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<i>Unfaithful</i> Brings 1969 French Thriller to American Audiences - 2002-05-16

Richard Gere, Diane Lane and Olivier Martinez star in a steamy drama of infidelity and the impact it can have on all the people involved. Adrian Lyne directs the film; and he has tackled infidelity before, notably a decade ago in the erotic thriller Fatal Attraction Alan Silverman has a look at the new take on the cautionary tale, Unfaithful.

Connie Summer is happily married, making a comfortable home in the suburbs for her husband Edward and their son. But one stormy day in the city a wind gust literally blows her into the arms of an exotic, young Frenchman named Paul: a chance meeting that leads to a torrid affair.

Unfaithful director Adrian Lyne says the fact that Connie's home life seems so good has little to do with why she does something so bad.

"I wanted to make a movie about the arbitrary nature of adultery, really, and I thought there was no drama in idea of making it a marriage that was missing or not working or whatever," he explained. "Of course, she should have an affair. It was much more interesting to have a marriage that was working and something to put it at risk. Then you have some sort of drama, hopefully. "

To Diane Lane, who portrays Connie, her reason for straying or the fact that she seems to have no reason, makes the story more believable.

"There is no justification built into this plot that there's no justification built into most affair," she said. "Anything like 'Oh well, if you'd just listen to me....' or ' you stopped paying attention to me years ago' or some kind of underlying excuse may just be window dressing for the fact that the person just wanted to find some excitement in their life and they weren't finding it in their relationship anymore....their marriage or long-term relationship."

Parisian movie star Olivier Martinez makes his Hollywood film debut as the handsome, young lover, Paul.

"I think it's a real love story. It's a triangle," he explained. "Why is this woman who has almost everything is going to take this big risk to be with this kind of young, immature, charming guy from somewhere else? I think it's because sometimes desire doesn't fit with reality. I love that because it's true. We're in danger of being beaten by temptation."

"I think we've all been in those situations, whether they're about betrayal in this sense or guilt or whatever," says actor Richard Gere. "Things come up on us. We don't know exactly where they come from, but it's our inner selves talking to us saying 'wake up.' "

Mr. Gere plays betrayed husband Edward who, when he learns the truth, confronts the lover in a meeting that has dire consequences for all of them.

"I am interested in this issue of not only can we know ourselves, but can know know another human being? Is that possible or are there always secrets? Not only to ourselves, but between people who have made vows not to have secrets; how honest can one be? I don't think there's anyone who hasn't been in a situation where they've questioned that at one point; and we lie," he noted. "It can be a small lie or it can be a big lie; but in the end we make a decision: ' Is this going to be more than I can deal with or she can deal with or he can deal with? It's better to lie.' So it's certainly fertile territory."

Adapted from La Femme Infidele, a 1969 thriller by French filmmaker Claude Chabrol, Unfaithful was shot on location in New York City and its suburbs.