Producer friend: “Of course you know that the original filmed ending of Fatal Attraction had Glenn Close committing suicide and leaving a note behind that framed Michael Douglas for her ‘murder.’ The final scene is Douglas being taken away in handcuffs. The studio didn’t like the way it played and demanded that James Dearden write a new ending where Close is punished and Douglas gets off free. Close was so upset about the change that she refused to reshoot it, resulting in the studio threatening her with a massive lawsuit unless she complied. To this day Close loathes the movie and doesn’t even have it listed in her publicity bios.”

Me: “She really and truly doesn’t have Fatal Attraction listed in her studio bios? That’s ridiculous. That movie, manipulative and cheap as it was in some respects, was a high-impact H-bomb in cultural terms. It totally made her career. If Close hadn’t broken out of her domestic mom persona from The World According to Garp her career would have stalled. On top of which it wasn’t Paramount as much as advance-screening audiences who hated the original — HATED it. They loved it when Anne Archer got on the phone and told Close she’d kill her if she tries to destroy her marriage again. Read Sherry Lansing’s recollection in her new book. Test audiences wanted the witch to be killed.”

Producer friend: “Yes, of course — I know all this. My comments were about Close and how broken up she was about the change.”

Me: “Close needs to get down on her knees every day and thank God that she finally manned up and performed the exploitation ending. If she’d flat-out refused her career would have been toast 30 years ago, and she’d be doing off-Broadway stuff today, maybe, and living in a rent-controlled, one-bedroom Chelsea apartment, if that.”

Producer friend: “Of course I know this too. She was the 30th choice in line to play the part. No one in town wanted to play it. But not the point. My point was understanding why she was so upset. And remember that she got nominated for an Oscar for the role for a reason. Terrific job, total pro.”

Me: “Close was deeply upset because she thought Alex Forrest, however unbalanced, was a half-decent person who had a point…right? Alex Forrest was dangerously unhinged. Harboring a form of insanity. Hostility unbound. AF felt that because she and Michael Douglas ravaged each other over a single weekend that their fates were thereafter eternally intertwined — that their paths would henceforth be one and the same. Togetherness, parenthood…decreed by fate.

“Everyone knows that by the libertine standards of the late ’60s, ’70s and early to mid ’80s, a single weekend of great sex with a single person might signify an excellent start to a potentially great relationship…maybe. But a single weekend of sex with a married guy with a child meant “enjoy the moment but that’s all…this guy is totally 100% unavailable barring some extraordinary ocurence.”

“Any half-sane woman would completely understand that, but not Alex Forrest. Any half-sane woman embarking on a long-term affair with such a man would know that the odds favor heartbreak and sadness down the road, and that the wisest course would be to let it go. But not Alex Forrest.”

Producer friend: “Glenn Close was the first one to point out that her character was mentally unbalanced. She met with shrinks prior to filming to understand the character’s psychosis and discussed it at length to the press.”

Me: “Close acknowledged that Alex was deeply disturbed, and yet she preferred the ending in which Douglas gets indicted for Alex’s murder even though it was a total set-up? That makes a lot of sense.”