An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
Few living writers have had their first novel published their Junior year in college, their third novel banned, and every single one of their books made into movies. Only one springs to memory: Bret Easton Ellis. He's an ordinary man with an extraordinary imagination. He's had more of a hand in the evolution of contemporary fiction in the last twenty years than David Foster Wallace, Martin Amis, and Stephen King combined. Ellis' work has been called moralistic, post-modern, and post-post-modern. In the tradition of Jonathan Swift, he is a satirist of the highest order, the only difference being that he is reporting on a culture and a time that is much more morally bankrupt than the era of Gulliver. And like De Sade and other dark commentators on moral voids in current society, he's suffered for holding up the mirror.
The world his characters inhabit is pampered, rich, depressed, well medicated and devoid of all substance. His creations walk and talk and drink and screw but never really go anywhere. They go through life in a Lithium, Valium, Thorazine, Xanax or Librium-induced haze, sleeping with any gender, murdering indiscriminately and accumulating vast sums of money effortlessly. They come from wealth and die wealthier. They are Ellis' "beautiful elite", the untouchably glamorous and wealthy. Heirs, heiresses, rock stars, models, photographers, vampires and the freaks who court them.
Another noticeable trait that's a constant in Ellis' books is a vacuum of silence; an uncomfortable sad desolation that the chosen share with each other without being able to express it to each other. For all their money and glamour and fame, they are unhappy because they've been given everything in a value system that it takes most decades to achieve. There is no introspection. No philosophical meanderings. His characters simply aren't capable and until recently, most of them don't progress. There is no transformation into a better person or just punishment for the wicked. Everyone is wicked and the majority of them either get away with it or get gobbled up by those who are even more malicious.
Paris Hilton could have just as easily walked straight out of an Ellis novel. She embodies everything about Ellis' universe; beauty over purpose, money before scruples, and sex at all costs. Impulse gratification at any expense. And what is expense when money blows through their lives like the confetti that litters the cosmos in Glamorama? With six books to date (Less Than Zero, The Rules Of Attraction, American Psycho, The Informers, Glamorama, and Lunar Park) Brett Easton Ellis has influenced everything from music videos to Gen X nostalgia to making a slasher film look marvelous.
Ellis has had plenty of time to research the glamorous life. He was born on March 7th, 1964 and raised in Los Angeles, California in Sherman Oaks, a division of San Fernando Valley. His father, Robert Martin Ellis, was a wealthy property developer and an abusive alcoholic who sold skyscrapers. His father physically abused his family and one of Brett's salient child hood memories involved the two of them driving around the Plaza Hotel in New York until the Oak Room bar opened at 10 am, where his father had three drinks and ordered one for his son. His mother, Dale, was a house wife. Brett was born into wealth and grew up with two younger sisters in a gabled house with a pool not far from his grammar school. During his teen years his parents enrolled him at Buckley, a private school full of rich kids with richer parents who worked in the film industry. English was the only class he took seriously, and after writing stories from the age of 10, Ellis frequently submitted and published his fiction in Buckley's literary magazine. In one article, "Writing Of The Grotesque", Ellis lamented that his 'inability to connect worries me'. After some encouragement, he wrote pop music and film reviews for the school newspaper.
In 1978, after his parents found marijuana in his room, they sent Ellis to Nevada to work at one of his grandfather's casinos for the summer. In 1980, his father became very wealthy and began working from home. He was profiled in The Wall Street Journal. During that time, after being heavily influenced by the simply structured prose of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, he wrote his first novel. In his Junior and Senior years of high school, Ellis wrote two more novels to shake the instinct to be autobiographical in his fiction. The second novel would later evolve into his first published book Less Than Zero. In 1982, around the time that Ellis graduated, his parents divorced.
After graduating from high school, Ellis attended Bennington college, a small university in Vermont with a campus of around 500 people. Ellis initially enrolled at Bennington to major in music but wound up taking a writing class taught by Joe McGinnis. He also played keyboards in The Parents, a minor New Wave Band at the time. They played campus festivals and parties drawing hundreds of party goers. He had girlfriends and boyfriends. His father Robert (who didn't take his writing seriously) wanted him to major in business. When he met published author and professor Joe McGinnis, the teacher was so impressed with his writing samples that he put Ellis in touch with his own literary agent.
