Glenn Close regrets ignorance of mental illness for hit role
Honoured at Kingston, Ont., university after co-founding mental health group
All these years later, actor Glenn Close has regrets over how her character Alex Forrest was portrayed in the movie Fatal Attraction.
She talked to Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC Radio's The Current, about how she has since learned about the complexities of mental illness since the film was released in 1987 and how she would do things differently.
"I probably now would not accept that role. I'm very, very cognizant now of exploiting mental illness, for it to be the antagonist in a story. It's an easy way to go, but it just keeps the stigma and discrimination going," the actor said.
Close has acknowledged in interviews earlier this month how the character — who becomes violent after her married lover ends the affair — was presented simply as a deranged jealous woman, and how she herself was ignorant about mental illness when she was researching the role.
Close was speaking to CBC in Kingston, Ont., where she was to receive an honourary degree on Thursday for her work in mental health. She is the co-founder of BringChange2Mind, an organization that works to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.
Close said it's important that people not feel isolated when they need support and treatment.
"The most powerful way to change someone's attitude and behaviour around mental illness is to hear stories and realize that we are all incredibly connected and that you're not in isolation."