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It’s been 25 years since the novel American Psycho first hit shelves. Due to its level of violence against women, men, and animals, the book wasn’t exactly a best seller and raised quite an amount of controversy when it was released in 1991. That, however, didn’t stop producers from wanting to make a film adaptation. We eventually got the film version in 2000, directed by Mary Harron and starring Christian Bale as the vain psycho murderer Patrick Bateman, but a recent interview with author Bret Easton Ellis has revealed that Brad Pitt was originally going to star in the black comedy thriller.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, celebrating the book's 25-year anniversary, Bret Easton Ellis spoke about how there were a number of producers looking to adapt his novel. At one point there was a version that had a young Brad Pitt attached to star, with famed body horror director David Cronenberg at the helm. Why didn’t we get this version of the film? Ellis, who was working on the screenplay for the project, reveals it was largely due to creative differences:
David was lovely – is lovely, I still like David – but he had strange demands. He hated shooting restaurant scenes, and he hated shooting nightclub scenes. And he didn't want to shoot the violence. I ignored everything he said. So of course he was disappointed with it and he hired his own writer; that script was worse for him and he dropped out.
Christian Bale did a great version of the character, but it’s disappointing to hear we missed out on Brad Pitt in the role. Then again, it’s hard to picture a version of Patrick Bateman that doesn’t fully annunciate his words or is sickly polite to his victims. I’m also very curious what David Cronenberg’s version would have been like, especially with Brad Pitt, who was coming in hot after filming Fight Club in 1999 (which is a similar mind tripping movie). Christian Bale’s American Psycho has some pretty unforgettable scenes (mostly due more to crazy levels of violence than anything else) but you’d have to imagine Cronenberg would have been right at home with the project. For an example of some of the violence in American Psycho check out this NSFW clip.
It’s strange that the director of The Fly had an issue with violence, but then again I don’t think a Cronenberg movie ever had a man get killed while his murderer danced to Huey Lewis and the News.
Would you have liked a Brad Pitt version of American Psycho? Or is Christian Bale your Patrick Bateman? Sound off in the comment section below.