Fatal: the filming of the sex scenes was very tense for Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons

In “Fatale”, Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons find themselves at the heart of a destructive affair. A film whose shooting was not easy for Louis Malle and his actors, the actress notably reproaching her partner for an unforeseen “French kiss”.

Fatal : a dangerous passion

Penultimate film by Louis Malle (Elevator for the scaffold, The Wisp), Fatal is the adaptation of the book Dangerous by Josephine Hart. Released in 1992, the drama recounts the meeting between Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons) and Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche), which will turn their respective lives upside down.

The first is a fulfilled politician living in London, married and father of two children. At a reception, he meets the second, daughter of a British diplomat who introduces herself as a close friend of her son Martyn (Rupert Graves). A mutual attraction is immediately born between them.


Shortly after, Stephen learns that Anna is Martyn’s fiancée. Despite everything, they embark on a passionate affair, which risks having devastating consequences. Miranda Richardson, Ian Bannen, Peter Stormare, Gemma Clarke and Julian Fellowes complete the cast of the feature film, for which Juliette Binoche is nominated for the César for Best Actressfollowing a complicated production.

A “very difficult” collaboration according to Juliette Binoche

During a long interview given to the Guardian in 2008, the actress confides, without going into details:

On Fatal, it was very difficult to work with Jeremy Irons. Now we can talk about it, so the failure has turned into something like friendship, I would say.

According to Daily ExpressJuliette Binoche would have accused his partner of being too “passionate” while filming the sex scenes. She would have accused him in particular of made him a French Kiss unexpected during the shots. Asked by The Globe and the Mail in 2013, Jeremy Irons said for his part about the actress:

(Juliette) was very tough, because she had just gotten out of a destructive relationship and hated all men.


During an interview for Release published in 2012, Juliette Binoche adds that she had very difficult to understand his roleand that “Louis Malle hadn’t explained anything to (him) about (his) character of Anna”.

On Jeremy’s advice, I visited Josephine Hare, the author of the novel that inspired the film. We talked a lot. Which allowed me to understand Anna.

A painful experience for Louis Malle

Conditions which therefore made the filming of Fatal very complicated. Juliette Binoche is apparently not not the only one to have suffered the behavior of Jeremy Irons during production. Miranda Richardson, who lends her features to her wife Ingrid, tells Entertainment Weekly in 1993:

Jeremy likes that everything is done in a collaborative effort. And there were times when I didn’t appreciate him giving me his opinion on what I should do or how I should do it.

As for Louis Malle, he assures us that it is a question of his “hardest film” to make. In an audio commentary quoted by Billboardhe assures :

I was ill and filming for the first time in the UK was not child’s play. Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche gave me a hard time, for various reasons which mainly had to do with my physical weakness.

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Fatal: the filming of the sex scenes was very tense for Juliette Binoche and Jeremy Irons