Peter Berg Talks About The Kingdom’s Unfilmed Ending

During a press junket for his upcoming “The Kingdom”, director Peter Berg talked about the film’s ending — or more specifically, the original script ending that DIDN’T make it into the movie. Not only did the original ending not make it into the film, but it wasn’t even filmed, according to Berg, because so many people were against it, including producer Michael Mann and the Universal studio chief, who apparently called Berg in person to make sure Berg knew that the ending in screenwriter Matt Carnahan’s script was NOT going to happen. So, if you read on, be aware that there are POSSIBLE SPOILERS below in Berg’s story, so use your own judgement.

Says Berg about the (never filmed) ending:

“In the original script by Matt Carnahan, who is a GENIUS, the character of Haytham was much more sort of politically schizophrenic. He was attempting to find a moderate lifestyle. So even though his brother killed in Iraq and his father was an extremist; he was trying to go the other way. So during the course of the film we were tracking his sort of cracking with this internal conflict. And at the end of the film, when the Americans go to say goodbye, and they were shaking his hand, Chris Cooper’s character went to give him a hug and realized he had a bomb on him, and [Haytham] detonated it and blew up the entire team! Everyone died! And so I read it in the middle of the night and I was like “Oh man…”, and I called Michael Mann and he was like “I just read it!” And I’m like “Well… can we do it?” And he said “NO!” (laughs) And this is Michael Mann*, right? And then I got the call from the president of Universal the next morning and she’s like ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? Not in my studio!” (laughs again)

I especially liked the Michael Mann part. Heh heh.

Courtesy of FreezeDriedMovies, who elaborates on the Michael Mann comment:

*Mann has a penchant for surprising the audience by killing characters you thought would be safe.

“The Kingdom” opens September 28th.