Many of novelist Bret Easton Ellis’ works have been adapted into feature films, but up until now, he hasn’t been heavily involved in movie-making himself. Ellis worked to develop certain projects, like “American Psycho,” and co-wrote the screenplay for the critical and box office failure “The Informers,” based on his book, but he otherwise remained strictly a literary figure.
Well, all that is apparently about to change. This week, Ellis took to Twitter–a s0apbox over which he routinely publishes capsule movie reviews that are surprisingly adroit–to let fans know about his future career in film production.
First, Ellis tweeted that he wants to adapt the BDSM-filled bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which has become something of a pop-culture sensation over the past year, for rights-holder Universal Pictures. Ellis is no stranger to stories that deal with the dark side of sexuality, though his are usually considerably heavier than “Grey,” which most consider to be cheap paperback erotica.
Of course, this will most likely never happen; Ellis hasn’t had any contact with the studio yet. “Contacted my agent about adapting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and have heard nothing back. But it’s a Saturday and Gay Pride, so: understandable,” he jokingly tweeted. But he later clarified that he was not kidding: “Completely committed to adapting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ This is not a joke. Christian Grey and Ana: potentially great cinematic characters.”
Rumor on the street is that Universal wants Angelina Jolie to direct the “Fifty Shades of Grey” adaptation, however, which would likely be at odds with Ellis’ treatment of the material.
On a more concrete note, Ellis announced that he and director Paul Schrader had cast the leads in their upcoming film “The Canyons,” which will shoot next month. They will be male porn-star James Deen and… Lindsay Lohan! The result should be very interesting, though one must wonder if sharing the silver-screen with a porn-star is the ideal way for LiLo to rehab her public image.
Ellis, Schrader, and producer Braxton Pope just wrapped a $150,000+ fundraising pledge-drive for “The Canyons” on the crowd-sourcing website KickStarter, where they gave donators cool rewards like signed screenplays from Schrader’s collection. The campaign seemed more designed to include fans and promote the movie than to actually raise the lion-share of the production budget — an ingenious marketing approach.
In addition to writing “The Canyons,” Ellis has also adapted Michael Hornburg’s novel “Downer’s Grove” about a curse that befalls high school students, hoping to have a finished film by next year.
For such a controversial author who often deals with sensitive themes, Ellis sure is busy with his newfound film career. We here at Critic Speak anxiously await the fruits of his labor.