What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas in psychological thriller Fatale
"We really haven't seen this, it's a twist on a twist of classic thrillers," director Deon Taylor tells EW of the film starring Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy. "This goes much deeper and much darker."
What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas, and in Fatale, that lesson comes with fatal consequences.
The new psychological thriller from director Deon Taylor (Black and Blue) follows successful, married sports agent Derrick (Michael Ealy) as he lets loose on a guys' trip to Las Vegas, only to come home and learn that the sexy, mysterious woman he slept with (and ghosted) is the determined police detective (Hilary Swank) investigating the case involving him. "Dude goes to Vegas and Vegas comes home with him," Taylor tells EW with a laugh. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what if it doesn’t? That's the movie: he meets this woman and ultimately she's going to come to his house, and we start there."
Taylor couldn't get the idea for this movie out of his head after working with screenwriter David Loughery on 2019's The Intruder. So he called up Loughery to reteam on Fatale, detailing his pitch for a new thriller based on that Vegas-inspired story. "I knew the movie could be very cool and very twisty the moment that I spoke to him and pitched it to him," Taylor says. "It had a little bit of an element of Strangers on a Train, which I'm a giant fan of Hitchcock. We really haven't seen this, it's a twist on a twist of classic thrillers. This goes much deeper and much darker."
Taylor laughs at how the city of Las Vegas has really taken that saying of "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" and run with it. "People really go there and lose their damn minds and hope to leave that there," he says. "This is the flip side of that, the real world side." And watching Derrick realize that his one-night stand has an effect on his real life, ultimately ending up in a cat-and-mouse game with Swank's Dt. Val Quinlan with deadly stakes, is only one part of Fatale. "More importantly, he deals with something that we are all seeing daily in this society right now which is the moment someone says you're guilty of something, the press is instant, social media is instant, Twitter is instant. There is no way to put the toothpaste back in the tube even if you're not guilty. That is a tough place to be."
The director loves making movies that allow audiences to have fun, escape, and "let their hair down" for an hour and a half, but he also wanted to inject a real humanity into Fatale. "Some of these points are real points, like someone being framed," he says. "This is the ongoing situation that we're dealing with in the culture today. Like when his mom says, 'What's the most precious thing you have in your entire life? It's our name.' You can't buy it. You can't rent it. Once someone tarnishes your reputation it's extremely hard to put that back intact, and I think the movie does a great job exploring that."
It also comes from an authentic place for the filmmaker, who feels grateful to explore prescient subjects like this throughout all of his work. "Police corruption and social injustice in the hood, that's very real to me," he says. "It's very real for a Black man in America, there are some people serving life in prison for these accusations. What an incredible rabbit hole for this guy to go down and for Hilary's character to push those buttons and everything she's doing is backed up by the fact that she has the badge and the power."
But Taylor also loves how much he got Swank to go "full crazy" in this role. "It was so fun to see her like this," he says with a laugh. "She is so layered with craziness in this, it's just exciting. This is a fun film for her. I was beyond blessed to even have an opportunity to have two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank, two-time Academy-nominated cinematographer Dante Spinotti, and then me, a young Black filmmaker working with them."
Fatale premieres Dec. 18 and is available on demand Jan. 8. Check out an exclusive sneak peek clip above now to witness a tense moment between Derrick, Dt. Quinlan, and Derrick's unsuspecting wife (Damaris Lewis).