Lizzy Caplan and Joshua Jackson come face-to-face in ‘Fatal Attraction’ first look

The Paramount+ series is shifting the story to be from Alex’s perspective.

Samantha Highfill

“Alex is famous as the bunny boiler, but there’s probably more to say about that.” Alexandra Cunningham wasn’t sure she wanted to make a Fatal Attraction series when Paramount+ first approached her. But the opportunity to expand upon Alex Forrest’s story was simply too enticing for the showrunner.

Alex Forrest, as originally played by Glenn Close, became known as the bunny boiler in the 1987 film of the same name, which followed New York lawyer Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas) as he began an affair with book editor Alex. And let’s just say Alex didn’t appreciate it when Dan wanted to stay with his wife.

“I did a lot of reading about the film and Glenn Close talking about the empathy she had for Alex, and how she felt that Alex was out of control and obviously not evil, which I definitely agree with because I don’t believe in evil,” Cunningham tells EW. “Glenn talked about how, when she was doing the character work on Alex, she brought the script to two different psychiatrists, and neither one of them brought up mental illness, because it was the ’80s and nobody did that. She’s become such a mental health advocate since then, and it makes me sad that she’s said that she feels responsible for a lot of the stigma toward mental illness in pop culture because of her portrayal of Alex. She’s also said that she felt that it would be interesting to literally tell the exact same story, but from Alex’s point of view, and I kind of sparked to that.”

Fatal Attraction

Lizzy Caplan and Joshua Jackson in ‘Fatal Attraction’

| Credit: Monty Brinton/Paramount+

With that idea of shifting perspectives guiding her, Cunningham started writing the show. And all the while, she had one actress in mind to step into Alex’s shoes: Lizzy Caplan. Thankfully, for Caplan, the project was an easy “yes.”

A big fan of the film, Caplan immediately saw that there was more to explore. “In the film, Alex is the villain of the story, and Dan is the hero and there is no gray area,” Caplan says. “Now, audiences have changed so much, we are no longer primed to believe in this villainous woman story. She’s clearly mentally ill and that’s not something that is really touched upon at all in the movie.”

“There’s a lot to unpack with her,” Caplan continues. “She has a full backstory and a full point of view in our show. With a limited series, there’s an opportunity to take more time getting to know all of these characters.”

Playing the Dan to Caplan’s Alex is Joshua Jackson. “I’m so happy that Josh is playing this role,” Caplan says of Jackson, whom she’d never met prior to this series. “He was the greatest partner. We had to do some pretty full-on stuff with each other. It’s an erotic thriller, and there’s also quite a bit of physical violence, which requires so much trust with your scene partner, and I trusted him every step of the way.”

With Caplan and Jackson at the center of the story (along with Amanda Peet as Dan’s wife, Beth), Cunningham hopes to bring Fatal Attraction into present day, all the while honoring what came before.

“We want to entertain people who are familiar with the touchstones of the original movie, but also people who have no idea what it is,” Cunningham says. “If people are interested, we want them to be able to jump in and enjoy it for its own merits, even if they don’t have context for bunny boiling.”

Fatal Attraction will hit Paramount+ in early 2023.

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