By Mark Hodge (doddleNEWS)
Bret Easton Ellis has carved out his own niche in American literature, chronicling the lives of the debauched, privileged elite who have fallen down the social ladder to fester with sociopaths and criminals. And now a trailer for his latest film, The Canyons, has been released. (See it here.)
However, this heightened, subversive reality has not always translated well to the screen. While his classic American Psycho was brought to life quite vividly by director Mary Harron and leading man Christian Bale, others such as The Informers did not capture the irony of the books and as a result sank without a trace.
Interestingly, Ellis has never written directly for the screen. All his books that have been successfully produced have been adapted by someone else. But, that is all about to change with The Canyons, which the author wrote specifically for the screen.
The subject matter is typically dark, described as a “contemporary LA noir, about the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people.”
And, in director Paul Schrader he has one of the few American film makers who shares his morbid sense of cynicism.
Shrader’s long association with Martin Scorsese has seen him write such classics as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull; as well as The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing out the Dead.
While his work as a director, which includes American Gigolo, has always been interesting, it has never been quite as successful. Although, what nearly all his projects have done is reflect the themes that Ellis has explored in his work as a writer; the nocturnal, seedy subculture of America, that is infested by narcotics and scary people.
Now, the two ultimate pessimists of American culture have collided in a very unusual way, as the film was funded using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter.
And, despite only being in production for a couple of weeks, the film has continued to harness the power of social media, by releasing a teaser trailer.
Another interesting aspect about The Canyons, is the casting. Not only has Schrader employed former porn star James Deen as the lead, but he also given the fallen teen idol, Lindsay Lohan, a chance to redeem herself.
While both these choices seem to embody everything a Bret Easton Ellis character should be; Lohan’s life especially, seems like it has almost been directly lifted from one of the author’s dark tales of decadence and infamy in the City of Angels.
These casting choices could very well prove a stroke of genius. One of the many conditions that Shrader gave Lohan before casting her, was that she worked for almost nothing. And, in the world of low-budget, art house film-making, risks can be taken, because while there is everything to gain, there is very little to lose.