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Bret Easton Ellis' The Canyons - and Kickstarter

The Canyons, trailer image.
Acclaimed author Bret Easton Ellis is making an original foray into filmmaking with his partners, director Paul Schrader (who wrote Martin Scorsese's astonishing Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, and directed the classic, Giorgio Moroder-scored American Gigolo) and producer Braxton Pope, with a project called The Canyons - set in contemporary LA and financed in part through Kickstarter, the radical new crowd-funding social platform.

The trio set out to raise $100,000 to add to the money they were putting into the project themselves - in order to bypass the interminable Hollywood studio development process - and wound up exceeding their goal and raising almost $160,000.

I know Bret a little, from a series of dinners we had a few years back, when I was interested in turning Bret's outstanding, self-referential horror novel, Lunar Park, into a film. 

Several of his books have been adapted as movies - including both the zeitgeist-defining, somewhat notorious American Psycho and his debut novel, Less Than Zero, published when he was 21 and still at Bennington College - but none has fully captured the essence of Bret's writing, immortalized perhaps best by the opening line of Zero:

"People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles."

(Completely true, by the way!)

There is a more than a nod to the extraordinary Joan Didion in Bret's early work, but he developed his own highly distinctive style over the years, perhaps best exemplified by his work in American Psycho.

It will be fascinating to see how The Canyons unfolds and whether, given its unconventional method of production and Bret's close involvement with it, the movie will reflect his particular take on Los Angeles (a city I love, in part through both his and Didion's writing - as well as through living for years in both Laurel and Topanga Canyon) and the canyons themselves...which are like a rural city within a city, and perhaps best exemplified on film thus far by David Lynch's unique and unforgettably wonderful Mulholland Drive.

Today's Guardian newspaper piece (extracted below) on The Canyons gives a strong sense of what the film may hold in store. As does the trailer, which you can view here:

Can Lindsay Lohan finally bring Bret Easton Ellis's LA vision to life?

The Canyons, billed as 'contemporary LA noir', pairs Lohan with former porn star James Deen and sees the maverick storyteller writing directly for the screen for the first time

Thursday 19 July 2012 08.54 EDT

You might think that any film-maker taking the brave step of putting Lindsay Lohan and porn star-turned-thespian James Deen in a movie together might want to ensure at least one of them was front and centre in the debut trailer. Not so Paul Schrader, director of The Canyons, which is scripted by Bret Easton Ellis, perhaps because the film has only been shooting in LA for a couple of weeks, after the project recently secured funding via the crowdfunding site Kickstarter...

Read the full article at The Guardian's website.


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