Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Dan Gallagher: You're so sad.  You know that, Alex?  Lonely and very sad.
Alex Forrest: Don't you ever pity me, you smug bastard.
Dan Gallagher: I'll pity you... I'll pity you.  I'll pity you because you're sick.
Alex Forrest: Why?  Because I won't allow you treat me like some slut you can just bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage?

On the other side of drinks, dinner, and a one night stand, lies a terrifying love story.

"Fatal Attraction" made its US-wide premiere on September 18, 1987, appearing on 758 screens.  "The Principal", "Hellraiser",  and "The Pick-Up Artist" were its competition that weekend at the Box Office, but "Fatal Attraction" easily held its own as it brought in over $7.6 million within its first three days of release which was half its estimated budget.  Later released to 1,401 screens, this film grossed over $156.6 million, becoming the second biggest hit of 1987 (combined, its competition didn't even make $48 million that year... in fact, "The Pick-Up Artist" didn't even make its $15 million budget).

Directed by Adrian Lyne who previously had directed such popular 80s films as "Foxes", "Flashdance", and "Nine 1/2 Weeks", "Fatal Attraction" is presently Adrian's biggest hit of his career.  However, although the film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards (Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress for Anne Archer, another Best Actress for Glenn Close, Best Director, and Best Picture) and 4 Golden Globes (again, nods toward Anne Archer, Glenn Close, Director, and Best Film), "Fatal Attraction" didn't win a single award.

This thrilling film starred Michael Douglas as Dan, Glenn Close as Alex, Anne Archer as Beth, and co-starred a young Ellen Hamilton Latzen as Ellen (this was her film debut) and Stuart Pankin as Jimmy.

Filmed entirely in New York at various locations, here are some other tidbits regarding the making of "Fatal Attraction"...

1.  Producers Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe had difficulty getting a studio to green light the film, and in finding a leading man.  Michael Douglas was who writer James Dearden was expected to both write and direct.  Douglas's experience with another less-experienced directed led him to ask for a different director, but Dearden was still kept on as writer--a rarity in the film business.  Brian De Palma agreed to direct it, which got Paramount to green light the film, but he refused to stay on the project unless he could replace Michael Douglas.  Lansing and Jaffee had a loyalty to Douglas, who was the first actor to express interest in the part, and who himself had experience as a producer.  To keep Douglas on the project, they released De Palma.  They had feared Paramount would the cancel the project, but instead they merely delayed the start of production which had, at the time of De Palma's departure, been 10 weeks away.

2.  John Carpenter and Brian De Palma were offered the chance to direct but both backed out because they feared that the story was too similar to "Play Misty for Me" (1971).  De Palma also felt that Michael Douglas was not a good leading man.  De Palma has since admitted he was wrong about Douglas.  John Boorman was also offered the director's job but turned it down to do his personal wartime childhood memoir "Hope and Glory" (1987).

3.  More than 20 directors passed on directing the movie.

4.  Two of the film's working titles were "Affairs of the Heart" and "Lethal Attraction".

5.  Morgan Fairchild, Beverly D'Angelo, Bette Midler, Tracey Ullman, Olivia Newton-John, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alison Doody, Helen Slater, Demi Moore, Jennifer Grey, Jennifer Beals, Catherine O'Hara, Rosanna Arquette, Kate Capshaw, Cher, Ellen Barkin, Carrie Fisher, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Holly Hunter, Amy Irving, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Madonna, Lena Olin, Annette O'Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, Miranda Richardson, Mary Steenburgen, Meryl Streep, Raquel Welch, Tuesday Weld, Debra Winger, Gilda Radner, Elizabeth Shue, Jane Seymour, Sharon Stone, Cybill Shepherd, Susan Sarandon, Kim Basinger, Kelly McGillis, Melanie Griffith, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis, Christine Ebersole, Mary Gross, Kay Lenz, Jessica Lange, Emma Thompson, Diane Keaton, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, Candice Bergen, Goldie Hawn, Farrah Fawcett, Christine Baranski, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jodie Foster, Ally Sheedy, Annie Potts, Isabelle Adjani, Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Anjelica Huston, Stockard Channing and Isabella Rossellini were all considered for the role of Alex Forrest.

