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Why ‘Fatal Attraction’ is Redefining How We See Affairs of the Heart

by Joshua Brown
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“Fatal Attraction”, a movie from 1987, had a character played by Glenn Close. This character has a romantic relationship with a married man (Michael Douglas) and then would not let it go even after the man tried to end it. Because of this character, we now have the phrase “bunny boiler” which is used when talking about someone like her who won’t take no for an answer.

A TV show coming out this Sunday is based on a movie. It shows two main characters, Dan and Alex, and how they were wrong in having an affair. Amanda Peet stars as Dan’s wife Beth. The story follows two different timelines, with one at the time of the affair and another when their daughter Ellen (played by Alyssa Jirrels) is grown up.

When the offer to play Alex was posed, Caplan was unsure if she should accept it because she had a lot of questions. She began to watch “Fatal Attraction” again and couldn’t enjoy it like how it was meant to be enjoyed. She told Big Big News that Alex’s character seemed more complex than just being an evil person trying to ruin someone else’s life.

Joshua Jackson, who is in the show as Dan, agrees that Dan is shown as having done nothing wrong even though he is married.

In 2023, many people are shocked that Dan doesn’t have to take responsibility or feel bad for his actions in the movie. There seems to be a hidden negative opinion of women which is common from the time it was made. The story makes Dan look like he did nothing wrong and paints Alex as the bad guy.

Caplan and Jackson decided to act in the movie after they saw the script and figured out that it had lots of thrill and was shocking, but also dug deeper into why this affair happened.

Jackson added that the plot gave them more time to explore both characters’ feelings on a deeper level. Plus, viewers get to see what would happen afterward for Dan and understand that these things often don’t go away just because you wish for them to.

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Alexandra Cunningham and Kevin J. Hynes came up with an idea inspired by the 1987 movie they watched. Alexandra was curious to know what happened next to Dan and his family, especially if he married Beth and had a daughter, Ellen.

At the end of the movie, a photo of a perfect family was shown which gave off the feeling like “Everything will be okay now that this woman is gone”. Cunningham had questions like whether or not the child in the story would get any mental health help, if the couple would attend marriage counseling and if Dan (from the movie) would think about why such an event happened in his life so that he wouldn’t make this mistake again.

The TV show gives the character Alex a background story and includes her mental health, which may help explain why she acts the way she does. The actress, Caplan, wants to make it clear that this is not about mental illness but about how we as viewers have changed since then – “This was only this many years ago” and there’s no room for this type of story in today’s world.

In the last episode, there is a moment when Dan talks to grown-up Ellen and takes responsibility for his previous actions. This scene made Jackson feel very emotional.

Jackson said, “It was really hard to film that scene – I’m a dad now and my own father wasn’t there for me growing up. So when I was in the middle of that conversation, it felt intense and emotional in a way I didn’t expect.” He added that shooting that scene was an intense experience.

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