Fatal Attraction is a 1987 American psychological thriller film directed by Adrian Lyne from a screenplay written by James Dearden, based on his 1980 short film Diversion. Starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer, the film centers on a married man who has a weekend affair with a woman who refuses to allow it to end and becomes obsessed with him.
Fatal Attraction was released on September 18, 1987 by Paramount Pictures. It received positive reviews from critics, but had generated controversy at the time of its release. The film became a huge box office success, grossing $320.1 million against a $14 million budget, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1987 worldwide. At the 60th Academy Awards, it received 6 nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (for Close), Best Supporting Actress (for Archer), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.
In Fatal Attraction, Glenn Close kicks up a tempest. She plays Alex Forrest, an Other Woman whose affection sours into something more obsessive, a swirling mass of emotion that gets violent when she doesn’t get her way. She seethes; she screams; she boils bunnies. And it’s all because her racy affair with her colleague, Dan Gallagher (a smooth Michael Douglas), doesn’t turn into something more permanent—on account of his marriage, and on account of him wanting to have his cake and eat it too.
But he didn’t bank on Alex’s darker side. Her obsession with him triggers something deeper, a brewing mental illness (though the film isn’t tactful enough to treat it that way). She stalks him, kidnaps his child, and attacks his wife, a horrible denouement that ends with Dan nearly drowning Alex. In the end, it is the wife who violently deals the final, fatal blow.
Fatal Attraction, which turns 30 on Sept. 18, has built a complex legacy since its release. It was a box-office success that earned six Oscar nominations, including a nod for Close. It also sparked a pool of pale imitators, which are being released even to this day. Yet Close herself has led the charge of those who disparage the movie and her character—whose mental illness went unchecked and unnamed, marooning her in deeply misunderstood territory. In real life, Close is an advocate for mental health awareness; she has candidly discussed living with depression and co-founded a nonprofit, Bring Change to Mind, that aims to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. But more than anyone else, she’s still perturbed by the particular legacy of Attraction and the way Alex was painted. And in nearly every interview she has done about the movie since its release, Close has made it abundantly clear that Attraction, for all its violent delights, did not do right by its main character. In a way, it’s become her mission to give Alex the justice she deserves.
Just as recently as this September, Close discussed the amount of research she did before the film, noting that Alex had a depth that was ultimately overlooked in favor of shock value. “There’s no way for the audience to know what her past was,” she told The Guardian. “It’s only hinted at when she looks at him giving the bunny to his daughter and then throws up in the bushes. Nobody would say: well why did that happen? Whereas I asked that and the psychiatrist said if she was molested at an early age, and what she was made to do made her gag and throw up, then that’s her trigger.”
Close echoed this sentiment in a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly. “I felt from all my research, I just didn’t think she was a psychopath,” she said. “I thought she was a deeply disturbed woman.”
But the film’s ending transformed Alex into a full-fledged supervillain, a decision Close despised. Attraction was originally supposed to end with Alex killing herself and framing Dan for murder, after ensuring that his wife would find out about everything. However, test audiences didn’t care for that resolution.
“They want[ed] us to terminate the bitch with extreme prejudice,” former Paramount exec Ned Tanen told The Hollywood Reporter. Close fought bitterly against the new ending, reportedly saying, “You can take me in a straitjacket, but you can’t make me do it.” In an interview with The New York Times, she said she fought the studio for two weeks: “It was going to make a character I loved into a murdering psychopath.”
Close eventually caved, filming the ending that cemented the movie’s status as a shocker for the ages. In the E.W. interview, she accepted that there were two sides to the decision—acknowledging that she “was right to feel the way I felt,” but the studio was also “right to change the ending for the sake of what it did for the movie.”
However, if a modern-day Close were to be handed this script today, it would come across much differently, she told CBS in 2013, after saying again that the film “played into the stigma” of mental illness. It also created the bunny-boiler archetype, a sexist trope that hasn’t abated.
“The astounding thing was that in my research for Fatal Attraction I talked to two psychiatrists,” she said then. “Never did a mental disorder come up. Never did the possibility of that come up. That, of course, would be the first thing I would think of now.”
Were Fatal Attraction to be released today, it would likely be dragged by the conscientious masses—shredded for exploiting mental illness without even naming it as such. What was clear to Close all those years ago—that Alex was a troubled woman in desperate need of help—would be immediately obvious to modern viewers.
“Now she’s considered one of the greatest villains ever,” she told the Times. “That to me is a mistake. I’ve never thought of her as a villain, just in distress.” https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/09/fatal-attraction-30-year-anniversary-glenn-close
Seven time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close was born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Bettine (Moore) and William Taliaferro Close (William Close), a prominent doctor. Both of her parents were from upper-class northeastern families.
Glenn was often seen on Broadway until 1982 when she was cast in her award winning role as Jenny Fields in The World According to Garp (1982) alongside Robin Williams. For this role, a breakthrough in film for Close, she later went on to receive an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The following year she was cast in the hit comedy The Big Chill (1983) for which she received a second Oscar Nomination, once again for Supporting Actress in the role of Sarah Cooper. In her third film, Close portrayed Iris Gaines a former lover of baseball player Roy Hobbs portrayed by Robert Redford, in one of the greatest sports films of all time, The Natural (1984). For a third and final time, Close was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Close went on to star in films like The Stone Boy (1984), Maxie (1985) and Jagged Edge(1985). In 1987 Close was cast in the box office hit Fatal Attraction (1987) for which she portrayed deranged stalker Alex Forrest alongside costars Michael Douglas and Anne Archer. For this role she was nominated for the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress. The following year Close starred in the Oscar Winning Drama Dangerous Liaisons (1988) for which she portrayed one of the most classic roles of all time as Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil, starring alongside John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer. For this role she was nominated once again for the Academy Award and BAFTA Film Award for Best Actress. Close was favorite to win the coveted statue but lost to Jodie Foster for The Accused (1988). Close had her claim to fame in the 1980s. Close starred on the hit Drama series Damages (2007) for which she has won a Golden Globe Award and two Emmy Awards. In her career Close has been Oscar nominated seven times, won three Tonys, an Obie, three Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Glenn Close still has the knife she used in the movie hanging in her kitchen, stating: “It’s beautiful, made of wood and paper. It’s a work of art! And it’s nice for our guests to see it. It lets them know they can’t stay forever.”
When Glenn Close‘s agent first called to express her interest in playing Alex Forrest, he was told, “Please don’t make her come in. She’s completely wrong for the part.” Director Adrian Lyne also thought that Glenn Close was “the last person on Earth” who should play Alex.
When Glenn Close finally secured the part of Alex Forrest, one of the first things she did was to take the script to two different psychiatrists. She asked them, “Is this behavior possible and if it is, why?” The two psychiatrists who reviewed the script at Glenn Close‘s request both came to the same conclusion: Alex Forrest’s behavior was, in its own way, classic behavior. Their diagnosis was that Alex had been molested and sexually tortured for an extended period of time while she was a child. As a result, any emotional pain that she might experience that is associated with sex would provoke an extremely violent response.
To get the desired reaction shot from Ellen during the scene where she witnesses her parents having an intense argument, Michael Douglas was behind the camera bullying Ellen Latzen and threatening to take away the stuffed unicorn she was holding, saying, “look at that stupid unicorn, I’m gonna throw it in the garbage,” which is why she begins crying and hugging it tighter. After director Adrian Lyne yelled “cut,” Douglas immediately apologized to her, said he was only kidding, and hugged her. In an interview years later, Douglas stated, “I felt pretty guilty. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
– IMDb Mini Biography By: SomebodyinJersey and NAB