The Conversation: Is the 'American Psycho' Remake Worth Spilling Blood Over?

The Conversation: Is the 'American Psycho' Remake Worth Spilling Blood Over?

Dec 08, 2011

As Huey Lewis says, it's hip to be square, and these days nothing's squarer than remaking beloved movies. Actually, as usual I find the blogosphere to be quite hypocritical. On the one hand people are praising the new version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and on the other hand they're cursing Hollywood for announcing a modernized redo of American Psycho. Lionsgate, which has managed to make bloggers quickly forget the Saw 8 news with this whopper, is reportedly planning a new adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's satirical novel, which spawned a classy, iconic film just 11 years ago starring Christian Bale

Coming from someone who absolutely loves the original movie, I honestly don't mind at all. The idea is to see what Patrick Bateman will be like in the present economy, which is extremely different than it was in the 1980s setting of the book and previous adaptation. Will he go on a rampage against the Occupy protestors? Will he be jealous of co-workers' Twitter follower numbers? Updates and how they'll make this version different are endless. Of course, we already saw what happened when Gordon Gekko was revisted today, and maybe it's enough to see Shame, in which Michael Fassbender's character comes off as the son of Batemen (if he mated with Jeanne Dielman).

Given Lionsgate's reputation, a remake might just be more violently faithful to the book. And given that the chosen writer/director is relative unknown yet Grammy-winning filmmaker Noble Jones, who also did second unit directing for The Social Network, we could get something interestingly fresh with this thing. Now, just so long as nobody remakes the highly underrated adaptation of Ellis's The Rules of Attraction (featuring James Van Der Beek as Bateman's younger brother), I've got no reason to complain. 


What are people saying about the American Psycho remake news? Here's The Conversation heard around the blogosphere and Twitter: 

Alright, I'm done. I can't do this anymore. This is the last reboot I can write about before I officially jump off of something really high, or grab an axe like Patrick Bateman up there and go on a murder spree. - Paul Tassi,

This news makes us so mad we want to chainsaw something... - Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

In the ultimate hierarchy of psychoticness, some things get you pretty far up on the list. Killing a cat because your ATM demands a sacrifice? That's psycho. Murdering a slew of people, including your own friends and complete strangers, because you're upset that someone else has a nicer business card? That's really psycho. But remaking an acclaimed movie that just came out 11 years ago? Nothing tops that level of psycho. - Scott Harris, Next Movie

So it’s a low-budget remake, from a first-time director, set in modern times, where Patrick Bateman probably works for Goldman-Sachs and spontaneously launches into long-form, quasi-critical analyses of Drake and Rihanna? Jesus Christ, that sounds awful. I asked a Lionsgate exec what could possible possess a person to allow something like this, and he just gritted his teeth and enunciated carefully, “Because. I want. To fit. In.” - Vince Mancini, Film Drunk

Jones will update the creaky, turn-of-the-millennium '80s nostalgia of the original with the more contemporary movie-making strategy of reimagining Bateman in the present day, where he can, say, wax philosophic over the relative musical merits of the Black Eyed Peas while also killing colleagues out of jealousy over their LinkedIn profiles. - Sean O'Neal, A.V. Club

Now Bateman will abruptly cut off conversations because he has to return some Netflix envelopes, presumably.- Mark, I Watch Stuff

The idea of setting the story in modern times is horrible. Remember that satirical edge I mentioned earlier? That whole thing was based in the yuppie culture of the go-go 1980s. While the culture of greed obviously continues today, making the movie a period piece was interesting. What's the point of setting it in the now? - Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend

Pushing Bateman forward into the 21st century is bold and has the potential to be even more provocative since the opportunities for him to indulge in his darker fantasies would be tenfold what they were 20-some years ago, especially given the now-ness and reach of social media. - Andrea Miller, Cineplex Movie Blog

We should probably just remake every movie that was released before 9/11 and set it in a post-9/11 world, just to see how the situations would play out differently. “You see, in the remake, Patrick Bateman has to take his shoes off at the airport and there’s an Occupy Wall Street joke.” - Kelly, Videogum

I don’t get upset about most remakes, but still: Bale’s work in the original movie is going to be difficult to match, much less top. Why compete with that? Name recognition didn’t do anything to help American Psycho II, the only barely-related sequel no one wanted, so why would it be a great thing for the remake that no one wants? - Russ Fischer, /Film

Here's a thought: Instead of remaking a movie that already boasts an iconic, hard-to-top performance from Christian Bale, why not get someone to write a remake of the hilariously trashy direct-to-video follow-up American Psycho 2, starring Mila Kunis and William Shatner? - Kyle Buchanan, Vulture

Getting into the specifics of it, I’m not entirely against the idea. After all, the best reason for a remake (or second adaptation) is to put a new spin on an old story — that’s the impression I come away with. Of course, just because Nobel did second unit work on The Social Network and is a “David Fincher protege” doesn’t mean he’ll make a good film, but he’s at least got a good start. - Nick Newman, The Film Stage

In some ways, Jones’ American Psycho could be likened to Fincher’s fast-approaching take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, another book that had previously been turned into an acclaimed movie – one which several moviegoers consider to feature a definitive lead performance (a la Bale in Harron’s American Psycho movie). The question now is whether or not a contemporary re-working of Ellis’ source material really stands to be that much different (or, possibly, better) than Harron’s more straight-forward adaptation. - Sandy Schaefer, Screen Rant


@AngryPatBateman: Hi, I'm Patrick Bateman and I do NOT endorse a remake of American Psycho. #HaveYouSeenWhatImCapableOf

@samuelluckhurst: Remake American Psycho?! I'll stab them to death, and then play around with their blood.

@christinakopper: A remake of American Psycho? NO! May Patrick Bateman try to shove you up an ATM machine, Lionsgate.

@AndrewHaydSmith: Hey Hollywood. Nothing good can come of remaking American Psycho. Leave it alone. Or I'll chase you down a corridor with a chainsaw.

@nzJayZee: I'm not going to live in a world where they remake American Psycho. If that happens I'm moving to space.

@RIMBreaks: Outrageous, just outrageous. No words can't describe the pain, that I'm feeling right now.

@PaulAvarali: Super depressed about this American Psycho remake.

@HeyRatty: "Stu...Stu...Stupido....."

@stayclassee: A remake of American Psycho??First of all,eww. Second of all, how about Christian Bale for the role of Patrick Bateman.I think he nailed it.

@TeeJayV: Hopefully the remake of American Psycho is just a biopic of Christian Bale meltdowns.

@ageofben: I'd be interested if Gaspar Noe was making American Psycho.

@JaxxTheRapper: I'd support a remake of American Psycho if they cast a black actor as Patrick Bateman to give it a different feel...other than than? meh

@bdbdleeroybrown: They are remaking American Psycho. That is excellent news, I always felt that film lacked the class a CGI talking dog sidekick would add.


Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.

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