USA TODAY US Edition - - LIFE - Bryan Alexan­der @BryAlexand USA TO­DAY

Glenn Close was mes­mer­ized when she read the script for

1987’s Fa­tal At­trac­tion and her now-in­fa­mous char­ac­ter, Alex For­rest.

Then she got to the part where Alex takes in­sid­i­ous revenge on Dan Gal­lagher (Michael Dou­glas), the fam­ily man with whom she’s had a tor­rid week­end af­fair. The Gal­lagher fam­ily’s bunny ends up boil­ing on a stove­top.

“That script was so com­pelling, as I was read­ing it, it kind of changed my chem­istry. But then the bunny-boil­ing part re­ally stuck out, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s kind of over the top,’ ” Close, 70, re­calls. “But I couldn’t get that out of my mind.”

Thank you, Ms. Close, be­cause shocked au­di­ences will never get that scene out of their minds, ei­ther.

Di­rec­tor Adrian Lyne’s out­ra­geous R-rated moral­ity tale blew up at the box of­fice, spend­ing eight weeks at No. 1 af­ter its re­lease on Sept. 18, 1987. It gar­nered crit­i­cal ac­claim and six Os­car nom­i­na­tions (in­clud­ing best picture and a best-ac­tress nom­i­na­tion for Close) and re­mains No.

28 on the Amer­i­can Film In­sti­tute’s list of the 100 great­est Amer­i­can thrillers, right be­hind

1977’s Star Wars.

And no one ever for­gets that scene where Gal­lagher’s un­sus­pect­ing wife Beth (Anne Archer) finds the fam­ily’s pet in a steam­ing pot — made all the more in­tense by Lyne’s re­cent rev­e­la­tion that an ac­tual boiled rab­bit was used in film­ing.

“It’s the one mo­ment that caused peo­ple to tell their friends to see Fa­tal At­trac­tion when it was in the­aters,” says Dave Karger, spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent for film site IMDb.com. “And 30 years lat- er, it’s still the most iconic crazyper­son movie scene of all time.”

Close, whose bur­geon­ing ca­reer prior to Fa­tal At­trac­tion was dom­i­nated by nur­tur­ing roles in hits such as The Big Chill, The Nat­u­ral and The World Ac­cord­ing to Garp, reached su­per­star heights and film immortality with that char­ac­ter and mo­ment. Alex For­rest ranks No. 7 on AFI’s list of top all-time vil­lains. “Bunny boiler” ap­pears in nu­mer­ous dic­tio­nar­ies, de­fined as an “emo­tion­ally un­sta­ble” and “dan­ger­ously venge­ful” per­son.

Be­fore the bunny boils, Alex is seen peer­ing into the Gal­lagher house­hold from the bushes. She be­comes phys­i­cally ill watch­ing Dan give his young daugh­ter the rab­bit as a gift, which trig­gers the de­vi­ous act.

“I took the script to sev­eral dif­fer­ent psy­chol­o­gists and said, ‘Please tell me if this be­hav­ior is pos­si­ble?’ ” says Close. And the an­swer? “Oh, yeah.”

Close’s the­ory on Alex’s back­story: She was a vic­tim of in­cest in child­hood, prompt­ing her men­tal in­sta­bil­ity.

“And it was that ex­plo­ration that made me re­ally love Alex and al­lowed me to have great em­pa­thy with her,” says Close. “I have never thought of her as one of the great evil char­ac­ters in the 20th cen­tury.”

The ac­tress saw first­hand how well the ex­plo­sive chem­istry be­tween Dou­glas’ Dan and Close’s Alex held up when she showed the film at In­di­ana Univer­sity in 2015 as part of the col­lege’s guest film­maker lec­ture se­ries.

“They were blown away by it. I hope some­how gen­er­a­tion af­ter gen­er­a­tion will be in­tro­duced to this pow­er­ful film that touches on very im­por­tant is­sues,” says Close, “And the fact that ‘bunny boiler’ is in the dic­tionary now, I just think it’s great.”


Alex For­rest (Glenn Close) has a break­down in Fa­tal At­trac­tion, now cel­e­brat­ing its 30th an­niver­sary on dig­i­tal HD at iTunes.

Be­fore Alex (Close) boiled that bunny, she had an in­tense week­end of pas­sion and food with Dan Gal­lagher (Michael Dou­glas).

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