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Lately author Bret Easton Ellis has only been grabbing headlines through outrageous claims on Twitter and for his most recent film, The Canyons. But far from the feature gaining praise, this thriller directed by Taxi Driver scribe Paul Schrader won attention—mostly negative—for casting porn star James Deen and because of the notoriously bad behavior of its sullied star, Lindsay Lohan.
Having recently been rejected from the SXSW Film Festival, The Canyons is still seeking its chance to play before audiences. But Ellis is moving on to his next film venture with the Derick Martini-directed The Curse of Downers Grove.
Inspired by Michael Hornburg's novel Downers Grove, this physiological thriller centers on high school senior Chrissie Swanson, who fears she will die within the year because of a terrible curse that terrorizes her Midwestern town. Australian ingénue Bella Heathcote, who played Johnny Depp's doll-like love interest in last year's Dark Shadows, is set to star as Chrissie. Lucas Till, who memorably portrayed Alex "Havok" Summers in X-Men: First Class, will co-star along with newcomer Penelope Mitchell, who will be seen later this year in the sci-fi thriller series Hemlock Grove.
While memorable films like American Psycho and Less Than Zero have been based on Ellis' novels, The Curse of Downers Grove will mark only the third screenplay the LA icon has had penned, following critically scorned The Informers and The Canyons. It will also mark the third feature from indie director Martini, who broke onto the scene in 2008 with the offbeat comedy Lymelife. His 2012 follow-up Hick was reviled by critics, earning a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Basically, both writer and director are in need of a strong film to rejuvenate their careers. Will this Curse work out in their favor? We'll see.
The Curse of Downers Grove is slated to roll into production this spring.