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Fatal Extraction

July 03, 1988|Leonard Klady

You got the idea that James Dearden--Oscar-nominated for best original screenplay--was the sole writer on "Fatal Attraction"? So did we. But we've learned that writer-director Nicholas Meyer ("Star Trek II," ABC's "The Day After") contributed--and filed an arbitration beef with the Writer's Guild for co-writing credit.

Meyer said he hasn't seen the completed film and wasn't a part of the now-famous, rewritten ending. But: "I spent about five weeks providing the script with some top spin." He felt strongly enough about the "significance" of his contribution to ask for a shared credit, but a WGA arbitration concluded that "no other writer contributed to changing (Dearden's) story."

Meyer was told he could not appeal the decision, "only the process"--but was denied access to arbitrators' statements, so "it ended there." The arbitration process is seriously flawed, Meyer said. "Even with the best intentions, a lot of people aren't being properly credited and that hits not only one's pocketbook but also one's ego."

Dearden, currently scouting locations for an upcoming film in Germany, couldn't be reached for comment, but producer Stanley Jaffe confirmed that Meyer did some rewriting. But he added, "The guild made its decision, so I don't believe it fair of me to make further comment."

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