When the Michael Douglas-Glenn Close thriller "Fatal Attraction" opens Sept. 18 via Paramount, you may do a double take over one of the credits: "Screenplay by James Dearden, from his original screenplay."
See, in 1979, Dearden wrote/directed a 45-minute film, "Diversion." "Fatal Attraction" co-producer Sherry Lansing saw the film and hired Dearden to expand his script to feature length. Problems allegedly cropped up when "Fatal Attraction" director Adrian Lyne disputed Dearden's desired credit (neither Lyne nor Dearden returned our calls).
Grace Reiner, screen credit administrator for Writers Guild of America West, told us: "Dearden wanted a credit that read, 'based on a short film by . . .,' which we approved. I was told Lyne didn't want ("Fatal Attraction") to look like an adaptation, so he protested.
"Because Dearden's film was already produced, we couldn't give him a 'written by' credit. On the surface, the credit may look stupid or redundant, but it's the most accurate credit to resolve the situation given the circumstances."