Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh took on the role of Alex Forrest, the sultry and deadly villain of the iconic Fatal Attraction, which premiered as an iconic movie in 1987, but is currently enjoying life as a stage production, which opened at the Theatre Royal in Brighton last week.
The play also stars Oliver Farnworth. While Marsh starred on Coronation Street for 13 years as Michelle Connor, Farnsworth enjoyed a shorter stint on the same show from 2014-2017. The co-stars were reunited in some rather spicy scenes, made famous by Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in the film version which was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture.
The play premiere coincides with the announcement that Joshua Jackson (best known for the tv series Dawson’s Creek and Fringe) will be starring in a Fatal Attraction cable series airing on Paramount Plus, as the unfaithful husband, Dan Gallagher, who learns that Alex Forrest is not the one. If Dan thinks he can cheat on his wife and then blithely return to domestic bliss without a backward glance, following the one-night stand, he’s got a surprise in store. Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) is the femme fatale who will not be ghosted by the erring Dan.
Caplan played Virginia Johnson in the Showtime series Masters of Sex. Here’s hoping that she and Jackson can generate the kind of chemistry that might make it into a Masters and Johnson sex research tutorial.
Jackson is just coming off of a star-turn playing a homicidal surgeon in the Peacock cable series Dr. Death. In that role, he became more obese and disheveled, the more destructive his character grew. As Dan Gallagher, he will likely be called upon to show a more magnetic, appealing, then, vulnerable side, as he goes from hunter to hunted.
Jackson’s fans are lucky that he’s not starring in the stage production of Fatal Attraction, because frustratingly few have gotten to see his Broadway appearances. He’s had New York C,ity roles in Children of a Lesser God and Smart People, both directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon. Fans have clamored for him to take roles that are accessible to larger audiences, especially since he was so grossly underused on his last regular television show, The Affair, where he played, Cole Lockhart, a seldom seen supporting character on the Showtime undertaking.
Thanks to his co-lead in Fatal Attraction, audiences can expect to get both quality and quantity doses of Josh.
When the movie was released almost 35 years ago. Dan was largely seen as a victim who bit off more than he could chew, when he dallied with the psychotic Alex Forrest, putting not only his marriage and family at risk, but the very lives of his loved ones in peril. The plot can’t unfold quite as superficially in 2022. In the Children of a Lesser God revival, the storytelling suffered badly because the male character hadn’t grown over time. What was acceptable from William Hurt in 1986 was patronizing coming from the same character, as played by Joshua Jackson, in 2018.
The writers and producers of the upcoming Fatal Attraction series seem poised to usher in a new take on the obsessive Attraction story for today’s #metoo era. Nicole Clemens, president of Paramount Television Studios and Paramount Plus said that . “[Joshua Jackson] and Lizzy are perfectly matched to tell a nuanced and modern narrative about the complexities of the human psyche. We’re thrilled to partner with them to bring this provocative and captivating story to a new generation.”
Rather than just presenting Alex as a crazy bitch, I would expect that with hours to develop the characters, rather than minutes, the story will explore Alex Forrest’s borderline personality disorder, as well as the control issues that lead Dan to deceive his wife and then attempt to walk away from a dangerous liaison as if it never happened, without regard to the feelings provoked by it.
In the legal field, there is a saying that you take your victim as you find them. If you hit a strong, healthy person with your car, they will likely sustain less injury than a weak, unhealthy sole would. But that doesn’t mean you are any less responsible for the weak person’s injuries than you would be for the strong one’s. Your car damaged them both. If it damages them unequally and it costs you more to compensate the weak victim, that’s the risk you take when you’re negligent behind the wheel. You never know who you will hurt, when you engage in risky activities. I have a feeling this new version of Fatal Attraction will judge what Dan does just as closely as how Alex reacts to it.
Deadline first reported that Lizzy Caplan was cast as Alex last year. David Nevins is the Chief Content Officer at Paramount Plus and he also cast Caplan in Masters of Sex. He knows her range. Although Jackson first became famous as one of the child stars in The Mighty Ducks series in 1992, it seems that people are only recently becoming aware of his depth as an actor.
Even so, old perceptions die hard. When Alex and Dan first meet, I’m sure I’ll cry out, “No, Pacey. Don’t do it!” Jackson became famous playing America’s Favorite Boyfriend. I look forward to seeing him throw our collective trust away, with both joy and trepidation.