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Original Ending of 'Birdman' Would Have Featured Johnny Depp

by
February 10, 2015

Johnny Depp

On the awards circuit, Birdman has been cleaning up, grabbing the awards from the Directors Guild, Producers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild. That makes it a frontrunner for the 87th Academy Awards, even though Boyhood and Richard Linklater took the top prizes at the BAFTAs last weekend. But besides the awards buzz, there's been a lot of discussion about the ending of Birdman and just what it all means. However, rather than examine the end of the final film, we want to call your attention to the original ending of the movie, which would have had a cameo from Johnny Depp, and would have been pretty interesting.

On The Q&A Podcast (via Screen Rant), co-writer Alexander Dinelaris explained what the original ending of Birdman would have been, but Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu changed it during production:

“The other ending was that Riggan Thompson [Michael Keaton's character] shoots himself on the stage. The camera comes around to the audience and their standing ovation … and the segue was back on to the stage with James Lipton or Charlie Rose and Michael [Keaton] was sitting across from him, and he’s sort of reading the review. He’s saying, ‘Oh my God, you got this tremendous review,’ and Michael is like, ‘Yeah.’

Then the camera prowled like it did the whole film, went back stage through the halls we’ve seen the whole time and we’d get to the dressing room where literally Johnny Depp would be sitting looking in the mirror and putting on his Riggan Thomson wig and then the poster of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5′ would be in the back. In Jack Sparrow’s voice [it would say], ‘What the f*** are we doing here, mate?’ It was going to be the satire of the endless loop of that.”

That does sound like a fun ending, but it does seem a little obvious. The more ambiguous ending works better in the final cut. However, it would have been rather amazing to see Johnny Depp do this cameo, and it would have made a bold poke at the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, not to mention Depp as an actor. But then people would clamor for a Sparrowman sequel, and we don't need that. Plus, to leave Riggan Thompson with that ending and move on to a real-life actor, instead of concluding with what we saw just wouldn't have been as powerful. The better idea won out, but it would have been cool to see. Thoughts?

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  • Brian Sleider
    Havent seen Birdman yet, But not having Depp is a GOOD thing IMO.
    • Jackie Jormpjomp
      People say that now, but not too long ago he was loced pretty universally. It's the backlash thing. It gets them all. And people like you act like you hate him all the while.
      • Brian Sleider
        The second PotC is when I stopped giving a shit about what pile Depp dropped next. Thats 9 years ago. Its been awhile since he had the draw he once had. So forgive me for not finding a shtick an actor does from movie to movie interesting. Oh look at that rocking 13% for his latest pile, Mortdecai. Depp WAS good once, doesnt mean we have to like him now.
  • Jackie Jormpjomp
    The movie as a whole lost it's focus a few times. Character arcs were begun and not finished, actors like Norton just kind of disappear at one point and never really resurface. The Depp ending probably would have worked since they referenced real actors so often in the movie, but the ending used is kind of wonderful.
    • Sky
      Thats cause their characters archs finished before the movie was over. Just because they dont show up again doesnt mean their stories werent finished. Plus the movie is about Keatons Character
  • OGKhyamB
    The way I interpreted the film is that the focus is not the plot/story, but more of a character study on "Riggan Thompson" and the supporting cast (Ed Norton stealing the limelight from Keaton at times echoes his character in the film nicely too).
  • DAVIDPD
    Sounds brilliant.

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