‘Fatal Attraction’ Stars on Updating the Original (With a New Rabbit Scene) and Feedback From Glenn Close: “Don’t F*** It Up” – Hollywood Reporter

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Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan star in the reimagined Paramount+ series, which Caplan says goes beyond the narrative of “nice guy, horrible woman, must die.”
By Kirsten Chuba
Events Editor
Even the cast and creative team behind Fatal Attraction know it’s a tall task to remake the hit 1987 film as a Paramount+ series, and admit to all having hesitations when first hearing the pitch.
“My first thought was, ‘Man that’s crazy, why would you want to do that?’” recalled Joshua Jackson, who takes over the Dan Gallagher role from Michael Douglas; Lizzy Caplan, who plays Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest role, also questioned, “Why would you do that? It’s perfect.”
But after conversations with showrunner Alex Cunningham (who herself almost turned down the job when Paramount asked her to find a new way to explore the film), the two were hooked by the new focus on marriage, infidelity and mental health that the original did not explore as deeply. In the series Dan is married (to Amanda Peet’s Beth) and has an affair with Alex, which escalates to a life-threatening situation.

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“I feel like the narrative of the film — which is like, ‘Nice guy, horrible woman, must die’ — I think it’s really promising how far we’ve come as a culture where now audiences want to know, ‘Well, wait a minute, let’s talk more about her, her possible mental illnesses, her upbringing,’” Caplan told The Hollywood Reporter at the Los Angeles premiere on Monday. “And let’s maybe have him suffer some repercussions in his own personal life. It’s one of the few examples of something that made sense to me to go back.”
Close herself has talked about her frustrations with the film in how her character was treated, and several of the series’ members revealed they had spoken to her about the update.
Jackson said he bumped into Close and told her about the show “and her reaction was a little bit lukewarm because I think for her — and she’s been vocal about this, this isn’t me opining — there’s frustrations for her about how Alex Forrest’s struggle with her mental health was portrayed in the film, and how that was just reduced to ‘she’s a crazy lady’ trope. And so I told her honestly that’s kind of the point of what we’re doing here, is we’re going to dive into that. He’s going to have more consequences for his actions and she’s also going to have a fullness of her story and an explanation of the who and how and why she is who she is.”
“She actually liked that idea and essentially the conversation boiled down to, ‘Interesting, don’t fuck it up,’” he joked. Cunningham also had her own interaction, when she hired Rick Caroto — who is Close’s personal hairstylist — as head of the show’s hair department. Caroto mentioned that Close was always saying someone should remake the project with a focus on mental health, and Close had him give Cunningham her email if she wanted to chat.

“I really thought about it and then I was like, you know what, so many people are going to ask her if she’s seen it and what she thinks, and she’s so kind that if we brought her into our inner sanctum, she’d feel like she couldn’t say she didn’t like it,” Cunningham explained. “So I sent her a long email like, ‘Look, I would love nothing more than to use this excuse to get close to you, but honestly I want you to be able to tell people if you don’t like it, and I know you wouldn’t do that if you liked us.”
The showrunner is hoping to find out at some point what Close thinks, saying, “I feel like we did our version of what she’s talked about wanting to see, and I think we did it with as much respect and empathy as we possibly could. I think you can see Lizzy’s struggle and pain the way you could see Glenn’s and I think even if she doesn’t love the writing, she’s going to love the performance. I’m terrified but I also know there’s things about it she’s going to love.”
And as for the iconic rabbit scene in the original, Cunningham said she knew there had to be a bunny in some form, but “if you’re trying to tell a story where you’re trying to humanize someone with mental health struggle, for better or worse we know they can’t kill an animal.”
“We definitely wanted the rabbit to be a real part of it, but I came in knowing I wasn’t going to kill it,” she added. Caplan teased that from her view, “Times have changed, and yet I would argue that killing a rabbit maybe would have been better than what she actually does in the show. It’s been very funny, obviously it’s one of the most iconic parts of that movie, but there’s a bloodlust to people when they ask that question, ‘what happens to the rabbit?’ People want that rabbit to die.”

Fatal Attraction starts streaming Sunday on Paramount+.
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