During the same period, young novelist Donna Tartt transferred to Bennington from the University of Mississippi and became close friends with Bret. It was while she attended Bennington that she began writing The Secret History, a novel about a student who's murdered by his fellow Greek Studies. Bret gave her critical feedback on the book and referred her to his literary agent, aiding in the publishing process.
Aside from partying with his fellow class mates, Ellis got a taste for writing work shops, building up a thick skin for literary criticism, and a style for first person journalistic prose in the realm of fiction. He read Ullysess during his college years and frequently notes it as one of the greatest novels ever written. In 1985, after having his own 530 page giant pared down to 230 pages, Less Than Zero was published (and purchased for $5,000) to great critical and commercial success. It sold 50,000 copies in it's first year of publication. The media labelled Ellis 'the voice of a generation', and it became a New York Times Best Seller. He was compared to Truman Capote. It's a book about the transformations (mostly for the worse) that take place in a group of high school friends after they've graduated from high school and reunite for winter break to their homes and their families in California.
The publication and overnight success of Less Than Zero gave Ellis a nervous breakdown. For a period, he didn't leave his dorm room at college. A rumor circulated that his editor wrote the book and he Ellis was 'too damn scared' to defend himself. These were the first recurring signs of the author's anxiety issues. After help from his mother, Ellis began seeing a therapist and regulated his attacks with anti-anxiety medication as well as antidepressants.
In 1987, two years later, the film was adapted for the screen and directed by Mark Kanievska starring Andrew McCarthy, Robert Downey Jr.and Jami Gertz. Coincidentially, the author was good friends with Robert Downey Jr. before the making of the film. Downey played the son of a rich family whose drug abuse became so lavish that it destroyed him. Years later, Ellis was in a hotel room in New York feeding Downey's girlfriend (at the time) Sarah Jessica Parker an alibi for why he couldn't see her while Downey was freebasing cocaine.
Ellis was asked if he wanted to be involved in the film making process but he declined in favor of finishing his schooling at Bennington. He was disappointed with the results but the film was a tremendous commercial and critical success. The movie approach was watered down from the book and injected with character motivation that the author never intended for his characters to have. In the same year, Rules Of Attraction, his second novel, was published by Simon & Schuster.
Far from being autobiographical, Ellis' second novel explored the excess, depravity and sexual exploration of a group of college students who barely attend classes and spend their semesters partying and sleeping around with as many people from as many genders as they can. It was ill-received and panned by critics as being too autobiographical. Rules Of Attraction remains one of Ellis' favorite creations in print and on screen because he feels that American Psycho, Less Than Zero and Glamorama were big enough and successful enough that they 'could take care of themselves', whereas Rules Of Attraction never achieved an audience on par with the author's ambitions.
After graduating from Bennington and with the money he'd made up to that point from his endeavors, Ellis moved to New York City to take up writing as a career. He's always taken writing as a structured profession, setting his alarm for a reasonable hour in the morning and putting in eight hours a day writing long hand in a notebook, fleshing out outlines for novels, or entering his hand-written scripts on to a computer. All of his novels have been written in long hand on paper first and sometimes several times on a typewriter before completing his final manuscripts on his computer. His third and most successful enterprise, American Psycho, was drafted three times in it's entirety on a typewriter before Ellis submitted the completed book. Ellis often reads books of poetry while working on a novel as it 'sparks off images or scenes in my head more so than prose does'. Naming Joan Didion as one of a few major influences in his profession, Ellis looks at paragraphs in his novels aesthetically, breaking up longer paragraphs to improve the experience of reading the book.
Ellis also came to be friends with, and became a part of what was coined 'The Literary Brat Pack', comprised of Ellis, Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City), Jill Eisenstadt (From Rockaway) and Tama Janowitz (Slaves Of New York). The entire group was successful at first, partying many a night away at Nell's with the rest of the literati at the time; agents, writers, publishers and their significant others. McInerney's novel Bright Lights, Big City was also adapted into a major motion picture starring Michael J. Fox. It was a book about a writer who worked at a crummy job, did a lot of cocaine and pined for his ex-girlfriend/model while his mother slowly died from cancer. The film was not terribly successful.
