Fatal Attraction (1987)

R | 120 mins | Drama | 18 September 1987

Director:

Adrian Lyne

Writer:

James Dearden

Cinematographer:

Howard Atherton

Production Designer:

Mel Bourne

Production Company:

Jaffe/Lansing Productions
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HISTORY

According to a 28 Nov 1987 Screen International article, Fatal Attraction was a feature-length adaptation of the British short film, Diversion, written and directed by James Dearden in 1979. Following its positive reception at the Chicago Film Festival in 1980, producing partners Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe approached Dearden to expand the story, but the 5 Oct 1987 NYT stated that his script was rejected by Paramount president Michael Eisner and several other major studios on the grounds that the character of “Dan Gallagher” was too “unsympathetic.” In 1984, Ned Tanen took over as head of Paramount, and the project was approved for development.
       A 31 Oct 1985 LADN item reported the casting of Michael Douglas, who, according to production notes in AMPAS library files, accepted the role after meeting Jaffe on a flight to Los Angeles, CA. Dearden was originally attached to direct, but as the budget expanded to nearly $15 million, the studio decided to hire a more established filmmaker. While Brian De Palma was rumored to be involved, the position eventually went to Adrian Lyne, whose erotic drama, Nine ½ Weeks (1986, see entry), had recently surpassed box-office expectations.
       In the 20 Sep 1987 LAHExam, Lyne stated that he initially wanted French actress Isabelle Adjani to play opposite Douglas, but later decided to cast “against type” by selecting Glenn Close. A 9 Mar 1988 LAT news item suggested that Ellen Barkin was among those also considered for the role, but she strongly objected to the script’s anti-feminist undertones.
       According to the 1 Oct 1986 Var and ... More Less

