The way Susan Faludi tells it in her best-seller, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction is the most offensive in a string of movies showing working women as psychotic misfits. The director finds the charge silly.
”It’s not worth the paper it’s written on,” says Lyne, whose next movie, Indecent Proposal, involves a wife who considers bedding a wealthy stranger for $1 million. ”The implication,” he says, ”is that you should never make a movie that shows a career woman in a bad light. What can happen is a kind of pre-censorship, which says, I better not embark on that because I’m going to upset the feminists.”
Lyne, 50, worries more about upsetting moviegoers’ expectations. He says it was eagerness to entertain, not ideology, that led him to drop the Fatal Attraction ending in which Michael Douglas gets nailed. The revised finale, in which Glenn Close’s Alex is strangled and gunned down, was deliberately ”baroque and theatrical,” he says, since ”Glenn’s character made the preview audiences vociferous. They hated her long before I thought they would.” And giving moviegoers a white-hot catharsis, rather than leading them to an unexpected place, is what Lyne’s movies are all about.