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How the ‘Fatal Attraction’ TV Show Approaches Movie’s Famous Ending – The Hollywood Reporter

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[This story contains mild spoilers to the first three episodes of Paramount+’s Fatal Attraction.]

Deadly Attraction is an iconic a part of cinema. Adrian Lyne’s thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Shut topped the field workplace charts after it launched in 1987 to grow to be the second-highest-grossing movie of the yr. It earned six Oscar nominations, impressed many years of stalker motion pictures and, in recent times, has been revisited in suppose items across the retooled ending, sparked by Shut talking out about methods the movie didn’t do proper by her character, Alex Forrest.

“When they asked me to do it, obviously I was like, ‘I’m not going to do that. That sounds absolutely terrifying,’” Alexandra Cuningham tells The Hollywood Reporter of adapting the film for TV. “I was thinking, I’ll just watch the movie again so that I’m being a good citizen when I send the email saying I’m not gonna do it. Then, you get sucked in.”

What sucked Cuningham in was rewatching the movie with a modern-day eye and imagining what she may do if she had a number of episodes to dive again in. “I’d love to see that scene again from another point of view. I’d like to write my own version of that scene,” she says. “And one of the things that really got to me this time around, probably because I knew it was a possibility to think about, is the daughter. I’ve always watched Ellen going through all of this emotional trauma and wondering, ‘How is she processing all of this?’”

She was additionally motivated by the thought of displaying the attitude of the villain. Shut in recent times has spoken out in regards to the intense preparation she did for Alex, a personality who she believed had an undiagnosed psychological sickness. The film by no means addresses her psychological well being, nonetheless, and as an alternative treats her as a “murdering psychopath” who deserved to die.

“Reading all the interviews with Glenn Close where she would talk about all the psychological preparation and the work she did to give such a holistic portrayal of a real person, who is struggling in pain and isolation, which is what I see when I watch the movie, and to see how that was turned into this audience feeling of ‘we need to terminate the bitch with extreme prejudice‘ — everyone in Hollywood knows that quote from the head of Paramount [Sherry Lansing’s biography], it felt like there were a lot of opportunities for me to say things that I’m interested in, and ask those questions and see whether anyone wanted to ask them with me,” says Cunningham of why she signed on as showrunner.

Cuningham says the difference pitch initially got here from Steven Spielberg telling Paramount Studios, “You guys should do a limited series anthology of Fatal Attraction.” And her expertise as showrunner on long-running soapy drama Determined Housewives and, extra not too long ago, with the Soiled John anthology, made the thought an interesting one. So she pitched an arc for a restricted collection that might, just like the movie years in the past, have an “oh, shit!” ending. (Spoiler alert? After retooling the movie’s unique ending — as an alternative of Alex slitting her personal throat — she’s shot useless by Beth as she emerges with a knife from the bath after a wrestle with Dan.)

Dan Gallagher, performed by Joshua Jackson, within the present-day timeline within the Deadly Attraction collection.

Paramount+

Flash-forward to now and Deadly Attraction, the seven-part restricted collection, has launched its first three episodes on Paramount+, and it units out to reply these query raised by Cunningham by each leaping into the movie’s future with Dan Gallagher, Michael Douglas’ character who’s performed by Joshua Jackson, and flipping again to the previous to revisit the occasions within the movie and broaden views, together with that of Alex, performed right here by Lizzy Caplan.

The collection opens up in present-day as Dan is paroled for Alex’s homicide and reaches again out to his grown-up daughter Ellen (performed by Alyssa Jirrels) to start a sophisticated path of redemption, which is laser-focused on clearing his identify by proving that he didn’t commit the homicide. “Who is the Dan she’s encountering? What has he learned or not learned, as a person who has his own issues going on — he’s clearly a narcissist, maybe not diagnosable — and so that was where all that scaffolding started to go up with the two timelines,” says Cunningham.

The collection then units up a homicide thriller, as if each Dan and the viewers don’t already know who killed Alex. So, are viewers meant to enter the collection wiping that slate clear?

“There obviously are a lot of Easter eggs in the show from the original movie — there’s a rabbit, there’s an elevator, there’s rain. In terms of people going on that journey, we would like people to think the homage is that complete. But, is it? I can’t say,” she says of whether or not their ending will reveal the identical killer.

The third episode presents Alex’s perspective for the primary time ever, however Cunningham desires viewers to know that extra can be revealed because the collection drops weekly from right here on out. She is aware of eyes are fixated on how they may deal with Alex’s story.

“Delving into the motives and intentions is going to take longer than one episode. Clearly, there’s a lot to unpack there,” she says. “And the storytelling is so heightened that a lot of things are going to happen along the way that I think you’ll be sympathetic one moment and angry another moment and confused, and there will be an explanation. If it makes you ask more questions, I can live with that.”

The unique, Cunningham says, was an icon of its time. “I feel like I have a spotlight on me in a good way, because you should do what scares you,” she says, anticipating the response each from the viewers and from Shut herself, who was not concerned within the retelling. “In terms of achieving what it was supposed to, it more than did that. Since then, we’ve all moved onto a place where we require different things from narratives. We want to know about emotions and intentions and psychology and neurology; what people were thinking and the narrative they’re constructing for themselves.”

Deadly Attraction‘s first three episodes at the moment are streaming on Paramount+, with the remaining 5 episodes releasing weekly on Sundays.



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