Joshua Jackson’s Portrayal of Cole on “The Affair” Would “Be Very Different” Now That He’s a Dad

Everett Collection

Image Source: Everett Collection

Joshua Jackson became a dad in 2020, and the experience has shaped how he approaches his onscreen characters – and even has the actor revisiting his past performances. While speaking to POPSUGAR about Paramount+’s streaming reboot of “Fatal Attraction,” Jackson reflects on a previous project that also dissected an extramarital rendezvous: “The Affair.”

In the first four seasons of the Showtime drama, Jackson starred as Cole Lockhart, a Long Island man grappling with the death of his young son, Gabriel, by secondary drowning – as well as the even more recent betrayal of his wife, Alison, who has embarked on a messy affair.

“Being a father now, and looking back at that performance that had a man who had lost a child, my portrayal of that would be very different now.”

“Being a father now, and looking back at that performance that had a man who had lost a child, my portrayal of that would be very different now,” Jackson, who shares a daughter with wife Jodie Turner-Smith, admits. “I look back at that as a sweet, innocent, and naive version of myself, who didn’t have any concept of what that would actually mean in life.”

Fatherhood has, inevitably, imbued every aspect of Jackson’s craft and also colored his approach to playing Dan Gallagher in this new “Fatal Attraction” adaptation. As was in the 1987 thriller, Dan’s liaisons with a contemporary named Alex (played originally by Glenn Close and now taken on by Lizzy Caplan) get out of hand, quickly, as both view their brief romance differently. Unlike the original film, Jackson’s series also explores the fallout from the affair many years in the future, including Dan’s recent release from prison after serving time for Alex’s murder. Present-day Dan is estranged from his now-grown daughter, a personal choice he made upon incarceration.

Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan in “Fatal Attraction”
Image Source: Monty Brinton/Paramount+

“I understand that it happens, right?” Jackson tells POPSUGAR of Dan’s decision. “My own father, from the time I was seven or eight-ish, ’til the time I was 18 or 19, I didn’t have any contact with him. I know that people make this decision, and I know that people, out of their own ego and a lot of times whatever goes on in the divorce, it becomes the children suffer because there’s a struggle between the parents.”

That being said, Jackson says that “it’s hard for me to conceive of, as a father, anything that would keep me away from my daughter at all. The story is ‘Fatal Attraction,’ but the piece that was for me so interesting was exactly that. How egomaniacal do you have to be to choose the preservation of your own self-image over the opportunity to raise your child?”

This choice paints the reality of who his character is, he says: Someone with “a monstrous ego . . . a monstrous personality.” And “that was a really interesting thing for me to get to dive into here.”

The first three episodes of “Fatal Attraction” are now streaming on Paramount+.

Related: Lizzy Caplan on How “Hugely Important” It Was to Evolve Alex’s Story in the “Fatal Attraction” Series

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