Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What if "Fatal Attraction" had ended differently?

Who doesn't remember the chilling ending to Fatal Attraction, the 1987 thriller starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close? That suspenseful ending wasn't the original conclusion to the movie, which grossed more than $300 million in box-office earnings, and it was through the involvement of Joseph Farrell that the planned ending was changed.

Farrell, a marketing executive at Paramount Pictures, died on December 7 and his passing brought back the story of the drama surrounding the end of Fatal Attraction.

The original planned ending had Close's character, the psychopathic stalker to Douglas' Dan Gallagher, commit ritualistic suicide as she listens to a recording of "Madame Butterfly." Farrell insisted on testing the movie with preview audiences--and those consumers openly rejected the ending as unsatisfying. Given the findings, Farrell insisted that director Adrian Lyne re-shoot the ending. And, we all now remember that captivating finish where Douglas seemingly kills Close's Alex Forrest in a struggle in the bathtub, only to have her re-emerge and then be shot by Douglas' wife, played by Anne Archer.

The movie was nominated for six Oscars but would not have gained this critical and consumer acclaim if not for the efforts of the late Farrell, the unknown and offscreen hero of Fatal Attraction.

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