THE ORIGIN OF FEMME FATALES IN THE MOVIES

Femme fatale is the French phrase for “fatal woman” and she’s known as a man-eater.

She’s a seductive character who uses her womanly charms to attract men, who she will then use in several ways to get what she wants. This character type has played out in many movies over the years, as well as books and TV shows. Cleopatra is recognised as one of the first ever femme fatales, inspiring many more. This Egyptian queen is the first and most famous woman whose unsurpassed beauty was used to influence others and rule her kingdom. Testimony to this, is the countless movies, plays, books and games, including online versions that have been inspired by Cleopatra; all of which have gone on to be hugely successful.

Femme fatale characters are often referred to as vamps, as they were seen as some kind of sexual vampires. This is important to the origins of the femme fatale characters in movies, with a poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled “The Vampire” said to have inspired the first “vamp” film. The Vampire by Robert Vignola starring Alice Hollister was released in 1913, with Kipling inspiring another 2 years later by the name of A Fool There Was. These two movies were the dawning of femme fatales in the industry.

The 1940s and 1950s were important for the development of femme fatales even more, with movies such as The Maltese Falcon, Mildred Pierce, Leave Her to Heaven, Double Indemnity, The Killers and The Postman Always Rings Twice, all popular films where a female character shows manipulative and narcissistic intentions. Hitchcock’s The Paradine Case, which debuted in 1947, is one of the standout movies from the era. The character played by Alida Valli is responsible for causing the death of two men, while also playing a role in nearly destroying another.

Other films which were key in this period include Too Late for Tears, where Lizabeth Scott plays Jane, who does everything possible to keep some dirty money hidden for herself, which includes telling lies, using a gun and by poisoning people. Jane Greer, one of the most famous female actresses of all time, is renowned for playing the femme fatale role brilliantly. She used her feminine wiles brilliantly on Robert Mitchum in Out of The Past, as she looked to get exactly what she wanted.

Femme fatale characters are as popular today as they were back then, with there being a steady flow of films starring a female character who does everything she can to reach her goals, often including seduction, manipulation and murder. Movies such as Body Heat, Prizzi’s Honor, Blade Runner, Basic Instinct, To Die For, Original Sin, and Femme Fatale are all prime examples of how integral this character type has become since its inception over a century ago.

The specific role has also seen actresses become known for playing it well. An example of this is Marion Cottillard who’s an Academy Award Winning actress. She’s played a femme fatale numerous times in movies such as A Very Long Engagement, Inception, Midnight in Paris and the Dark Knight Rises. Nicole Kidman is another actress who has become synonymous with the role too over the years, starring as a femme fatale in several films.

SHARON STONE AND GLENN CLOSE TO STAR IN BASIC ATTRACTION

HOLLYWOOD – Glenn Close and Sharon Stone are to star in Basic Attraction.

Whether its boiling the bunny or flashing the beaver, Sharon Stone and Glenn Close owned illicit sex in the eighties and nineties. Now they’re back with a mash up of their successful movies Fatal Attraction from 1987 and Basic Instinct from 1992. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas explained the project to a sceptical Studio Exec:

You liked Alien? You liked Predator? Okay, so you get Alien Vs Predator and you get a movie that is twice as good as either, am I right?

Er… No. 

So we were talking me and Glenn and Sharon and we thought wouldn’t it be funny if we put Catherine Tramell and Alex in a film together and see what happens. They are both versions of female sexuality that for some reason threatened men. It’s weird. Overwhelmingly it is women who are the victims of sexual violence, but we keep making these femme fatale movies. It’s almost as if our jobs were to demonize the victims and skew the world so that the people who are responsible don’t ever have to face up to it. Anyway, they said, it’d be fun and so we’re going to do it.

Who’s directing?sharon stone

Adrian Lyne is going to do direct the first half and Paul Verhoeven is coming in to finish off.

What’s the story?

Catherine is writing a novel about Alex but Alex comes back to life and so they hunt down Michael Douglas in order to get their revenge.

So Michael Douglas is involved as well?

He doesn’t know yet. But yes he’s involved. And so are his pets.

Basic Attraction will be released in 2018.

US REMAKE OF ELLE TO STAR SHARON STONE

HOLLYWOOD – Paul Verhoeven’s hit film Elle starring Isabelle Hupert is to get a US remake directed by Paul Verhoeven himself and starring Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone.

Gus Van Sant did it with Hitchcock’s Psycho. Michael Haneke did it with himself and Paul Verhoeven is set to follow. A US set English language remake of controversial rape comedy Elle is to be filmed by the director himself. Sharon Stone stars in the lead. The Starship Troopers director spoke with the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY in the Studio Exec bungalow:

We knew that this film would have some legs, but we didn’t expect it to do so well in the US. It is a French language film, dealing with a controversial subject, but once I saw the response I knew I had to remake it.

How will the US version differ?

We want to do a shot for shot remake. Of course, the setting and the cast will change but everything else will continue.

Will you tone down some of the ambiguity?

 This has always been a worry with working in the US. They don’t really get nuance, but then again I’m not really a nuanced film maker. After all, this is kind of a comedy with a rape at the centre. A lot of people thought it was ambiguous because it was in French and starred Isabelle Hupert, but we shall see how they feel now that it is in English with Sharon Stone.

Is it good to be back together again?

Sharon Stone is the only American actress who could take on this role convincingly. Or Susan Sarandon. Actually Geena Davis would have been good. And Meryl Streep obviously, but she’s booked up until the end of next decade.

She will be released in 2018.