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To Stay True to Its Roots, Fatal Attraction Would Need British Accents

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When Fatal Attraction was released over twenty years ago, it was the second biggest movie of 1987 (and better-received than number one Three Men and a Baby ). That said, some critics felt that the film was more than a hit; it was a metaphor for the dangers of promiscuity in the age of AIDS. Others like Susan Faludi (Backlash: The Undeclared War on American Women) objected to its portrayal of a single business woman as violent homewrecker. But as American as the movie seems today, what it was missing was a British accent. How’s that?

British writer James Dearden’s screenplay is an expansion of his short film, Diversion, which starred a cast familiar to viewers of BBC. Dearden considered the original “a little fable about the perils of adultery. It is something that men and women get away with 99 percent of the time, and I just thought, ‘Why not explore the 1 time out of 100 when it goes wrong?'”

To expand the 42-minute short into a feature film, Dearden amped up what could go wrong and drew on other influences in the process — Greek mythology for his archetypal temptress (Glenn Close), and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for the ending (in which Close’s character takes her own life). The decision to let the wronged wife do the honors instead was pure Hollywood. Perhaps that’s what makes it feel so homegrown.

Click here for a full schedule of Fatal Attraction on AMC.

Click here to read how Glenn Close felt about the revised ending.

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