Early preview audiences for the erotic drama "Unfaithful," starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere, saw a slightly different ending than the one that will debut in theaters on Wednesday in Los Angeles (and Friday nationwide). Without giving anything away, the new ending is more ambiguous than the original version.
Why the last-minute change of heart? "The ending now is the one that [screenwriter] Alvin Sargent originally wrote, and I thought it would be more interesting and provoke more discussion," says the film's director, Adrian Lyne.
The last time Lyne changed the ending of one of his movies was on another erotic tale about adultery, the smash hit "Fatal Attraction" (1987), and that was in response to preview audiences' reaction. In the original, the Glenn Close character commits suicide, implicating the adulterous Michael Douglas. Lyne re-shot it, providing a more "operatic" revenge-style finale. Both endings are now available on the new DVD of "Fatal Attraction." "Some people like the original ending. I always thought it was a bit flat," Lyne says.
In "Unfaithful," a 20th Century Fox film, Lane plays a suburban housewife whose marriage to husband Gere is imperiled when she has a torrid affair with a French bookseller (Olivier Martinez).
Unlike "Fatal Attraction," the altered ending for "Unfaithful" was not based on test audience input. "It was just a hunch," says Lyne. Based on "anecdotal" reaction, Lyne is confident he's made the right choice. Though the altered conclusion is not likely to engender as much controversy as "Fatal Attraction," Lyne says, "I think it will cause more debate. It treats the audience like adults, and I've found that it's always dangerous to underestimate the public."