After moving to New York, Ellis took in the city and the pace of the times and decided to write a book that captured the essence of the city and the excess of the '80s. He noticed a lot of young wall street guys scurrying around new york and was inspired to write a book about 'hollow money'. Little did he know that it would be an uphill process all the way. In preperation for the novel, Ellis researched by hanging out with wealthy stock brokers at work and after hours at clubs and bars. While he was tailing them he noticed that they didn't talk much about their jobs, but instead spent their time name dropping, discussing the hottest clubs and restaurants that they got into while spending vast sums of money. In hindsight, this was due to the fact that a lot of the stockbrokers in the '80s were involved in unscrupulous practices involving insider trading. He also called in some favors and gained access to FBI reports and criminology case files on murderers and serial killers so that he could make the portions of the novel where the murders took place more believable. He read about concentration camp atrocities and the Manson family murders for the dialogue and the description of the murder scenes.
Again, this novel was written in first person during a dark emotional time in the author's life, leading him to remark often in interviews that it was his most autobiographical work to date. The book he was working on was American Psycho, a dark satire of Patrick Bateman, a sociopathic stockbroker by day and a serial killer by night. A character who's only passion came from pop music dissertations on Genesis, The Talking Heads, Whitney Houston and Huey Lewis & The News. Bateman's anal retentive soliloquies about the designer clothes his friends, lovers and peers wore set a new template for Ellis as a writer. A club hopping, trend setting murderer whose emotionless observations on his co-workers fashion sense and popular music in his generation raised the bar so high in terms of fictional dialogue that Ellis' peers are still racing to catch up. Ellis dedicated the book to high school friend Bruce Taylor, who never read books and infused the author with a sense of humor he believed informed the voice and dimension of Patrick Batemen.
After publishing his first two novels, Simon & Schuster caved in to protests from the National Organization of Women (led by feminist Tammy Bruce) and threats of a boycott at the impending release of American Psycho, two months before the book went to press (an event unheard of in publishing). The author still pocketed a $300,000 advance from Simon & Schuster for the manuscript to the book. Ellis was shocked at the negative and immediate reaction from the publishing company. Thankfully, Alfred E. Knopf picked up the book and published it in 1991 under their Vintage line of trade paperbacks.
The book was gaining publicity and momentum and it hadn't even been released yet. Critics unilaterally hated it and popular writers like Norman Mailer and John Updike chimed in with their two cents. Mailer (of all people) said that the book's 'legitimate theme needed a greater writer than Bret Easton Ellis to do it". Both did so to grab some limelight for themselves. Ellis received phoned death threats while touring to promote the novel. The Washington Post called it "the literary equivalent of a snuff flick". The National Organization of Women pushed to ban the book led by Feminist Tara Baxter (who to this day has a web site dedicated to banning all things American Psycho). After American Psycho's release, Baxter was arrested for reading excerpts from the book at a B. Dalton's bookstore. The stunt was aired on the nightly news and made the front page of every newspaper in Santa Cruz, California the next day. For a woman who was so fervently against violence towards women, or even the depiction of such in a work of fiction, she had this to say about the author:
"There are better ways of taking care of Bret Easton Ellis than just censoring him. I would much prefer to see him skinned alive, a rat put up his rectum, and his genitals cut off and fried in a frying pan, in front of -- not only a live audience - but a video camera as well. These videos can be sold as "art" and "free expression" and could be available at every video outlet, library, liquor, and convenience store in the world. We can profit off of Ellis' terror and pain, just as he and bookstores are profiting off of the rape, torture, and mutilation of women."
