Juice’s Director Reveals The Original Ending Hollywood Did Not Want
Earlier this month, The Roots’ Black Thought hosted a special event, celebrating the 1992 movie Juice. The afternoon consisted of a screening of the film, a panel discussion moderated by Black Thought, featuring director and co-writer Ernest Dickerson, co-writer Gerard Brown, and actors Khalil Kain (Raheem) and Jermaine Hopkins (Steel), as well as a short performance by Thought. The event was the second in the MC’s series of screenings of throwback films, that began in April with The Last Dragon.
The discussion of the film touched on a number of topics, however, as reported by OkayPlayer, one of the most engaging subjects was the revelation that the film’s ending needed to be changed for fear of repercussions from Hollywood executives. As fans may recall, the film ended after a struggle between the characters Q (Omar Epps) and Bishop (Tupac Shakur), that left Bishop hanging from a ledge, pleading with Q to not let him fall. After a valiant struggle by Q, Bishop slipped from his grasp and fell to his death.
When asked about the ending Dickerson replied “In the original script, as we wrote it and as we filmed it, when Bishop is hanging over the edge and he’s holding on, he hears the sirens coming, and he goes into this zen moment and he looks into Q’s eyes and says, ‘I’m not going to jail.’ And he lets go of Q’s hand, and silently slipped into the darkness…I think [that ending] had more weight.” OkayPlayer reports that Dickerson revealed that the ending ultimately had to be changed due to poor focus group test results, with the audience being dissatisfied that Bishop, the villain in the film, was able to control his own destiny. Nearly 25 years later, that thought seems strange, given the cult-like fan base the character has garnered.
Even if the writers had chosen to disregard the test results, they were given what was tantamount to an ultimatum, when they were told by the film’s producers that if they didn’t change the ending, the film’s executives “may not support the movie in the way you want it to be supported.” Ultimately, Dickerson and Brown relented and the film, with the ending audiences know, was released to theaters.
For more details about the film, including why its poster needed to be changed, read the full article at OkayPlayer.