The interview was conducted just as "Rambo: First Blood Part II" was busting records. The irony was not lost on Lyne. "Can you believe it? You can't see the act of procreation on the screen--but you can see the termination of life. Endlessly and endlessly."
He sighed. "The thing is, you're making it sound as if all the editing means the movie is in trouble--as if it's covered in Band-Aids. But this is just the normal process of making a movie. You show it to people--again and again--until you get it right.
"We aren't making this movie for 30 people at the Fox Venice. At the same time, this is a breakthrough movie. It hasn't been done before."
Added Damon: "In a sense, this is an experiment that's taking place."
Lyne nodded, then motioned to Damon and Kalish. "I've got to say that these people have been real supportive. Please, whatever else you write, could you put that in?"
He smiled, adding, "Look--I never thought this movie was going to be an easy route. And it hasn't let me down."
The "9 1/2 Weeks" story line changed dramatically from book to film.
The change began with the screenwriters. In particular, King and Knop revised the woman character. "We wanted this experience to open her--not destroy her," said Knop. "We were so pro the woman--and so for her courage. We didn't want her to be broken at the end."
Added King: "The woman is going to be able to go on. The horrible thing about the man is that he can't move--he can't grow. He's going to keep repeating the pattern.
"We thought the ending should be moving and sweet, with the strength belonging to the woman, because she saw that pattern and realized its dangers. She knew she had to break it or destroy herself."
Together for 25 years ("since we were teen-agers--a lot of people aren't that lucky," smiled Knop), King and Knop believe that "9 1/2 Weeks" is, in part, about "breaking down walls."
Said King: "I think people build walls around themselves, the longer they're single. And I think it must be very frustrating for their relationships.
"The man (in the story) is surrounded by those walls. It's a question of whether he can break through them."
In the early scripts, King and Knop contrasted the contemporary, strictly sexual relationship with an enduring marriage of a couple that owned and ran the art gallery (in which Basinger's character worked).
Lyne brought a different vision to the project--and co-screenwriter Sarah Kernochan.
"More accessible. That's what Adrian wanted the movie to be," said Isaacs, who said that scenes of the older couple, and all the S&M elements were replaced by a scene at Coney Island, and seductions involving food and ice cubes. All offered the opportunity for visual artistry--Lyne's critically hailed forte. But in the end, admitted Isaacs, the film that was made was not the movie he set out to make. Not that he's upset: "Adrian knew what he wanted, and he did it. And I think he did a masterful job."
"You're not going to paint a sinister picture of all this, are you?" Lyne was at his farmhouse in the South of France when a reporter reached him by phone. He recalled the summertime interview ("I showed you some footage, didn't I?"), and admitted that since that time the film had undergone a considerable change.
"This is the story of a downward spiraling, self-destructive nightmare that the girl has to escape in order to save herself. But if I'd been totally true to the original script, then in the course of the movie audiences would have lost sympathy for the character.
"Listen, she's a bit off-kilter--in normal circles anyway. She is not straight down the line sexually. Well, audiences might not buy that kind of character. So I made some changes. Because if you have an audience turn off to your central character in the end, then you lose your whole movie. And you are dead and buried.
"So yes, I believe you must take audiences (at test screenings) seriously. Otherwise you'd be making 8-millimeter movies and showing them on your bathroom walls. You know what I mean?"
He laughed when asked if he felt relieved at having finally completed the film. "Somebody said about me, 'Adrian, the funny thing about you is that if there are two ways to go somewhere, you will choose the path with the brambles.' I think he was right."