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OUTTAKES

September 27, 1987|Leonard Klady

If you felt wrung out by Paramount's "Fatal Attraction," it could have been a lot worse. The thriller, in which married Michael Douglas has an indiscretion with Glenn Close that has terrifying repercussions, originally had an ultra-downbeat ending--Close commiting suicide but staging it to look like Douglas murdered her. (No way are we going to give away the ending they used.)

"I wrote both endings," said screenwriter James Dearden from Greece, where he's directing Avenue Pictures' "Pascali's Island." "You should talk to the producers--I really can't tell you why these decisions were made."

"Fatal" co-producer Sherry Lansing said the first ending "didn't pay off. It was great on the page, but when we saw it on film, it just wasn't satisfying. The studio agreed and we were able to go back and reshoot."

Test screenings also supported collective instinct, Lansing added: "We tested the new ending and it worked for audiences. I think the reviews and public response attested to that."

Maybe, but Calendar's Michael Wilmington wrote that the ending "subverts everything the story and the actors have built up previously. . . . It comes close to sabotaging both the movie and Close's almost great performance."

And Newsweek's David Ansen said of the new ending: "A smattering of psychological veracity gets cynically chucked out the window for the sake of cheap thrills."

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