Did you know that American Psycho, the film, turned 20 back in April? I’ve seen it twice, and not for at least ten years. A few months ago, at the time of the anniversary, when there were think-pieces all over the place, I thought about going back and watching but… you know… the mood of 2020 hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows. Some people have leaned into the darkness and prefer watching dark sh-t, and American Psycho is definitely some dark sh-t. Others have avoided the dark sh-t and have opted for escape. In April I was in no mood for American Psycho. Lately, however, I think I might be into it. Especially since, for sure, as Richard Newby wrote in The Hollywood Reporter, Patrick Bateman is “more relevant than ever”. Who would Patrick Bateman be in the time of Instagram?
Did you know that Leonardo DiCaprio was the first choice, initially, to play the part? Director Mary Harron, however, pushed for Christian. She did not want a movie star in the role and Titanic had come out a couple of years before. That’s another thing to note about American Psycho – it was directed by a woman and co-written by two women based off of Brett Easton Ellis’s book. You cannot ignore that one of the reasons why the film resonates and is “more relevant than ever” is because this story about extreme toxic masculinity, violence, and predation was told by women. I wonder, after American Psycho, and establishing her voice as a director, delivering a piece of art that clearly stands up after two decades, whether or not she was at the top of the lists for projects, for features, at studios.
As for Christian Bale in the role, Tom Cruise often comes up when people talk about how he crafted his performance. Mary Harron has shared that Christian had seen Tom on Letterman once and observed that Tom had “a very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes" and that Christian was “very taken with his energy”. During a recent oral history of American Psycho with Movie Maker, Christian seemed to confirm it (via GQ):
“I mean, look, if someone had landed at that time and he was looking around for cultural alpha males, business-world alpha males, et cetera, then Tom Cruise certainly would have been one of those that he would have looked at and aspired to be and attempted to emulate.”
He also added:
“Likewise, Donald Trump would have been somebody he would have looked at and said, ‘Ah, right. I need to have a little bit of that as well’. If Bateman were around today he’d probably be inspired to run for president.”
Ummmm…yeah. That’s why, again, the film continues to resonate. Is Christian going to bring some Patrick Bateman to Thor: Love and Thunder? We found out back in March that he’s been cast as the villain, officially joining the MCU after his time with DC as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
Here’s Christian, who is not papped very often, even though he lives in LA, at the beach last week with his son (not pictured). He looks good!