The Original Ending Of Being John Malkovich Was Much, Much Weirder

Illustration for article titled The Original Ending Of Being John Malkovich Was Much, Much Weirder

No one would accuse director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich of not being a weird film, but the ending of Kaufman's original script was off-the-wall bizarre. Seriously, it involved a puppetry duel and the corpse of Harry S Truman.


Over at Badass Digest, Devin Faraci has a synopsis of the latter portion of the original script in all of its bonkers glory. Here is the very beginning of that ending:

In the original script Craig Schwartz takes possession of Malkovich and remains within him for months - just as he does in the movie. But in the script Craig doesn't make Malkovich a famous puppeteer - he makes Malkovich a famous puppet. Craig declares himself the man controlling Malkovich, the world's most complicated puppet, and he embarks on a one-man show at the Luxor in Vegas that includes Malkovich doing scenes from On the Waterfront and juggling chainsaws.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the group hoping to live in Malkovich are being led by the actual Devil himself, in the guise of Mr. Flemmer (the man after whom the Mertin-Flemmer building is half-named). The Devil hopes to get his group into the vessel and use it as a tool for evil - they will rule the world together in the body of Malkovich. But first they have to get Craig out of it. Flemmer comes to Craig in a dream, telling him he must vacate the vessel, but Maxine, who is Craig's producer, tells him that's crazy talk.

It only gets stranger from there. Head over to Badass Digest to read about the lunatic puppeteer battle that would have originally served as the film's climax—and the fallout. Apparently, this ending was scrapped partly due to budgetary issues, but as wonderfully ridiculous as the original ending sounds, we have no complaints about the unnerving ending that we got.

The Original Ending Of BEING JOHN MALKOVICH [Badass Digest]


Joe Aubrey

I've heard it said that Kaufman writes fantastic, groundbreaking scripts, and then the directors make them good. See Synecdoche, NY for a film he's written and directed: perhaps groundbreaking but ending up lost within its own conceits, too removed from the audience (which could have been the meta-intention, but losing your connection with the audience shouldn't be the goal).