After her jail time and court date, Baxter went around California and poured blood on 27 copies of the novel at every book store she could reach. The book steadily made a great deal of money. Ellis received death threats by mail. Rumors circulated that the author had taken the excerpts from the journal of an actual serial killer. And the book continued to sell well. Despite all the negative hype, militant protests and pot shots from his peers, Ellis beared no ill will regarding his intentions for writing the book and the public's perception of it. In an interview with Jaime Clarke, he had this to say about his most notorious character:
-I'm (also) a believer that Patrick Bateman can exist at anytime. Patrick Bateman is an example of what Hannah Arendt called, "the banality of evil." That's basically what he is. He could have existed a hundred years ago (he probably existed five hundred years ago). He'll probably exist five hundred years from now. He's just an example of the constantness of evil. He might be a creature of the eighties with all the trappings that implies, but I think he's really a creature of eternity. Man doesn't necessarily change for the better depending upon the decade, or depending upon how ten years have passed. I think man is born and is corrupted and is always capable of badness. (Pause) Capable of goodness, too, but badness gets more attention. We notice it more often. It makes more of an impact on us.-
In 1992, a year after the release of American Psycho, Ellis' father passed away and he took a year off from his next project to cope with the loss and settle his affairs. Ellis' father surprisingly left behind a debt of ten million dollars. He was an aficionado of bad art and spent millions on a single artist's collection. Bret says that he's reminded of his father every time he looks in the mirror. After coming to terms with the loss, he continued toiling away on his first book with an intentional story arc. A novel that would take him nine years in it's entirety to complete. A story told in three acts with a character progression. In it's inception, Bret Easton Ellis only had one plan that he was certain of. The novel would start with the word 'specks' and end with the word 'mountains'. The rest was left to long hand, outlines, character profiles and charts.
Ellis originally had a deadline in 1993 for Glamorama, his magnum opus, but he hadn't completed it. At heart the book was a conspiracy, and the conspiracy kept getting bigger. Ellis kept a flow chart and the branches and off-shoots of the conspiracy kept spiraling out of control. Between a death in the family and the insistence of character's voices gone by, Ellis spent a weekend at a friend's beach house finishing a collection of short stories when he'd planned on finishing Glamorama. It was an idle pet project that he went to when he needed a break from writing novels, or when he wanted to flesh out character voices in separate stories. A compendium of Ellis alumni in the periphery of his novels. Like Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), Ellis' characters make repeat visits and walk-ons in his books. During a spat with author Jay McInerney, Ellis even introduced Allison Poole (Story of My Life), one of McInerney's characters to Patrick Bateman in one of his books to get back at him.
In an attempt to please his publishers and make deadline (although it wasn't the project they were expecting), he sent them The Informers, a collection of short stories he worked on and freelanced to various magazines from 1983 to 1994 about first person character accounts from a group of people living in L.A. While it wasn't what they were expecting, Vintage was pleased and decided to take it to press.
The collection covers stories that were published in magazines over the years when he was trying to make ends meet to stories that he wrote and rebuffed from college. Teenagers from LA as vampires. Rock stars in Japan who do unspeakable things to hotel rooms and the groupies inside of them. An awkward vacation with a father and son in Hawaii. It was released in 1994 from Vintage with little to no fanfare. The author went on his first American book tour to promote the collection. The hype was beginning to subside.
Not a whole lot is known about Ellis' activities from 1995-1998 (when Glamorama was released), other than the fact that he did a lot of club hopping and attended numerous fashion shows in Milan, New York, and Paris to research Glamorama. During this decade, Ellis developed a heroin addiction and coped with the emotional fallout of a seven year relationship. He frittered away much of his royalties buying drinks and picking up tabs for friends and well wishers while he was out clubbing.
Ellis worked on Glamorama from the age of 26 to 34. Critics took shots at the author by saying that Glamorama satirized a lifestyle that Ellis himself led. Well into his mid-30s, Ellis was also working on his memoirs. Another side project (the unfortunate working title of which was Where I Have Been I Would Not Go Back) that he wasn't sure if he would publish or keep for himself.
Either because of the amount of time that had elapsed since American Psycho or thanks to the desensitization of the culture, Glamorama was received with less controversy and less public outrage. At heart, it's a novel about a model/club owner/actor who gets pulled into a terrorist organization run by..models. In the same extremes whereby a stock broker can become a serial killer, Ellis took the fashion world and equated it with terrorism, because models are 'used to standing around all day and taking orders'. In his inimitable literary fashion, Ellis took a moral stance on the toxic nature of beauty and fashion. When approached about the industry during an interview, he had this to say: 'This obsession with looks that the fashion and photography worlds have taken to an extreme, psychically damages the culture. Period. That's a fact.'
