In the 1990s, quite a few rock stars were transitioning to acting (at least temporarily); among them: Madonna, Courtney Love, Björk, and Eminem. Someone who almost joined this list is R.E.M. frontman Michael stipe, who was offered the role of John Doe in David Fincher’s epic crime horror Se7ev (1995). Stipe shared the surprising factoid with Alec Baldwin on his Here’s the Thing podcast earlier this week.
According to Stipe, when he was first offered the role, director David Fincher hadn’t exactly given the character much to do. “All I had to do was run down some hallways and look scary,” he revealed. Alas, the world never got to see Stipe’s imagining of what sounds like an even more unhinged John Doe, as Stipe had touring commitments with REM to attend to.
Stipe has never had a significant film acting role (besides appearing as himself in REM’s music videos), so there’s no way to gage what kind of performance he would have delivered. And while Stipe the musician has a reputation for being gentle and genuine, it would’ve been chilling to see him tap into his darker side for a bleak role like John Doe.
Of course, everyone probably agrees that Kevin Spacey was absolutely perfect as John Doe, so perhaps it’s for the best.
In Se7en (Official Synopsis): When retiring police Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) tackles a final case with the aid of newly transferred David Mills (Brad Pitt), they discover a number of elaborate and grizzly murders. They soon realize they are dealing with a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is targeting people he thinks represent one of the seven deadly sins. Somerset also befriends Mills’ wife, Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), who is pregnant and afraid to raise her child in the crime-riddled city.