According to a 28 Nov 1987 Screen International article, Fatal Attraction was a feature-length adaptation of the British short film, Diversion, written and directed by James Dearden in 1979. Following its positive reception at the Chicago Film Festival in 1980, producing partners Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe approached Dearden to expand the story, but the 5 Oct 1987 NYT stated that his script was rejected by Paramount president Michael Eisner and several other major studios on the grounds that the character of “Dan Gallagher” was too “unsympathetic.” In 1984, Ned Tanen took over as head of Paramount, and the project was approved for development.
       A 31 Oct 1985 LADN item reported the casting of Michael Douglas, who, according to production notes in AMPAS library files, accepted the role after meeting Jaffe on a flight to Los Angeles, CA. Dearden was originally attached to direct, but as the budget expanded to nearly $15 million, the studio decided to hire a more established filmmaker. While Brian De Palma was rumored to be involved, the position eventually went to Adrian Lyne, whose erotic drama, Nine ½ Weeks (1986, see entry), had recently surpassed box-office expectations.
       In the 20 Sep 1987 LAHExam, Lyne stated that he initially wanted French actress Isabelle Adjani to play opposite Douglas, but later decided to cast “against type” by selecting Glenn Close. A 9 Mar 1988 LAT news item suggested that Ellen Barkin was among those also considered for the role, but she strongly objected to the script’s anti-feminist undertones.
       According to the 1 Oct 1986 Var and 3 Jul 1988 LAT, writer-director Nicholas Meyer contributed to the screenplay. Although Var stated that Meyer worked on the project for roughly five weeks, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) arbitration ruled that his changes were not significant enough to warrant shared credit with Dearden.
       Production notes indicate that the eleven-week filming schedule began 29 Sep 1986. Principal photography took place entirely on locations in New York City and Westchester County, NY, including: Wall Street; Greenwich Village; Gramercy Park; Rockefeller Center; Central Park; Mr. Chow restaurant; La Goulue, a French bistro on the Upper East Side; and Club Broadway Latin disco bar. Production designer Mel Bourne reportedly consulted with the actors before styling the interiors of Dan and “Alex Forrest’s” Manhattan apartments. Although the 14 Nov 1986 Publishers Weekly claimed that filmmakers intended to use the notoriously messy office of Harper & Row executive editor Lawrence P. Ashmead to stand in for the office of Alex Forrest, the character’s workplace is never seen in the final film. The former Irene Selznick estate in Bedford, NY, doubled as the exterior of the Gallaghers’ suburban home, while interiors were shot at a house in Mount Kisco. Additional Westchester County locations included Rye Playland and the Westchester County Medical Center in Valhalla.
       As reported in an 18 Feb 1992 LAT article, the ending of Dearden’s original screenplay featured Alex successfully framing Dan for her murder, leading to his imprisonment. However, Lyne was unsatisfied with the conclusion, and decided to include a cassette tape that absolves Dan of guilt. In the shooting script, “Beth Gallagher” discovers the tape Alex gives to Dan, in which Alex threatens suicide. Once Dan is released from jail, Alex slits her own throat in a reenactment of the Giacomo Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly, which is referenced earlier in the film.
       Following the conclusion of principal photography, a completed cut of the film was screened for test audiences in Los Angeles; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA. Although several reports claimed that audiences demanded a harsher fate for Close’s character, Lyne insists he was solely responsible for changing the ending because he felt the final scene did not match the emotional drama of the rest of the story. Six months after principal photography wrapped, Lyne and the principal cast returned to Bedford for re-shoots, which the 5 Oct 1987 NYT estimated cost Paramount an additional $1.3 million.
       While Paramount shopped the film overseas, a 30 Oct 1987 LAT news item indicated that the original suicide ending received positive feedback among Japanese distributors. However, exhibitors agreed to let the studio test market both cuts for audiences, and the 20 Jan 1988 Var reported that Japanese moviegoers ruled in favor of the U.S. version. A 21 Jul 1994 DV brief stated that the alternate ending was screened on the Showtime network following the film’s cable broadcast premiere, and was later included as an extra in various home video formats, including the LaserDisc and DVD.
       The 23 Sep 1987 HR stated that Paramount, anticipating positive word-of-mouth, opened the film in just 758 theaters on 18 Sep 1987 before expanding to 1,100—1,200 theaters the following week. NYT listed an opening weekend gross of $7.6 million, and the studio’s strategy paid off: Fatal Attraction remained at the top of the box-office for eight consecutive weeks, as reported by the 18 Nov 1987 DV. Early the following year, a 2 Feb 1988 LAT box-office chart indicated that domestic earnings totaled $140.6 million to date, eventually becoming the second biggest hit of 1987 behind 3 Men and a Baby (see entry).
       Generally lauded among critics, Fatal Attraction received Academy Award nominations in the categories of Directing, Editing, Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium), Actress in a Leading Role (Glenn Close), Actress in a Supporting Role (Anne Archer), and Best Picture. The film ranked #28 on AFI’s 2001 list of 100 Years...100 Thrills, while Alex Forrest was named the #7 Villain on AFI’s 2003 ranking of 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.
       According to a 25 Mar 2014 review in The Guardian, Dearden’s stage adaptation of Fatal Attraction debuted at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London’s West End, and the 1 Jul 2015 HR announced that Paramount Television and producer Stanley Jaffe planned to develop the story as a short order “event series” to air on the Fox network.
       Fatal Attraction marked the theatrical feature debut of actor Jonathan Brandis.
       End credits state: “The Producers gratefully acknowledge the cooperation and assistance of: The Westchester County Medical Center; the Westchester County Office of Economic Development, Film Division; and extend special thanks to the people of the Village of Mt. Kisco, N.Y.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 Nov 1987.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1994.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 1987
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 2015.
---
LAHExam
20 Sep 1987
Section E, p. 1, 9.
Los Angeles Daily News
31 Oct 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Sep 1987
Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1987.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 Feb 1988
Section H, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
9 Mar 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
18 Feb 1992
Section F, p. 1, 7.
New York Times
18 Sep 1987
p. 10.
New York Times
5 Oct 1987.
---
Publishers Weekly
14 Nov 1986.
---
Screen International
28 Nov 1987.
---
The Guardian
25 Mar 2014.
---
Variety
1 Oct 1986.
---
Variety
16 Sep 1987
p. 13.
Variety
20 Jan 1988.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
A Jeff/Lansing Production
An Adrian Lyne Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
DGA trainee
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst photog
2d asst photog
Still photog
1st company grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
New York asst ed
New York asst ed
New York asst ed
Negative cutting by
SET DECORATORS
Chargeman scenic artist
Prop master
Prop person
Set dresser
Shop craftsman
Const grip
COSTUMES
Cost des
Women's costumer
Men's costumer
Asst to Ms. Mirojnick
MUSIC
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Foley
Foley
Foley
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opt eff by
Title des by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Scr supv
Prod office coord
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod auditor
Asst prod auditor
Asst prod office coord
Loc asst
Casting asst
Casting asst
Teamster capt
Unit pub
Extra casting - N.Y.
Asst to Mr. Lyne
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Asst to the prods
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
"Quincy" provided by
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the original screenplay for the short film Diversion by James Dearden (1980).
AUTHOR
SONGS
Selections From Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," performed by Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti & Christa Ludwig, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan, courtesy of London Records, a division of PolyGram Classics, Inc.
"Sabino," by Ramon Rodriguez, performed by Santiago Ceron, courtesy of Sabroso Recording Company, Inc.
"When I Fall In Love," by Edward Heyman & Victor Young, performed by Bill Evans Trio, courtesy of Riverside Records
+
SONGS
Selections From Puccini's "Madama Butterfly," performed by Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti & Christa Ludwig, conducted by Herbert Von Karajan, courtesy of London Records, a division of PolyGram Classics, Inc.
"Sabino," by Ramon Rodriguez, performed by Santiago Ceron, courtesy of Sabroso Recording Company, Inc.
"When I Fall In Love," by Edward Heyman & Victor Young, performed by Bill Evans Trio, courtesy of Riverside Records
"Echigo-Jishi," arranged by Hideaki Shibata, courtesy of King Record Co., Ltd.
"Itsuki No Komori-Uta," arranged by Hideaki Shibata, courtesy of King Record Co., Ltd.
"Alfie," by Burt Bacharach & Hal David
"Partie In G," by Pachelbel, performed by Jean-François Paillard Chamber Orchestra, courtesy of Erato Records, by arrangement with Musical Heritage Society.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Diversion
Release Date:
18 September 1987
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 September 1987
Production Date:
29 September--December 1986
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
8 October 1987
Copyright Number:
PA345214
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Lenses and Panaflex® camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28288
SYNOPSIS

