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If ever there was a movie to teach the importance of faithfulness in a relationship, it’s Fatal Attraction. With the dynamic cast of Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, and Anne Archer, the film captivated audiences in 1987 and was nominated for six Academy Awards.
1. A short film inspired it.
The film was based on screenwriter James Dearden’s 1980 short film Diversion, which was made for British television. Producer Sherry Lansing saw the short film and believed it could be turned into a feature. “Diversion would not leave my mind. I had my own experience when I was rejected [by a man], and I felt like he took my soul,” Lansing said, describing her drive to get the film made.
2. A Cheers star was considered.
Debra Winger and Barbara Hershey both turned down the role of Alex. Kirstie Alley auditioned for the role as well. Interestingly, the same month the movie was released, she began as a regular cast member on Cheers. Even though she didn’t get the part, Alley still had a huge impact on the film. At the time the film was made, her then husband, Parker Stevenson was being stalked by a woman who left a message on Alley’s answering machine. Alley gave the message to director Adrian Lyne and the message ended up in the film verbatim.
3. Close dug deep.
To ensure that she understood the character of Alex, Glenn Close consulted with two psychiatrists. She had trepidations about filming the bunny boiling scene, but at the time the psychiatrists were able to assure her that a woman who had been abused as a child might resort to such behavior. “The astounding thing was that in my research for Fatal Attraction I talked to two psychiatrists,” Close said in a 2013 interview. “Never did a mental disorder come up. That, of course, would be the first thing I would think of now.”
4. There was almost a different ending.
Original screen tests ended with Alex killing herself while Madame Butterfly played. She committed the act in such a way that Dan (Michael Douglas’ character) would be pegged as the murderer. However, test audiences were dissatisfied with the ending, so the studio ordered a new one and gave an additional $1.5 million to get it done. Close was against change. She felt the new ending was a disservice to her character. “It was going to make a character I loved into a murdering psychopath,” she said. Close fought against the studio for two weeks before relenting.