Unlike any other creative project leading up to Glamorama, the book has a definitive beginning and end. It's split up into two halves; one in which Victor Ward (the main character and a bit player from The Rules Of Attraction) opens a club and launches his career, and another in which he travels abroad to escape certain danger only to get wrapped up in the carnage of political terrorism. Throughout the novel, Ward's obsession with any and all celebrity and his religion of supermodel minutiae slowly drive him to the point of psychosis. The character, in a progression, is barely redeemed by novel's end.
Glamorama was a commercial success and was once again nit-picked by critics. Vintage released it during a publishing schedule that the company normally reserved for popular fiction novelist Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Eaters Of The Dead). The finely detailed 'laundry list' of celebrity names fired off like a who's who in '90s glitterati every other paragraph was panned. Ellis had this to say about his first traditional novel in an interview with Christopher Lawrence:
-I changed a lot because I wrote this book and because I finished this book. A lot of things changed for me -- certain fears, certain insecurities were alleviated, not necessarily by the book's subject matter, but just because I wrote the book I never thought I would finish. There was a sense of accomplishment that . . . fixed me in some way.-
Ellis intended for it to be something of a sequel to American Psycho, which was in the works as a film. The world wasn't done with Ellis' bastard child yet. Johnny Depp originally expressed an interest in a film adaptation of the novel dating back to 1992. Tom Cruise was also interested in the film at some point. Director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol) took the helm and Christian Bale was set to play the lead as Patrick Batemen.
Leonardo Dicaprio took an interest in playing the lead after Lion's Gate Films sent him a copy of the script with an offer for $20 million. Coasting on the success of Titanic, he had a small list of directors that he would work with including Martin Scorcese and Danny Boyle. Harron had to fight the studio to get Bale (who's friends advised him that taking the role would be 'career suicide') as the lead. When she put her foot down on having Bale play Bateman, Lion's Gate dropped her from the project.
Other directors attached to American Psycho were: Stanley Kubrick, David Chronenberg, and Jonathan Demme. After learning that the book was being adapted, famous feminist Gloria Steinheim spearheaded a protest to stop it. Oliver Stone was became interested in the film and Cameron Diaz was attached as an actress to the project. Stone began re-writing Harron's script immediately. DiCaprio and Stone couldn't come to terms on where they wanted the film to go, so Leo dropped the project to make The Beach, directed by Danny Boyle.
Christian Bale (who passed on projects for nine months in order to land the lead) and Harron quietly waited and spoke on the phone during their exile from the film. From a political standpoint, Lion's Gate needed a female director to avoid massive protests. The company agreed to give her the film back under the condition that the production didn't exceed ten million dollars and that she cast recognizable talent. It was filmed in Canada in 1998 for the reasonable sum of four million dollars. During production, a Canadian group called Concerned Canadians Against Violence In Entertainment protested the film. They had to use European beauty products in the film because American designers and beauty manufacturers didn't want their product placed in the context of the story. The hype was so enormous before the film's release that movie tickets were scalped at The Sundance Film Festival for $200 a piece.
American Psycho (2000) was a hit in theaters by accounting standards, making six million it's first weekend. The film adaptation (written by Harron and Guinevere Turner and starring Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon, Jared Leto, Chloe Sevigny and Willem Defoe) watered down some of the book's more grisly scenes and relied heavily on the satirical slant of the novel. Ellis had written a screenplay that was rejected because it was 'heavily pornographic and ended with a musical number'. Hiring 46 year old Harron to direct was a stroke of genius. She conveyed a stronger sense of disorientation in the film, lending credence to a working theory from the end of the novel that all of the events took place in Patrick Batemen's mind. This was a brilliant "get out of jail free" card. Bale's portrayal as Batemen was inspired and career-making. The film became a cult phenomenon, grossing millions of dollars in rental and video sales.
Lion's Gate Films was so pleased with the return on their investment that they bought the rights from Ellis to make multiple sequels. The company initially planned to film a series of Bateman's exploits. Ellis publicly stated that he wanted nothing to do with future sequels, so Lions Gate decided to take their franchise in a different direction by making a sequel about one of Bateman's surviving victims. American Psycho II: All American Girl (2002) went direct to video and was a resounding flop, nixing any plans for additional sequels. On June 21st, 2005, a 'killer director's cut' of American Psycho was released by Lion's Gate Entertainment with additional commentaries from Ellis and Mary Harron, deleted scenes, on-set interviews with the cast and crew. The film continues to gain a cult following in video and DVD sales and rentals.
