and that Tracy died as a result of this; he also states that her head is in the box, and that she was pregnant.
Doe offers to take the detectives to the final two victims and confess to the murders, but only under specific terms, or he will plead insanity. The detectives follow Doe's directions to a remote desert location. Mills holds Doe at gunpoint while Somerset intercepts the driver, who has been instructed to bring a box to them.
Doe begins to taunt Mills by telling him how envious he was of his life with Tracy.Tracy confides to Somerset that she is pregnant and has yet to tell Mills, as she is unhappy with the city and feels it is no place to raise a child.Somerset sympathizes, having had a similar situation with his ex-girlfriend many years earlier, and advises her to tell Mills only if she plans to keep the child.Principal photography took place in Los Angeles, with the last scene filmed near Lancaster, California. Released on September 22, 1995, by New Line Cinema, Seven was the seventh-highest-grossing film of the year, grossing over 7 million worldwide.Soon-to-retire detective William Somerset is partnered with short-tempered but idealistic David Mills, who has recently moved to the city with his wife Tracy.The apartment contains hundreds of notebooks revealing Doe's psychopathy, as well as a clue to another murder.The detectives arrive too late to stop a man forced by Doe at gunpoint to kill a prostitute by raping her with a custom-made, bladed strap-on, representing lust.Denzel Washington and Sylvester Stallone turned down the role of Mills. The ending of the screenplay, with the head in the box, was originally part of an earlier draft that New Line had rejected, instead opting for an ending that involved more traditional elements of a detective thriller film with more action-oriented elements.But when New Line sent David Fincher the screenplay to review for his interest in the project, they accidentally sent him the original screenplay with the head-in-the-box ending.Visually and stylistically, that's how we wanted to portray this world.Everything needed to be as authentic and raw as possible." To this end, Fincher turned to production designer Arthur Max to create a dismal world that often eerily mirrors its inhabitants.