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.
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.