CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fun Summer Movies: SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992)

Summer Release Date: 14 August 1992. Starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steven Weber, Peter Friedman, Stephen Tobolowsky, Frances Bay, Jessica Lundy.  Directed by Barbet Schroeder. Written by Don Roos. Novel by John Lutz.

Not your typical fun summer movie, this thriller though does feature a fun, whacked out performance by Jennifer Jason Leigh. She plays the slightly unhinged Hedy Carlson, a young woman who answers the room-mate add of the young and upcoming professional Allie Jones (played by Bridget Fonda). Set in New York City, the room-mates get along great at first until Hedy starts to think of Allie as her own and doesn't want to share her with anyone else. Including Allie's on again/off again boyfriend (Steven Weber), her lecherous boss (Tobolowsky) and her gay upstairs neighbor (Friedman). As the movie progresses, you can just see Hedy becoming more and more unstable. Leigh is perfect too. She drives this whole film. She gives it the extra jolt whenever the film starts to sag. Her neediness becomes truly terrifying because after the incident with Allie's dog, you begin to realize this girl is crazy as hell. By the time Allie figures out that she has unwittingly invited the room-mate from hell into her life, things have become bloody, and the body count has increased.

I was stationed in Germany when this film came out and I saw it with my fellow buddies. Just us guys, no dates. And we were all surprised how good this movie turned out to be. I think it was the last movie of the summer that we saw and it was a great finish for that year. Back to the performances in this film: Fonda was pretty good too as Allie as was Tobolowsky and Friedman. But the main reason to see this movie is because of Jennifer Jason Leigh. She played the psycho terrifically. Up there with Kathy Bates from Misery, which is strange because these two would team up a few years later for Dolores Claiborne, the Stephen King thriller. I hear there is a remake for Single White Female coming soon but I doubt it will improve on this one and good luck to the actress who inherits Leigh's role. It's going to be a tough act to follow.


To prepare for their fight to the finish scenes, both Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh took several self-defense lessons.

The Ansonia on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was used for the apartment building. The interiors were shot on a sound stage but the scenes in the stairwells were shot at The Ansonia.

Bridget had the choice of playing either the Allie role or the Hedy role. She ended up choosing to play Allie, because she said it was a harder role.
The film was a surprise sleeper hit, earning about $50 million in North America. It was one of the biggest hits for both actresses. And it was director Schroeder's biggest hit ever. His other films include Reversal of Fortune (1990), Kiss of Death (1995) and Murder By Numbers (2002).

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