British-born director Adrian Lyne "grew up" professionally in TV commercials, carrying over the quick-cut, hard-sell techniques of that specialized genre into his first film, Foxes (1980). Lyne went on to embrace the burgeoning "MTV" directorial school for his breakthrough feature, Flashdance (1983). His next project, 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), represented Lyne's first creative battle with the editing room. The director had one notion of what constituted "too much" in this erotic drama, the editors (backed by the producers) had another -- and the result was two separate release versions, one rated R, the other not rated at all. In Fatal Attraction (1987), his biggest box-office hit, Lyne favored the script's original ironic-twist ending, but preview audiences demanded that leading lady Glenn Close be punished for her psychotic behavior.
As with 9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction ultimately went out in two versions: theatergoers saw the heavily revised ending (filmed a full year after principal photography ended), while videocassette and laserdisc connoisseurs were treated to the director's cut. Jacob's Ladder (1990) still stands as the most complexly structured of Lyne's films. Alas, it failed to register at the box office, while Lyne's subsequent film, the spell-it-all-out Indecent Proposal (1993) made money by the basketful -- indicating perhaps that, whatever the future holds for Adrian Lyne, his choice of film subjects and manner of treatment will be governed less by his personal vision than by popular taste.
By this time no stranger to controversy, Lyne's 1997 interpretation of Lolita raised much public uproar with its intimate scenes between the then 15-year-old Dominique Swain and the considerably older Jeremy Irons (though a body double was used for the more questionable scenes). The release of Unfaithful (2002) found Lyne returning to the familiar subject of marital infidelity, and audiences once again flooded the theaters en masse, keeping the film comfortably in the Top Ten for nearly a month following its lukewarm opening weekend debut and a fairly ambivalent reception from critics.