MTV There is no fairy-tale ending in "Welcome to the Rileys," which opened in select cities last week. The story of a grieving couple (James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo) who take a teen stripper named Mallory (Kristen Stewart) under the wings and try to show her how to live a better life is not wrapped up in a neat little bow, as is often the case in Hollywood flicks. (Beware of "Welcome to the Rileys" spoilers below!)
At least, that's not how it ends in the cut that hit theaters last week. In that version, Mallory declines to return to the couple's home with them and instead takes off to keep stripping in a new city. Yet that wasn't the original ending, as MTV News learned at the red-carpet premiere earlier this month.
"The original ending was very different, and they all moved in with each other and started making grilled cheese sandwiches and started watching movies on the sofa," explained director Jake Scott. "That was something we decided to change because it felt inauthentic."
In a quest for authentic storytelling, Scott returned to his experiences with his own children and how he interacts with them while away on business. "We speak on the phone and you talk about nothing," he said. "The writer Ken Hixon and I discussed this, and Ken wrote this amazing scene at the end with them just talking on the phone. I was after authenticity and truth, and that seemed like the better way to go."
Stewart, too, adored the fact that "Rileys" didn't reach for an unrealistically happy ending, but settled for an authentic one that still hints at how Mallory is attempting to change for the better.
"That's definitely one thing I loved about the script," she told us. "It was so good, I didn't expect it to end like that. Not that any of us can be as presumptuous to think we know that we're doing something so real that we would know how things would work out. But it does seem far from realistic to think Mallory would suddenly change everything she is. What you do see is she's sort of opened her eyes a little bit and seen that she has the potential and capacity to not be alone."