ET Flashback: Lust and 'Fatal Attraction'

by David Weiner 2:00 PM PDT, September 19, 2012
Playing ET Flashback: Lust and 'Fatal Attraction'

It was 25 years ago in September that the combustible chemistry of Michael Douglas and Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction stunned audiences and had everyone talking long after they left the movie theater. Now, we're flashing back with vintage footage from the set and a sit-down with a fortysomething Douglas who said he took the project because it was all about "lust."

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"I said to [producer Stanley Jaffe] I always wanted to do a movie about lust," recalled Douglas. "How it destroys somebody's life and his career and his marriage, and he said, 'Funny you should mention that...' Three-and-a-half-years later, here we are."

The story of a happily married man (played by Douglas) whose brief indiscretion with a mysterious woman (Close) turns into a deadly nightmare when she declares, "I won't be ignored!", Fatal Attraction became one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1987 and was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture. Directed by Adrian Lyne of 9 1/2 Half Weeks fame, the film also starred Anne Archer.

"I think everybody's human and everybody can be prone to making a mistake," explained Douglas. "I think Fatal Attraction really is not even so much about adultery as you're always responsible for your actions – most of the time you get away with it, but every once in a while … you might get caught."

He added, "The exciting thing is [audiences] are going out of the theaters and stopping at their cars and they're arguing for the next hour, hour and a half about who was right and who was wrong … so it seems to be touching somebody. That's all you really want to do in a movie, is two hours of great entertainment and a little aftertaste – you go out and it kind of keeps you thinking for a while."

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Watch the video for the moment when director Lyne interrupts Douglas' interview with ET -- and sits on his lap to talk about "choreographing" the film's sex scenes -- drawing lots of nervous laughs from everyone in the room.