The new thriller Unforgettable harks back to the heyday of trashy female-led revenge movies like Fatal Attraction, as Katherine Heigl's Tessa makes life a nightmare for her ex-husband's new fiancee Julia, played by Rosario Dawson. The stars say they wanted to do something different with the genre.

Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson in UnforgettableKatherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson in Unforgettable

"We tried to make them real people in real situations," Dawson says. "The stuff that's happening, while it may be really entertaining on-screen, when that happens in real life, not so much. So it's not just a traditional chick flick where we're only making this for women. I love that it's testing well with men too. We can make a story that everybody can relate to, because we're being honest."

Heigl says that when she signed on to the role, she had never even seen Glenn Close's take on the woman scorned in Fatal Attraction. "I sat down with it one night," she says, "and I got about 20 minutes in and I said, 'I can't watch this at night before bed!' It was super creepy! She gets you, she's so powerful in that role. The goal was not to play Tessa like that, but to have the same impact."

Indeed, Tessa is an almost pathologically composed antagonist. "It was really exciting to dive into somebody like Tessa and her psychosis," Heigl laughs. "There was a weird energy - she makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. There's something off!"

And she found a very specific way into the character. "It's the wardrobe," she confesses. "It sets the tone for me: her perfection. There is something about clothing, the shoes, the hair, the makeup - it changes the way you express yourself. And it sounds strange, but I just really wanted for there to be some sympathy for Tessa. I felt compassion for her. And I wanted to have moments where we could do that, so that she wasn't just maniacal or insane."

Meanwhile, Dawson also explored her character's issues. "Julia has had some very distinct moments," she says. "A father who was an alcoholic and a boyfriend who was very abusive physically to her. So you can see a similarity between the women, the missed opportunity because of so much that goes unspoken. Instead what's different about them is made out as competition as opposed to a commonality. What I loved about this was the opportunity to work with a bunch of remarkable women and tell a very multi-faceted story about women that didn't have to have them be perfect."

Watch the trailer for Unforgettable: