Home MoviesMovie News ‘The Purge’: A Shocking Twist in Ethan Hawke’s Character Didn’t Make it Past the Original Script

‘The Purge’: A Shocking Twist in Ethan Hawke’s Character Didn’t Make it Past the Original Script

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Original Script Changes in 'The Purge'

When The Purge hit the screens in 2013, the chilling concept of a night where all crime is legal was enough to give anyone the creeps, let alone imagining it happening in reality. Fast forward a decade, this one-night-terror concept has burgeoned into a full-fledged horror franchise. Recently, director and writer, James DeMonaco shared some surprising details with FilmSweep’s Perri Nemiroff about a major change that was planned but never implemented in the original movie.


In his interview, DeMonaco gave insight into how The Purge’s original script was dramatically altered before the final cut. DeMonaco confessed that “the first draft would have gotten an X-rating due to the graphic violence.” Reducing the level of violence in the script meant sacrificing a significant plot point which would have portrayed James Sandin, portrayed by Ethan Hawke, in a far darker tone:

“Originally, [He] was not just a security systems seller. The idea was to make it a moral story. We cut a major plot point which was reintroduced slightly in the second installment. He had a yearly ritual of purging someone in his basement. He purchased a person to purge as part of the society’s catharsis that the purge promised – becoming a better individual. He was a staunch believer in this propaganda and kills a man on page 25. That would have been the movie’s first purge.”

Universal and DeMonaco had to reach a compromise over this plot twist. The studio believed that the morality of the story was inherent without the need for Hawke’s character, Sandin, to commit murder. The fact that he was profiting from the Purge through his security systems business was deemed enough to establish his economical gain from the event and his acceptance of the purge propaganda. However, DeMonaco was able to incorporate this idea differently in The Purge: Anarchy. “We presented a scenario where a man is bought. John Beasley, who played Carmen Ejogo’s father, gets bought by a wealthy family, mirroring what was removed from the first Purge.”

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The Evolution and Impact of The Purge

DeMonaco reflected on his initial intent with the movie, which was “a discourse on violence,” and acted as “a profound metaphor for the absence of gun control laws in America.” He admitted to “pushing the boundaries significantly” with the first film. As America’s efforts to enforce gun control have not significantly advanced over the years, and debates intensify, The Purge becomes an ever more haunting reflection of our society.

The Purge morphed into a hit franchise that led to four sequels and a TV series. A sixth film in the franchise is currently underway, aiming to broaden the concept and portray how America evolved due to the introduction of the terror-filled night.

With The Purge 6 in its early development, it is expected that Frank Grillo will return and DeMonaco will continue in his role as the director and writer. Keep an eye on FilmSweep for more updates on The Purge universe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Original Script Changes in ‘The Purge’

What changes were made to the original script of ‘The Purge’?

Director and screenwriter James DeMonaco revealed that the original script had a more violent and harrowing plot, including a scene where Ethan Hawke’s character, James Sandin, would purge someone in his basement as a yearly ritual. However, this plot point was removed before filming.

Why was the violent plot twist removed?

Universal, the studio behind ‘The Purge,’ believed that the morality of the story was already evident without Ethan Hawke’s character explicitly committing murder. They felt that the fact that he sold security systems, profiting from the Purge, showcased the economic benefit to his family and his acceptance of the propaganda surrounding the event.

Was the concept of purging someone reintroduced in the franchise?

Yes, James DeMonaco incorporated a similar idea in ‘The Purge: Anarchy,’ where a man is bought by a wealthy family. This mirrored the removed plot point from the first film.

How does ‘The Purge’ reflect societal issues?

According to DeMonaco, the movie was originally intended as a discourse on violence and served as a metaphor for the lack of gun control laws in America. As debates surrounding gun control continue to intensify, ‘The Purge’ becomes an even more chilling commentary on our reality.

How successful is ‘The Purge’ franchise?

‘The Purge’ has become a successful franchise, spawning four sequels and a TV series. A sixth film is currently in development, aiming to expand the concept and explore the transformation of America due to the violent night.

Who is involved in the upcoming ‘The Purge 6’?

Frank Grillo is expected to return, and James DeMonaco will once again take on directing and screenwriting duties for ‘The Purge 6.’

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