Joshua Jackson and the Challenge of Reinterpreting Fatal Attraction
Fatal Attraction harkens back to a different time, when erotic thrillers could gross over $300 million on a $14 million budget. In 1987, its depiction of a psychotic Glenn Close threatening Michael Douglas’ character struck a chord with viewers, capturing the cultural anxieties of the period.
Today, cinema has lost its dominance to television, streaming, and video games. Studios have more success in streaming than in theaters, and a new generation of viewers questions how disorders are portrayed in fiction. Yet, Fatal Attraction remains a classic of its genre, a tale of sex, lies, and violence that left an indelible mark on viewers of all genders.
A History of Dangerous Women
Fatal Attraction is not the first, nor the only, film to feature a dangerous femme fatale. Noir classics depicted the women as black widows spinning sticky webs for their prey. Hitchcock films, including Psycho and The Fatal Call, continue to inspire filmmakers with their depictions of twisted female characters.
Reinterpreting Fatal Attraction
Joshua Jackson embodies the unfaithful Dan Gallagher in the newly released Paramount+ series, reinterpreting the character through a modern lens. Although Glenn Close initially garnered backlash from feminist critics, today, Alex is considered a hero by many men who felt the impact of the film’s themes of sex, lies, and violence.
Jackson acknowledges that from a modern perspective, the original movie is challenging to justify, and in the new series, it is about exploring actions and consequences. Instead of merely presenting characters’ actions, this series delves into who they are and why they do what they do. Jackson is excited to explore what happens to a man when his ego convinces him that he deserves to have an affair.
The series is not a remake but rather an original story, picking up where the movie left off and exploring the repercussions of the original events. Jackson defines the show as a “psychological thriller,” which explores the complexities of personality disorders in a modern context.
The Impact of Fatal Attraction
Fatal Attraction’s success was reflective of the zeitgeist when it was released. Decades later, the story’s themes remain impactful yet challenging. As society evolves, so do our approaches to storytelling. Some modern productions, such as Beautiful Revenge and I, Tonya, explore themes of female empowerment in the face of abuse by men, reflecting a contemporary sensibility.
In the end, Fatal Attraction’s legacy endures. It is a story of the human condition and the dangers of giving in to temptation and desire, one in which viewers can explore the complexities of human psychology and behavior.