Category Archives: Bret Easton Ellis

The Canyons is the greatest story being told

A movie might save Lindsay Lohan from Hell – no not jail, reality TV.

THE crazy true story of the making of the neo-noir Hollywood film The Canyons for $250,000 will be turned into a film one day and it will make hundreds of millions of dollars one day.
If you have not caught up with the tragi-comedy, which would make Samuel Beckett jealous, get on-board straight away.

This unintentional black comedy of the making of The Canyons stars best-selling author/ Twitter assassin Bret Easton Ellis, screenplay writer of Taxi Driver, Paul Schrader, wild child Lindsay Lohan and a porn star named James Deen.

I have been following the saga which is almost too good to be true.
Here is a background account of the juicy story which has the promise of more delights to come.
The latest news is the film has a distributor IFC  Films when no wholesaler seemed keen after the flick was brushed for inclusion in the Sundance Festival and ridiculed in the media.
IFC plans to release it simultaneously in theaters and on the internet (Video On Demand) early in the American summer.
The distributor – the I stands for independent – picked up My Big Fat Greek Wedding in 2002 which had to be a good score.
·        Subsequent ICF releases include
·        Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) – by Michael Moore
·        Land of Plenty (2004) – by Wim Wenders
·        Paranoid Park (2008) – by Gus Van Sant
·        Che (2008) – by Steven Soderbergh
·        My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (2009) – by Werner Herzog
·        Looking for Eric (2009) – by Ken Loach
·        The Angels’ Share (2012) (as IFC Midnight) – by Ken Loach
 The point is that IFC has given some credibility to overcome the bizarre marketing efforts of The Canyons producers who dissed their own film in three trailers:          
I won’t inflict the other two on you but below are the links

Commenting on the distribution deal, director Paul Schrader said, ‘The Canyons is a visually and tonally precise, acid-etched horror story of souls wandering through a hyper-materialistic hell.’
PLEASE Paul, promise not to do any more promotion from a pen dipped in purple ink.
Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper, which makes some strange cultural deliberations, has panned the film without seeing it – remember it is out in the American summer.
TheGuardian might like to declare the film a dud, but I would like to go on the record for predicting it will make a huge bundle of moolah. IFC apparently put down $1m on the table to secure the rights which puts the flick in the black already. Thanks go to the Guardian and the New York Times for the “negative” publicity.
I cannot wait to see it and in a cinema. It may be a passable film but I will love it, anyhows. It will be the final chapter in a magnificent evolving narrative.
Paul Schrader says The Canyons is a horror story:


Post or past it the media Empire strikes back

No. Comment. “Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie” http://nyti.ms/ZvOCJe 
American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis has left a cryptic response to the instantly famous New York Times Magazine article on the film The Canyons which is in limbo awaiting distribution.

Screenwriter Paul Schrader (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver) directs the Ellis script in a movie which stars porn performer James Deen and actor Lindsay Lohan whom the media has lobotomized into the self-destructive cartoon character, LiLo.

Ellis tweeted ‘No. Comment.’ in response to the brilliant exposé  by Stephen Rodrick of the on-set antics during the makings of The Canyons.
I doubt Ellis would have used the construction “No. Comment.” to convey the message “No comment. We are left with two more plausible explanations: either Ellis was questioning the ultimate veracity of much of the Rodrick report or he was saying casting Lohan was a mistake. The latter appears more likely.
According to Rodrick, Ellis was against the casting of Lohan, perhaps feeling it would detract from the gravitas of the film with a $250,000 budget. Says Rodrick: ‘…he thinks Lohan is wrong for the part, especially if she’s cast opposite the porn star (James Deen) he courted online. But he spent all his capital getting his man cast.’ I think Rodrick is referring to Ellis’s social capital; not the $30,000 he has kicked in towards  the project.
Schrader did not want Deen. There is a case for rejecting Deen (real name Bryan Matthew Sevilla) on pseudonym alone.
Remember that classic Seinfeld scene where an ecstatic George bursts out with his fabulous invention of a porn-star name. Jerry has heard this from George, perhaps a dozen times before, but George thinks it is new. The name Buck Naked is pretty bad. But James Deen is worse. Much worse.
Ellis got his way with the casting of James Deen and Schrader convinced Ellis it was good to have Lohan on board at $100 a day plus box-office percentages.
Thanks to the Rodrick article, the quartet seem set to make a modest killing from The Canyons. Whether this will make any or all of them players in Ellis’s “post-Empire” Hollywood remains to be seen.
What started life as a one-liner in an Ellis interview, “post-Empire” seems to be gaining traction as a economic/ sociological construct. The analogy is of the British empire which fell apart during the 20th century. It is not clear what post-Empire means, but, if enough of us continue to use it, we will arrive at a consensual understanding of what it is about, as we have with post-modernism.
Also unclear are the motivations of the main players in Rodrick’s cracking yarn of the making of The Canyons. The brilliance of the journalist’s NYT piece lies in his sparkling descriptions which allow the reader to make their own interpretations on the inner life of the players.
Lohan seems the least complicated as she appears to be writing her personal script with the perennial Hollywood theme of Redemption with The Canyons appearing in Act 1.
At one point, Schrader says he and Ellis could end up making 10 times their investment of $30,000 each. Does that make him a post-Empire player? It is also likely the 66-year-old feels film-making is in his blood, though the prized OPM (Other-People’s-Money) is now eluding him.
James Deen is probably after credibility beyond good looks, lots of money and a big dick. And we thought that was the Holy Trinity of Hollywood. It takes a porn star to remind us of more spiritual values.
Ellis has declared his future is in Hollywood though he still labors under the writer’s curse of wanting relevance. Maybe that is the crux: not relevance but relevance deprivation. Is Ellis going to write a script of equal virtue in film as American Psycho is to the artform of the novel?
Schrader has written two of the great screenplays of all time in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, but they were a long time ago.
Most of us had never heard of porn star James Deen before his part in the cracking yarn.
All of us know the cartoon character, Li-Lo but Lohan, to her faltering credit, is trying to construct another legacy.

