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Why Glenn Close wants Fatal Attraction to be retold from woman’s perspective

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Kayleigh Dray
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Glenn Close was furious that her original ending wasn’t included in the final cut.

Rare is the person who hasn’t seen Fatal Attraction (and if you haven’t, be warned: this article contains spoilers). Based on James Dearden’s 1980 short film Diversion, the 1987 psychological thriller begins with married lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) embarking on an illicit affair with editor Alex Forrest (Glenn Close). Assuming it was a one-time thing, Dan returns home to his wife – but, for Alex, it quickly becomes apparent that their fling meant far more.

She begins lurking outside his office and calling him incessantly. She cuts her wrists in a suicide attempt, in a desperate bid to bind him to her, and later goes on to claim she’s pregnant with his child – and things steadily grow more frightening from there. Alex pours acid on Dan’s car, sends him tapes filled with abusive messages, and kills his daughter’s pet rabbit, putting it on the stove to boil.

It isn’t until the end of the film, when she violently attacks Dan’s wife with a knife, that Alex is stopped in her tracks – and the shocking scene, which sees the obsessive lover shot dead in the family bathtub, has long been hailed as one of the most iconic of all time.

However, Close recently revealed that Fatal Attraction was originally supposed to have a very different ending. Speaking to The New York Times, Close said that in an early version of the script, Alex commits suicide at the end of the film. 

“I loved the original ending,” revealed Close. “I always felt Alex was more suicidal than psychotic.”

Close went on to explain that she fought tooth and nail to keep ‘her’ ending in the film, but was eventually convinced to reshoot the version that audiences know today.

“Six months after we finished shooting, I got a call that we had to reshoot the ending,” she said. “I fought it for two weeks. It was going to make a character I loved into a murdering psychopath.

“I was in a meeting with Michael, Stanley and Adrian. I was furious! I said to Michael, ‘How would you feel if it were your character?’ He said, ‘Babe, I’m a whore.’”

Now, in a new interview with The Guardian, Close has explained that she has approached Paramount with the idea of rebooting the horror, with one key difference: changing the perspective from Dan to Alex’s.

“I had so many secrets as Alex,” she said. “The woman I was playing was not the same one who was perceived by the public. But I didn’t have the dialogue or the scenes to illuminate her backstory. If you did Fatal Attraction from Alex’s point of view, she would be a tragic person, not a dangerous, evil one.”

For all those interested in this idea, though, it may take some time to see it play out on the big screen.

“We’ve actually approached Paramount about it,” revealed Close. “They have other plans at the moment, but I agree it would be fascinating.”

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Thankfully, it is a very different story for Close’s character in her Oscar-nominated film, The Wife.

Explaining that the opening sex scene between her and on-screen husband Jonathan Pryce was the first thing she shot, she said:  “We were both thinking the same thing: ‘We’re pros, we’ve been doing this a long time. Let’s just get down to it.’” 

Close added that the scene was particularly important to her, as it shows two people over the age of 70 having slow and pleasurable sex. “It’s one of the great myths that you lose your sexuality as you get older,” she said. “One night last year, I was coming across town from the East Village to the West. It was late on a Friday night and there were a lot of couples on the street. Pippy and I were looking out of the car window and I could feel what all those couples were feeling.

“I could feel their excitement, the sense of intimacy about to happen. It was extremely powerful.”

Close added that, right now, she believes she is in her prime. 

“I feel as free and as creative, as sexual and as eager, as I ever have,” she said. “And it’s ironic because I’m thinking: ‘How much time do I have left now?’ There are so many things I’m interested in doing. It’s one of those ironies, I suppose, that we sometimes start feeling comfortable in our own skin only late in our lives, but hopefully with enough time to benefit from it. I’m so glad to do what I do because even though I’m not a method actor and I don’t use my life in my acting, my work is still a progression. So what comes after this I’m excited to see. 

“Right now, I’m just enjoying feeling chuffed.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact Samaritans here or contact your GP. NHS Choices can also direct you to relevant support and advice services.

Image: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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