McG Considered Clue-Style Alternate Endings for This Means War, Admits He 'Pussed Out' on Terminator 4
It’s the biggest, most important question of the season, people: Whom will Reese Witherspoon choose, between pillow-lipped Brit Tom Hardy and confident playboy Chris Pine, in the spy vs. spy love triangle rom-com This Means War? While you won’t get any spoilers here for the Valentine’s Day release, let Hardy and director McG tease you with the envelope-pushing alternate ending ideas that didn’t quite make it to the final cut. (And no -- McG didn't learn from Terminator: Salvation, which he admitted he “pussed out on.” Hindsight, my friends.)
[To the hardcore spoiler-averse who don't even want to know what doesn't happen in the film, a mild warning for what follows...]
The McG-helmed romantic action-comedy This Means War, written by X-Men: The Last Stand scribe Simon Kinberg, finds Reese Witherspoon dating Hardy and Pine at the same time, unaware that they are CIA spies and best friends. As both men find themselves falling for her she must decide which beau she truly wants to be with.
At a press conference today in Los Angeles, McG revealed one idea that was tossed around early on for ending the film in an unconventional way – by releasing two endings into theaters simultaneously, one in which Witherspoon ends up with Hardy and another where she chooses Pine, with no indication to moviegoers of what they were in for.
“We wanted to have flexibility and even talked about two endings and releasing it on 3,000 screens -- 1,500 have this [ending] and 1,500 have that one, and just not saying anything,” McG said. “But it felt a little gimmicky in the end.”
Releasing two endings into theaters in wide release? Now that would have been interesting, possibly even a worthy financial gamble if moviegoers enjoyed the film enough to see it again, either on home video or in theaters, just to see the alternate ending; the most famous predecessor to do this is probably Jonathan Lynn’s Clue, which was distributed to theaters with three different surprise endings. Clue, of course, was a financial failure (though admittedly deserving of its cult status), so perhaps following this precedent was ultimately unwise for McG and Co., but let's put it out there: Hollywood, why not try breaking the mold sometime?
That said, there was another idea for concluding the film that would have defied Hollywood convention, story-wise. “There’s even an ending where the two boys end up in each other’s arms,” joked McG.
“That should have been the ending,” added Hardy from across the podium. “It would have been a really groundbreaking ending! You should have gone for it, really gone for it.”
“I know, I know,” McG answered. “I pussed out on the ending of Terminator 4… so I should’ve gone for the dark ending of this one.”
Stay tuned for more on This Means War to come in my forthcoming junket diary, posting next week…