By the numbers

On Twitter, James Deen (God damn!!!!! Granola bars are fucking delicious!!!!) had 98, 926 followers when I last looked.
Journalist Stephen Rodrick (Interesting take. Lindsay Lohan: NYT Piece Is the Best Thing That’s Happened to Her in Years) had 1468 followers. My money is on that number sky-rocketing)
The two Paul Schraders I found had 5 and 10 followers respectively and neither had tweeted.
Bret Easton Ellis (I’m shy, retweeted 172 times, favorited 114 times) had 371,842 followers.
Hanging off every Lindsay Lohan tweet (“Big girls need big diamonds.” – Liz Taylor. She was so wise and oh so lovely.)  were 4,876,607  followers. 
And yes, I believe Rodrick’s article was good for Lohan when you read what it actually says compared to its revisions  as hatchet jobs on Li-Lo in other media.
Bernie Dowling @bentbananabooks, 3,654 Twitter followers.

Is Li-Lo Cu-Cu? No-No-

Critics praised Lindsay Lohan for the 2006 film  Chapter 27 
on the Lennon murder and now they’re gonna crucify her
A GAME doing the rounds is one in which we emerging/ nobody authors are asked to name our dream cast for the film of our novel.
I played recently and said I definitely wanted Lindsay Lohan to play Crystal Speares, the femme fatale of my novel, Iraqi Icicle. I said I thought she would make a good fist of the role. Besides, I added, think of the pre-publicity she would attract.

Little did I know, Ms Lohan had done just that for a minnowy budgeted film, The Canyons.
An excellent piece  by Stephen Rodrick in the New York Times Magazine covers the filming and post-production of The Canyons, an LA film noir with a reputed budget of $250,000. Yair, that’s right, a quarter of a mill – total, not the catering bill.
Before we move to LA, I must say I was surprised to see an additional credit for the Rodrick article going to Editor, Sheila Glaser. In all my years in Australian journalism, I have never seen that done in our country. It was kinda nice to see the collaborative nature of journalism recognized, but I wondered if writer Rodrick was losing some of the glory for what is a glorious piece of journalism. To my distant Australian eyes, the unusual by-line reiterated that New York can be a strange place. But nowhere near as strange as Hollywood.
At the start of Rodrick’s article I was cheering passionately for the success of this venture. By the end, I was scratching my head in wonderment and was unsure what I thought about the film project, The Canyons.
Director (Hardcore, American Gigolo)/ screenwriter (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) Paul Schrader says he cannot raise enough money in Hollywood for the sorts of films he wants to make.
Author Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) says he is disillusioned with the novel as an artform and wants to script films.
Schrader and Ellis both put $30,000 towards The Canyons, a film written by Ellis and directed by Schrader. Producer Braxton Pope does not say anything about Hollywood, literature or art but he has $30,000 which he kicks in. The trio raised another $160,000 through crowd-sourcing.
With that financial structure in place, I wanted The Canyons to succeed to prove you can make a decent publicly supported film noir for $250,ooo. But I really wanted it to succeed for the sake of Lindsay Lohan.
It is disgraceful how sections of the media, for fun and profit, have turned Lohan into the cartoon character LiLo, the poster girl of youthful self-destruction. Lots of young people have played up like second-hand lawnmowers and got over it. But the media script does not allow this possibility, in the third act, for Lohan.  
When you read the Rodrick article, you will see that Lohan was sometimes unreliable and she caused a delay because of fear of the four-way sex scene in The Canyons. I did not read of one tantie from the woman working for $100 a day and a share of box office. Hardly the stuff worth the screaming headlines of her ruining the film making. The most offensive media banner read. “Why LiLo’s a Delusional AssholeWho’ll Never Legitimately Work Again.” WTF. FU, Jezebel.
Of the major players in the making of the film, only producer Braxton Pope comes across as focused and totally responsible.
Schrader seems sorta all right until we learn he has knocked back an offer from fellow director Steven Soderbergh. to do a free edit of the movie if given the footage for 72 hours.
Schrader said no. ‘The idea of 72 hours is a joke,’ Schrader said. ‘And you know what Soderbergh would do if another director offered to cut his film?’  Yair, Paul but Traffic had a budget of $46 million (grossed $207 million), not $250,000.
That was when I cooled on the positive fate of The Canyons. That and the ridiculous trailer which seems to be pitching the film for the bad-movie cult circuit. 
 

             Doubtless some critics will try to wing the film to the bad-is-good circuit by panning Lohan’s performance. Because that fits their cartoon script for her.
But she’ll be right when she comes to Oz for the film Iraqi Icicle. Cast and crew members will take her aside to gently explain we don’t do unreliability on our movie sets. We have this ensemble sort of thing going where you do not let the others down.
I will cry if our budget is only $250, 000 and we will not have lame self-deprecating trailers. Oh and Steven Soderbergh is welcome to fly his own way over for a final 72-hr edit.
I can’t find a release date for The Canyons. But quite a few critics have taken to reviewing the trailers. However and wherever it comes out, the film is likely to turn a handy profit. And Lindsay Lohan is the main person to thank for that.

Iraqi Icicle, the eBook is available HERE. The print book come out on January 26.