Joshua Jackson’s portrayal of Cole in “The Affair” would be “very different” now that he’s a dad

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THE AFFAIR, Joshua Jackson, (Season 2, Episode 211, aired December 13, 2015).  ph: Mark Schafer / Showtime / courtesy of Everett Collection

Image Source: Everett Collection

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

The first four seasons of the Showtime drama starred Jackson as Cole Lockhart, a Long Island man struggling to cope with the death of his young son, Gabriel, from secondary drowning — as well as the even more recent betrayal of his wife, Alison, who has embarked on a messy affair.

“Now that I’m a father, and looking back at that performance with a man who had lost a child, my picture of it would be very different now.”

“Now that I’m a father, and looking back at that achievement with a man who lost a child, my view of it would be very different now,” admits Jackson, who shares a daughter with his wife Jodie Turner-Smith. “I look back on that as a sweet, innocent and naive version of myself, who had no idea what that would mean in life.”

Inevitably, fatherhood has permeated every aspect of Jackson’s craft and also colored his approach to playing Dan Gallagher in this new “Fatal Attraction” adaptation. As in the 1987 thriller, Dan’s hookups with a contemporary named Alex (originally played by Glenn Close and now taken over by Lizzy Caplan) quickly spiral out of control as both view their brief romance differently. Unlike the original film, Jackson’s series also explores the fallout from the affair many years into 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 after his incarceration.

Lizzy Caplan as Alex Forest and Joshua Jackson as Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction Episode 3 Season 1 streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo credit: Monty Brinton/Paramount+

Joshua Jackson and Lizzy Caplan in “Fatal Attraction”

Image source: Monty Brinton/Paramount+

“I understand it happens, right?” Jackson tells POPSUGAR about Dan’s decision. “My own father, from the time I was seven or eight, to the time I was 18 or 19, I had no contact with him whatsoever. I know that people make this decision, and I know that people, of their own ego and often, no matter what happens during the divorce, the children suffer because there is a struggle between the parents.

That said, Jackson says that “it’s hard for me as a father to imagine anything that would keep me away from my daughter in the first place. The story is ‘Fatal Attraction,’ but the part that was so interesting to me was just that. How selfish do you have to be to choose preserving your own self-image over the possibility of raising 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 really interesting for me to dive into here.”

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

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