While attending a launch party for his client’s latest book, New York City attorney Dan Gallagher meets the publisher’s alluring new editor, Alex Forrest. That weekend, Dan’s devoted wife, Beth, and their young daughter, Ellen, drive upstate to visit Beth’s parents and tour a potential new house in the suburb of Bedford. Dan stays behind to attend an impromptu work meeting, where he strikes up a connection with Alex. Afterward, the two go out for a drink, which leads to a passionate weekend together at her apartment. Early Sunday morning, Dan sneaks out of Alex’s bed and returns home. After learning that Beth has extended her trip, he receives a call from Alex, who convinces him to spend the day with her. While cooking dinner, they listen to Madama Butterfly, and Dan recalls a memory of seeing the opera with his father as a child. Alex expresses her desire to see him again, but Dan reminds her that the affair cannot continue because he is happily married. Distraught, Alex attempts suicide by slitting her wrists, forcing Dan to stay the night while she recovers. The next day, Dan reunites with his family and tours Ellen’s dream house in Bedford, which he reluctantly agrees to buy. Upon returning to work, he is surprised to find Alex waiting outside his office, and she apologizes for her behavior. As a “peace offering,” she invites him to attend a performance of Madama Butterfly, but Dan firmly declines. ... +


While attending a launch party for his client’s latest book, New York City attorney Dan Gallagher meets the publisher’s alluring new editor, Alex Forrest. That weekend, Dan’s devoted wife, Beth, and their young daughter, Ellen, drive upstate to visit Beth’s parents and tour a potential new house in the suburb of Bedford. Dan stays behind to attend an impromptu work meeting, where he strikes up a connection with Alex. Afterward, the two go out for a drink, which leads to a passionate weekend together at her apartment. Early Sunday morning, Dan sneaks out of Alex’s bed and returns home. After learning that Beth has extended her trip, he receives a call from Alex, who convinces him to spend the day with her. While cooking dinner, they listen to Madama Butterfly, and Dan recalls a memory of seeing the opera with his father as a child. Alex expresses her desire to see him again, but Dan reminds her that the affair cannot continue because he is happily married. Distraught, Alex attempts suicide by slitting her wrists, forcing Dan to stay the night while she recovers. The next day, Dan reunites with his family and tours Ellen’s dream house in Bedford, which he reluctantly agrees to buy. Upon returning to work, he is surprised to find Alex waiting outside his office, and she apologizes for her behavior. As a “peace offering,” she invites him to attend a performance of Madama Butterfly, but Dan firmly declines. Although they part on friendly terms, Alex is unable to accept the breakup and continually calls Dan at his office and at home. When he finally agrees to meet, Alex tells Dan she is pregnant with his child and plans to follow through with the pregnancy. After confirming the test results with her gynecologist, Dan panics and changes his telephone number in an effort to protect his family. However, as the Gallaghers prepare to move, Alex poses as a buyer interested in their apartment, and obtains their new phone number from Beth. Furious, Dan confronts her, but she threatens to tell Beth about their affair unless he agrees to take responsibility for the baby. As a warning, Alex dumps acid on the hood of his car and leaves him intimidating messages on an audio cassette tape. Dan attempts to file a restraining order, but police say they cannot implicate Alex without probable cause. One night, she follows Dan to his new home in the suburbs, and vomits at the sight of him spending time with Beth and Ellen. After visiting with Beth’s parents one afternoon, the Gallaghers return home to find Ellen’s pet rabbit boiling in a pot on the kitchen stove. That night, Dan tells Beth about his tryst with Alex and her supposed pregnancy. Before throwing him out of the house, Beth has her husband call Alex to inform her that the affair is no longer a secret. Beth threatens to kill Alex if she ever attempts to harm their family again. A few days later, Alex abducts Ellen from school and takes her to an amusement park, but safely returns her home after a few hours. While frantically searching for her daughter, Beth gets into a car accident that leaves her hospitalized. Seeking revenge, Dan drives into the city and attacks Alex in her apartment, nearly strangling her. Alex lunges at him with a knife, but he wrests the blade from her grasp and leaves without a word. Although police agree to question Alex, they are unable to find her anywhere in Manhattan. Beth returns from the hospital, and Dan prepares tea in the kitchen while she draws a bath. Suddenly, Alex emerges from the hallway brandishing a knife and corners Beth against the bathroom wall. The whistle of the kettle blocks out Beth’s screams for help. Eventually, Dan hears the scuffle and rushes upstairs. He attempts to drown Alex in the scalding bath water, and after a lengthy struggle, her body goes limp. As Dan breathes a sigh of relief, however, Alex revives, and rears up from the water. Beth appears in the doorway with a gun and shoots Alex in the chest. After escorting police outside, Dan returns to the house and embraces his wife. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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