What female villains have you completely believed in, and why? I could go on and on about my faves, but the key element is that you believed they weren’t just “playing” villainy but living in caves of their own choosing or creation.
In no particular order: Barbara Stanwyck‘s Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity, Meryl Streep‘s Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, Jane Greer‘s Kathy Moffet in Out of the Past, Margaret Hamilton‘s Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, Kathy Bates‘ Annie Wilkes in Misery, Louise Fletcher‘s Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Sharon Stone‘s Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct, Bette Davis‘s Baby Jane Hudson in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, etc.
I didn’t believe in Margot Robbie‘s Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad) at all. Her performance was all about extreme-playdough mannerisms, posturing, makeup and wardrobe. All I believed was that Robbie had been hired because she’s hot.
I’ll tell you who I believed in 110% — Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. The capsule definition of Alex Forrest was that of a manic, lion-haired feminist banshee who tried to leverage a single night of mad, passionate sex with Michael Douglas into a knife or a bomb that would detonate his marriage. But I didn’t really believe in that — that’s what the research-screening audiences saw. What I believed in was Alex’s instability and emotional desperation, and that made her scary. The scariest thing she said was “I won’t be ignored, Dan!”
Fatal Attraction will be 30 years old as of 9.18.17.
Here’s an excerpt from Stephen Galloway‘s “tell-some” book about Fatal Attraction producer Sherry Lansing‘s struggle to make the film come together — “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker.”