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Lizzy Caplan and Joshua Jackson are ready for their seduction.
The two stars are taking on the iconic roles of Alex Forrest and Dan Gallagher — made famous by Glenn Close and Michael Douglas — for their TV reimagining of Fatal Attraction. The Paramount+ series of the same name launches April 30 with three episodes, followed by a weekly release on Sundays for the remaining five episodes.
The Fatal Attraction series is described as a deep-dive reimagining of the classic psychosexual thriller and ’80s cultural touchstone: “The new series will explore fatal attraction and the timeless themes of marriage and infidelity through the lens of modern attitudes toward strong women, personality disorders and coercive control.”
The newly released teaser trailer provides a first look at Caplan’s Alex and Jackson’s Dan, as they navigate the early stages of their affair. From an illicit elevator meet-up to a romantic montage, it’s only at the end of the first look that the cracks begin to show. The trailer ends with Dan arriving home to find Alex in conversation with his wife (played by Amanda Peet). When she introduces Alex, Alex casually replies to his horror, “I know him already.”
In the 1987 movie directed by Adrian Lyne, Douglas starred as Dan, the object of Alex’s (Close) obsession. The Oscar-nominated film was a box office hit and became a cultural touchstone, despite amassing a complicated legacy (as was detailed by Sherry Lansing in a book excerpt for The Hollywood Reporter) that includes Close, a mental health advocate, since vocalizing how she felt the film failed Alex, a woman battling mental illness.
“Now she’s considered one of the greatest villains ever, and that to me is a mistake. I’ve never thought of her as a villain, just in distress,” she told the New York Times. In a later conversation with THR, Close also shared her reaction to learning the film’s producers initially thought she wasn’t right for the part.
When speaking about taking on the project, Caplan, who starred on Masters of Sex and most recently wrapped her starring role on Hulu’s limited series Fleishman Is In Trouble, said that while she is a fan of the original film, the trope at the center of the story needed a 2023 update.
“In 1987, you could go to a movie about a married man who’s married with a child who has this torrid, weekend-long affair. Everything obviously goes haywire. She becomes obsessed with him, and we walk away feeling like that woman was evil, horrible, despicable, deserved to die. This poor man who made this one little mistake deserves nothing more than to ride off into the sunset with his wife and child. And thank God he prevailed against this horrible woman,” she recently said in an interview on NPR podcast Fresh Air. “When you watch it now, it’s very difficult to not have some follow-up questions about that. That version of the film can’t exist in 2023 because of these questions; because we’re now primed as audiences to want to know more about the woman, where she was coming from, and also to place some very well-deserved blame on the man.”
When speaking about taking on the famous story for an update at the 2023 Television Critics Association, showrunner Alexandra Cunningham explained that she wanted to go in a different direction, particularly when it came to portraying Alex.
“Alex Forrest is not a study in madness, but rather a sad, tragic, lonely woman under pressure from a really hard job,” she said. “This reimagining of Fatal Attraction shares a lot with the iconic original film, but it also is about entitlement and midlife crisis and how some of the sausage gets made in our broken justice system, as well as Cluster B personality disorders, isolation, of fathers and daughters and murder. It’s about how some people just can’t take a win. It’s about self-image and what we’ll do to protect it and also what happens when someone doesn’t have one. And if we’ve done our job, which these actors and their colleagues definitely did, they think that your sympathies will shift more than once.”
After news of the series was announced, Close shared hopes for the show to further explore Alex’s backstory, and take inspiration from the ending she wanted Alex to have: “I would be flattered if it was the one that we came up with [originally], but obviously I’ll be very curious,” she told Entertainment Tonight.
Jackson, meanwhile, has previously played out the aftermath of an affair for four seasons on Showtime’s acclaimed series The Affair, and most recently starred in Little Fires Everywhere and Dr. Death. He recently confirmed that the series will be set in present-day and will “delve much more deeply into that Glenn Close character.”
Rounding out the cast is Amanda Peet as Dan’s wife Beth Gallagher, Alyssa Jirrels as Ellen Gallagher, Toby Huss as Mike Gerard, Reno Wilson as Detective Earl Brooker and Brian Goodman as Arthur Tomlinson.
Showrunner Cunningham (Dirty John, Chance) is also a writer and executive producer on the Fatal Attraction series and shares co-story credit with executive producer Kevin J. Hynes (Perry Mason). Darryl Frank (The Americans) and Justin Falvey (The Americans) executive produce for Amblin Television. Silver Tree is also an executive producer and directed five episodes.
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