6.  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.

7.  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, she would naturally lash out at anyone who found her desirable.  The character Alex Forrest suffers from an obsessive condition known as de ClĂ©rambault's syndrome.

8.  Martin Sheen, John Heard, Steve Martin, John Travolta, Harrison Ford, Bruce Willis, Dan Aykroyd, Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Costner, Chevy Chase, O.J. Simpson, Christopher Reeve, Nicolas Cage, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Quaid, Bill Murray, James Belushi, Rick Moranis, Jon Voight, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were considered for the role of Dan Gallagher.

9.  Andie MacDowell and Cynthia Rhodes were considered for the role of Beth Gallagher.

10.  Maurice Jarre's score doesn't kick in until almost a half-hour into the film.

11.  The apartment used for the Gallaghers' apartment toward the beginning of the film, is the same apartment Adrian Lyne used in "Nine 1/2 Weeks" (1986) for Elizabeth's apartment.

12.  Glenn Close said that in her opinion, she had no trouble doing her nude scenes because she believed that they were not exploitive at all, and that they all served the story.

13.  Alex's treatment of the pet rabbit has given rise to the commonly used expression "bunny boiler" in the UK - used to describe an obsessive woman with the potential to stalk casual acquaintances or one-night stands.

14.  To get the desired reaction shot from Ellen during the scene where she witnesses her parents have an intense argument, the director was behind the camera bullying her and threatening to take away the stuffed animal she was holding, which is why she begins crying and hugging it tighter.  After the director yelled "cut" he immediately apologized to her and said he was only kidding.

15.  Glenn Close still has the knife she used in the movie hanging in her kitchen.

16.  While on a break from filming the fight scene in Alex's apartment, Glenn Close took her dog, Gaby, on a walk around the complex where the production was shooting on-location.  Close, still wearing the film's iconic white dress, covered in dirt and sweat, with her hair unkempt, began to notice three girls approach her with curiosity.  Thinking that the girls presumed she had just been mugged, due to her appearance, Close was about to explain to the girls that she was only shooting a movie.  But the girls were really just interested in meeting her dog.

17.  After poor audience reaction to the original ending, it was decided that the ending be re-shot.  Glenn Close was opposed to redoing the ending, but eventually felt she owed it to everyone else to do it.  (In the November 1996 edition of 'Movieline' magazine, Close said: "The original ending was a gorgeous piece of film noir.  She kills herself, but makes sure that his prints are all over the knife, and he gets arrested.  He knows he didn't do it, but he's going to jail anyway.  But audiences wanted some kind of cathartic ending, so we went back months later and shot the ending that's in the movie now.")

18.  During the re-shoot of the ending, Glenn Close suffered a concussion from one of the takes when her head smashed against a mirror.  After being rushed to the hospital, she discovered, much to her horror, that she was actually a few weeks pregnant with her daughter; actress Annie Starke.  To this day, Close said watching the ending makes her uncomfortable because of how much she unknowingly put her unborn daughter at risk from the physically demanding shoot.

And now you know.

"Fatal Attraction" made many husbands think twice about cheating on their wives.  According to Glenn Close, people still come up to her to tell her, "Thanks!  You saved my marriage!"

The following are pictures of the key characters in the film as well as a chronological order of picture stills following the story line.  Enjoy!

And now the picture stills following the story line...


Alex Forrest: [to Beth] And don't you think I understand what you're doing?  You're trying to move him into the country... and you're keeping him away from me.  And you're playing happy family.  Aren't you?
[begins to slice her own leg with a butcher knife]
Alex Forrest: You wouldn't understand that because you're so... so selfish.  He told me about you.  He told me about you.  He was very honest.  If you weren't so stupid, you'd know that.  But you're so stupid.  You're so stupid... you're a stupid, selfish bitch!