“The audience wanted to believe that that family might be able to survive, so they got their catharsis by shedding my blood,” Close, 71, tells PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview (streaming now on PeopleTV). “In the last scene, in the new ending, was the camera going to the family.”
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The actress, who stars in the upcoming drama in The Wife, did a plethora of research before approaching Alex Forrest, a woman who becomes obsessive and eventually commits suicide when her affair with a married man (Michael Douglas) doesn’t turn into a deeper relationship.
“The research I did with psychiatrists, even though they didn’t bring up a particular mental illness, we decided that she had been incested at a very, very early age by her father, long enough to really damage her,” Close says. “And that traditionally makes a very … Somebody who hates themselves. And many, many people who that has happened to, end up taking their own lives and never being able to achieve fulfilling relationships. That was the woman I was playing.”
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Now, over 30 years after the movie broke the box office and earned six Oscar nominations, Close imagines what the story would look like in 2018.
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“What I’ve been thinking of recently, though, is I think it would be wonderful to write that kind of story from her point of view,” she says. “That, I think, would be really interesting.”
The Wife hits theaters on Aug. 17.