'Se7en': Why Kevin Spacey Refused to Be Credited in the Film Opening

There’s actually a shocking number of movies that have some pretty big-name actors in them that aren’t in the credits — and Se7en is one of them. Although in most cases, this is because the role is so small that you only get a glimpse of your favorite actor, this was not the case for leading villain Kevin Spacey in the psychological crime thriller.

In fact, the producers didn’t credit him at the beginning of the film because the actor requested it. It seems Spacey didn’t want his name in the credits or promotions — and the reason wasn’t that he didn’t think the film would hold up to his or viewers’ expectations. The reason was actually genius. 

‘Se7en’ is an Oscar-nominated 1995 film that was jam-packed with talent

Se7en already had a lot of anticipation and buzz surrounding its premiere for debuting famous talents like Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman — not to mention the whole horrific concept was enticing in itself.

Two detectives, one close to retirement (Somerset) and one new to the field (Mills), track down a killer murdering his victims based on the seven deadly sins: Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Envy, Wrath, Pride, and Lust. What’s more, the murders are beyond horrendous and relevant to the sin the victim is getting murdered for. 

The star-studded cast didn’t stop with the two leading detectives just about everyone in the audience knew. It also extended into the killer (John Doe) they catch, who reveals himself as Spacey and gives viewers the shock of a lifetime because they didn’t see it coming.

There’s nothing more sinful than giving away the killer before it’s time

Sure, Se7en would’ve been incredible either way you cut it. However, it was genuinely something special for viewers to have been caught off guard by not only finally finding out who the killer was — but seeing it is none other than two-time Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey.

Even better, it was his idea.

According to some trivia facts on the film provided by IMDb, “The producers intended that Kevin Spacey should receive top billing at the start of the movie, but he insisted that his name not appear in the opening credits, so as to surprise the audience with the identity of the killer.”

To compensate for his name not making it earlier on in the movie, producers decided to “list [it] twice in the closing credits: once before the credits start rolling, and once in the rolling credits in order of appearance.”

This compensation was well worth it for Spacey.

“Another advantage from Spacey’s point of view, as he saw it, was that he was excluded from the film’s marketing during its release, meaning he didn’t have to make any public appearances or do any interviews.”

Other times A-list actors didn’t get credited for their roles

Spacey is far from the only actor to not be credited in a film (although he at least got TWO mentions in closing credits). Over the last couple of decades, there have been plenty of incredible performances that didn’t give the actor the appropriate shout-out.

To name a few, We Got This Covered reveals at least six of the greatest acting performances that led to no credit being given.

First off, there are the incredible performances of Gary Oldman as Mason Verger in Hannibal, Johnny Depp in his resurrected role as Tom Hanson in the reboot of 21 Jump Street, and Robert Duvall as The Director in The Conversation. 

Then, of course, there’s also Tom Cruise as the villain in Tropic Thunder, Will Ferrell as Chazz Reinhold in Wedding Crashers, and Edward Norton as King Baldwin in Kingdom of Heaven (although the credit was restored on home video releases after) that are worth mentioning. 

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