During a Q&A session with this year’s Oscar-nominated screenwriters, Birdman scribe Alex Dinelaris said that the film—which concerns a former franchise actor turning to Broadway on a quest for artistic merit—originally ended with real-world franchise man Johnny Depp playing himself.
Dinelaris described the changes in detail, so those who still haven’t seen Birdman’s original finale should stop reading right here:
“The other ending was that [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 fuck are we doing here, mate?’ It was going to be the satire of the endless loop of that.”
Dinelaris noted that the ending was never shot because the filmmakers “couldn’t get Johnny Depp or even the poster.” Maybe that’s because Depp heard the idea and thought, “Hey, this is kinda making fun of my career choices.” Or maybe it’s just because the Pirates 5 poster wasn’t quite ready yet.
[via The Film Stage]