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Much has been made about the ending of Fatal Attraction. Before release, the ending was changed because test audiences didn't like it. However, apparently Glenn Close didn't care for the new direction. The actress who played Alex Forest in the 1987 thriller says that, from a character standpoint, turning the spurned woman into a psychotic killer just wasn't what right. It wasn't what she was all about.
I felt from all my research, I just didn't think she was a psychopath. I thought she was a deeply disturbed woman, but she's not a psychopath. So once you put a knife in somebody's hand I thought it was a betrayal of the character.
The original ending of Fatal Attraction was much darker than the violent end we got in the theatrical version. Having finally realized that Michael Douglas' character is not coming back to her, she takes a knife with his fingerprints on it and slices her own throat, framing him for her murder. Glenn Close feels that ending was much more in tune with the sort of damaged person that her character was. However, test audiences didn't like it because Alex essentially "gets away with it." In response, a new ending was filmed that had Alex invade the Gallagher family home in an attempt to kill both her former lover and his wife. She is eventually killed by a gunshot from the wife.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly both Glenn Close and Michael Douglas came together to talk about the famous film. It's clear they both loved the original ending that had been filmed. Close seems to have done a lot of work to portray her character in a way that made sense. As she says, putting the knife into her hand to try and kill people just didn't seem like the actions her character would take, at least to her.
Of course, there are other reasons to make decisions for movies beyond character psychology. Sometimes you have to make a decision because it's best for a film's commercial success. Hollywood is a business after all. Glenn Close doesn't discount this fact entirely. She realizes that from the standpoint of the film's success, the right decision was made.
But, now looking back I think I was right to feel the way I felt. I think they were right to change the ending for the sake of what it did for the movie.
While many have gone back and complimented the film's original ending once it was released on home video, it's likely that the majority of film audiences would have responded to that ending the way the test audiences did. It's possible that the film's initial success was in large part due to the change, which in turn would have brought more people to see the original ending.
Which ending do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.