1 of 5 | "Fatal Attraction" -- starring Lizzy Caplan and Joshua Jackson -- premieres Sunday. Photo courtesy of Paramount+
NEW YORK, April 30 (UPI) -- Castle Rock and Masters of Sex actress Lizzy Caplan says her eight-part, Paramount+ series reimagining of the 1987 movie thriller, Fatal Attraction, takes the time to explore who Alex Forrest is and why her relationship with Dan Gallagher becomes so toxic.
Premiering Sunday, the show follows married Dan as he engages in an extramarital affair with work colleague Alex, who later threatens his family, career and, ultimately, his freedom when he tries to leave her. Amanda Peet, Alyssa Jirrels, Toby Huss and Reno Wilson co-star.
"I see Alex Forrest as an inherently very lonely person, a romantic person, somebody who wants to believe in her own happy ending, in a way, an optimist, as well as being very, very damaged by many people along the way, starting from her childhood," Caplan told UPI in a recent Zoom interview. "I see her as somebody who needs a lot of help."
Dr. Death and Fringe alum Joshua Jackson described Dan as "a fragile product of privilege who is not really ready to examine himself and not fully prepared to deal with what life brings him."
"Time is a great gift that we have in contrast to the movie," Jackson said. "We take that time to delve into these characters -- who they were before they meet each other and who they are after they meet each other."
The series explains how the romance slowly started, then devolved into something dangerous.
"It also gives the actual incident of their affair more meat around it and shows the levels of transgression that happen between the two of them," Jackson said.
"There is the flirtation, which, obviously, for him is outside of what is acceptable as a married man," he added. "There is the physical affair, which is a whole other quantum step up and then there is actually a creation of emotional intimacy between the two of them, which is where I think things go haywire. When Dan offers that space to Alex, that's when she starts to get so confused about what the dynamic is going to be."
"They really do have a connection that is just not a physical connection," she said. "They dig each other."
Jackson called Dan and Alex products of their environments with similar flaws in their psyches and personalities.
"At the core, there are some pieces missing and he's been given, through his journey through life, all of the armor, the protection to at least present as a more functioning person," he said.
"The thing that attracts them to each other is that some of those broken pieces are recognizable to each other immediately."
Caplan and Jackson are huge fans of the original film, which starred Glenn Close and Michael Douglas, but they were excited to retell the story to reflect 2023 attitudes about women, dating, mental illness and violence.
"We definitely made the show with great reverence towards the film," she said.
"It's one of those movies that I remember watching when I was very young and had certain takeaways at that age that then shift as I have gotten older, things that resonate and change."
Jackson added: "The film is still excellent. The moment in time that it comes from, we have moved on from that culturally.
"The film is untouchable. You don't need to tell that story in that way again because it still works, but if you are going to examine that story, you need to bring it in and examine it in the place that we are in 2023."
Caplan acknowledged audiences are very different now than they were in 1987.
"Those of us who watched the film years ago feel a certain way about it. It was pretty universally loved and it's still considered very scary and erotic. It still ticks all the boxes," she said.
"But I think if you were to show the film to a 20-year-old today, it wouldn't really make a lot of sense to them because there is so much more conversation around mental illness. We are far less comfortable blaming the woman for everything in the situation."