I’m curious, if you don’t mind talking about it, what was the originally shot and intended ending?
The very first ending I wrote the order was: Babydoll was being lobotomized, she got chained in the basement, Sweet Pea escapes – well, let me back up. There’s a scene you’ll see on the Director’s Cut with Jon Hamm. When Jon Hamm arrives as the High Roller – and we took this scene out because of the MPAA – when that guy punches Babydoll in the face, she wakes up in the High Roller’s suite. He basically makes a deal with her that if she gives herself to him, and willingly and not against her will, then he’ll give her freedom and get [her] out of that place. He’ll make it so that Blue will never touch her and she’ll be free. She’s seduced by that concept, and right when they go to kiss each other, that’s her being lobotomized. When they kiss, it’s her being lobotomized.
The very end of the movie was: you see Sweet Pea steal a dress from a clothesline, then after she’s lobotomized and Blue says, “Do you remember me? Take her downstairs,” and then you see Sweet Pea getting on the bus, then after her getting on the bus, it cuts back to Babydoll in the basement and that whole scene happens of the cops taking him away. When he shines the flashlight on her, she gets up, and the camera dollies in on her and then goes around her head – and you see that she’s on a stage in the theater and she signs “O-o-h Child” at the very end. After that, all the dead girls come out and they sing together, then the curtain closes. That’s the end.
Why was that cut?
We tested it, and people just did not know how to… I don’t know. I thought it was awesome, personally. Maybe there’s a cult version of it that’ll exist that I can put together sometime [Laughs], but for a mass audience, it just played as this super culty, bizarro ending. I love it, personally. I could tell that people just didn’t know how to take it, though.
I hope we get the original ending on the DVD at least...though I don't think we'll be getting the "cult version" anytime soon:
Would you say the Director’s Cut is that fuller, crazier version?
It’s fuller, but it’s not all the way.
What’s missing to make it ‘all the way’?
It doesn’t have the “O-o-h Child” ending.
Why can’t that be put back in?
It’s just money and everything. The effects were never finished. If the movie is successful, I would absolutely go back and do it for sure.
And Sucker Punch is tanking like Scott Pilgrim (which I loved without much reservation, unlike my more ambivalent feelings for Sucker Punch.) But even unfinished, I'd like to see that first ending. The ending we got is sort of faux-hopeful/genuinely hopeful, though it takes the form of a quasi-"happy" stock ending. Yes, both faux and genuine...like the movie itself, which moves on false and sincere tracks throughout, sometimes simultaneously. It's strange and sometimes annoying and fairly bleak overall. The fun action scenes are blunted by the overall knowledge that the girls in their guns and planes and superhero/schoolgirl outfits are just as trapped as the girls in the "brothel" (reviewers keep using that word, but it seems to be more of a burlesque house) and as the girls in the asylum. I don't think Snyder's own feelings about his material are at all clear to him, so he adopted this stance of ironic distance from pretty girls in swords and it leads to the film's undoing. I think he needed to get more personal with it, really own his fetishes like Tarantino does (and asking Snyder to be more like Tarantino is probably an unreasonable demand) but he didn't or couldn't and so we're left with this halfway there interesting mess of a movie. Maybe it was more personal early on and the studio process diluted it. Shame it flopped as bad as it did, just because now we're probably never going to get that bizarro cult version.
EDIT: Forgot the link to this interview: