Lizzy Caplan on remakes: ‘My knee-jerk reaction is always why would we do that?’

Lizzy Caplan is a working actress who consistently turns in great performances. She can do comedy, horror and drama convincingly and she doesn’t keep her personal life under wraps but she’s not on social media. I’ve seen interviews with her but don’t feel like I “know” her, like I do other actors. Caplan stars as the Glenn Close character, Alex, in a Fatal Attraction remake series on Paramount Plus. It just premiered yesterday. Amanda Peet plays the wife and Joshua Jackson is the cheater Dan, originally played by Michael Douglas. It’s in the trailer so it’s not a spoiler to say that it takes place in flashbacks while Jackson is in jail ten years later for Caplan’s murder.

Caplan has a new interview with Rolling Stone. I just learned from that piece that she has an 18-month-old son, Alfie, with her husband of six years, British actor Tom Riley. Caplan and Riley move to where their jobs are and live in both London and New York. She dryly joked to Rolling Stone that they would have to set down roots once Alfie needed to go to school. Here’s more from that interview.

On her baby and lifestyle
Because I feel like I’m a 700-year-old woman with a baby who wakes up at 6 am. I’m really relishing this time off.I’m trying to bank as much time as possible with my kid. It’s great because he’s 18 months now, which is an extremely hilarious and fun age. But, as anybody who has a baby that age knows, it’s very exhausting. So I hang with him, and then I basically faceplant at the end of the day.

I can’t imagine actually only living in one place — I get bored. We like to switch it up. But it’s also SO MUCH paperwork to live in two countries. I’m just thinking about that sentence written down and what a douchey, douchey sentence it is. It’s soooo haaard to live in two countries.

We go wherever our jobs are… We’ve been doing that since we’ve been together, which has been eight years. But now we’ve got a kid. So the clock is ticking. We can’t do this forever. Like eventually, I guess we have to educate him.”

On the Fatal Attraction reboot
I’m as guilty as anybody else when I hear that something is being remade. My knee-jerk reaction is always, ‘Well, why? Why would we do that?’

But Fatal Attraction, there’s something so unique about it in that it is a film that fully holds up, It’s just as sexy, exciting, and scary, and the performances are just as compelling as they were in the ‘80s. And yet, audiences — and the world — have changed so dramatically. Our sensibilities have shifted completely to the point that [the original] Fatal Attraction, I truly believe it couldn’t exist today. Because we want to know more about where the Alex Forrest character is coming from. We want to see the Dan character suffer consequences for his actions. At the end of the movie, they zoom in on a photo of the family, like, ‘Domesticity wins!’ And I just feel like [today] we are more primed to look for gray areas and nuance.

On her character’s psychology
Alex is living in constant fear of abandonment. We’ll get to see more of her upbringing, her family life. I think for her, it’s a combination of brain chemistry, upbringing, and circumstance. So we wanted to take all of that really seriously without saying, ‘Oh, this is a detailed portrait of somebody with borderline personality disorder,’ because it certainly is not.”

On how things have changed since Fata Attraction was made
We’re almost shifting back into a prude-er way of being. I do think it’s a strange time in our society where, on one hand, things feel hyper-sexualized in terms of your appearance, on social media, and flaunting your body in that way. Yet it also feels removed from actual sexuality and eroticism and all the things that made these erotic thrillers work back in the day. There’s a distance between the sexiness of Instagram and actual sexiness.

[From Rolling Stone]

There’s more in the piece about how sad she was to miss the Party Down revival (a half truth, as the author reveals but I won’t spoil it) and she promises to be in season four. They also talk more about Alex’s mental illness, and how careful both Caplan and the showrunner, Alexandra Cunningham, were to portray it as both nuanced and not representative of everyone with borderline personality disorder.

As for remakes, she’s saying what most of us think about them – there’s no need, why revisit that masterpiece, don’t ruin the original/my childhood. This looks fabulous though, and Caplan’s interview really sold me on it. I like how the streaming services are giving us so much content, both original and remakes. Some of the remakes are unnecessary but some appeal to our nostalgia (Gilmore Girls, The Conners) and others, like this one, take a compelling story and tell us what’s next. I’ll give this a chance and I bet once I see an episode or two I won’t be able to imagine another actress in Caplan’s place. She’s that good.

photos credit: Ryan Hartford/

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