SPOILER: The Original Ending to ‘The Kingdom’


So I am currently compiling my top ten of 2007 as I finally saw Charlie Wilson’s War and can tell you right now that it is getting a far worse rep than it deserves. However, the Golden Globe nomination Julia Roberts got is utterly ridiculous considering she is hardly in the film and does nothing when she is in it. Silliness.

However, I am here to talk about another film, The Kingdom. I mention my top ten of 2007 because I am not sure if this film is going to make it or not, but as the DVD is set to hit shelves on December 26th I thought I would share a cool little factoid revealed in Peter Berg’s commentary. Domenic will have a full review for you soon, but this was too interesting not to share right away.

Remember, as the headline tells you, this is a spoiler. This is a spoiler in the sense that you are going to get details about the final ending by me telling you what Peter Berg said about the original ending as scripted by Matthew Michael Carnahan. So if you continue reading and you have not yet seen the film I lay all the blame on you…

For those that have seen the film you will recognize the image above as the interrogation from the beginning of the film when General Al Abdulmalik is beating Sergeant Haytham (Ali Suliman) accusing him of having a part in the bombings. You will remember that following that scene Haytham becomes a part of the investigati0n team assisting the Americans in capturing those responsible.

Well, once everything is said and done. Abu Hamza is dead and the Americans are returning home. As they are boarding the plane Haytham is at the end of the line and saying good bye to everyone as they leave.

Now, here is Peter Berg’s commentary as this scene is playing out on the DVD along with a few more screen captures:

The original draft that Matt wrote had a much darker ending and in that film, this character of Haytham was much more conflicted and by this point in the film he was very ensure about where he stood and which side he stood.

In the original draft, at this moment, when Jamie went to say good bye Jamie hugged him and he realized that Ali [Suliman] was carrying a bomb on him and the character of Haytham detonated the bomb and the entire team was killed and it was a very powerful ending… At the end we decided it was just too much and would be hard for anyone to recover from so we changed it.

Don’t tell anyone I told you that, it’s a secret.

Personally I think they made the correct decision to change it, but I also am not sure if I agree with Berg. The ending as it is now is actually quite dark and conflicted. It is far more thought provoking and makes for a much better film. The original ending written by Carnahan would have certainly been far more shocking, but I am not sure it would have been perceived as darker or if it would have been looked at as just another ending in this current trend of the kill ’em all style Hollywood ending as of late.

Nevertheless, I fully recommend you buy The Kingdom on DVD or HD DVD when it releases next week. It is one of my favs of 2007.