During the same period, a documentary was filmed about the author (and his views on the novels), This Is Not An Exit: The Fictional World Of Bret Easton Ellis (2001). The documentary interlaced interviews with the author with responses from fellow colleagues like Jay McInerney panning some of his writings, as well as scenes from his novels acted out. The documentary had little to no impact financially or critically. At best, it's a mediocrity that exposes almost nothing about Ellis' personal life. Fox added no credits to Ellis' friends and colleagues who shared their views on his life and work. One of the few redeeming qualities of the film is in the final ten minutes, where Ellis and two of his friends share a drunken conversation in the back of a limo between clubs where a woman makes a flippant remark about Bret enjoying the act of fisting. This fueled the controversy behind the author's sexuality at the time, which he's never taken a definitive position on. This can be attributed to the fact that Ellis is bisexual. At the same time, in the wake of September 11th, Ellis was contacted to contribute a piece in memoriam. He said that he was 'too depressed to make phrases'.
Hot on the heels of the success of the film version of American Psycho, Lions Gate released The Rules Of Attraction in 2002. The screenplay was written and directed by Roger Avery (Killing Zoe), and this was the first film that Ellis felt was true to one of his novels. Starring James Van Der Beek, Jennifer Beals, Shannon Sossamon, Kip Pardue, Fred Savage and Eric Stoltz, it's a case study in attention deficit disorder. With high production values and a modern soundtrack mixed by Tomandandy, the direction used every film gimmick in the book, from back-masking to split screens to slow motion scenes for the sake of them. The film gave the high profile teen idols a chance to sully their image and performed modestly at the box office.
While filming character Victor Ward's (the main character in Glamorama) trip to Europe with a three person crew and two mini DV camcorders, the director ended up with 70 tapes worth of footage. Comprising one of only two scenes shot off campus, actor Kip Pardue spent the entire trip in-character, meeting celebrities such as Paul Oakenfold, giving an interview to The Guardian as Victor Ward and filming actual people into the montage. The five minute sequence in The Rules Of Attraction had turned into an opportunity. Avary was so inspired by the footage that he purchased the rights to Glamorama with the intention of bringing Kip Pardue back in the main role as Victor. The target date for the film is January of 2007. Rose McGowan and Shannon Doherty are rumored to have signed on for the project. The core footage that was shot during the trip is being edited for possible release as a documentary bridging the gap between The Rules Of Attraction and Glamorama. The working title is Glitterati.
After a six year silence, Ellis is releasing his latest novel, Lunar Park, in August of 2005 with Vintage. The writer started the project in 1989 as an homage to horror novels that he grew up reading, most notably Stephen King's. It's an autobiographical book in the style of Adaptation with a guest appearance by Patrick Bateman and Jay McInerney. It's also a ghost story of sorts and a murder mystery about a group of boys who go missing in suburbia. Terby, a bird-doll belonging to his step-daughter, comes to life. Ellis receives strange emails from the bank where his father's ashes are deposited. Ellis applies satire to his own identity as his character in the book marries a model/actress after the death of his father, moves to suburbia, raises two children and copes with a macabre apocolypse that rains down on their home.
Ashen footsteps appear daily in his living room. The furniture rearranges itself to match the design scheme from his childhood home. His father's swimming trunks appear by the pool soaking wet, as if someone just went for a swim. And the paint on the outside of the home peels away to reveal the color of the house he grew up in. Strange ghouls scuttle out of the woods and attack the author and his fictitious family and a novelty gravestone purchased for a Halloween party transforms into his dead father's. A student on campus who keeps popping up in random places as characters from his novels murders the girl he has a crush for in an act of unspeakable maliciousness in a desolate motel room.
"Every word is true," but a writer's life, Ellis proclaims, is "a maelstrom of lying." At heart, the book revolves around the relationship between father and son, a theme the author has meditated upon a number of times with powerful results. He insists that it's 'up to the reader' to decide how much of the novel is based on fact and what amount is purely fiction. The author continues to craft his talents towards the style of first person fictional journalism he's been practicing since Bennington. Early reviews have been positive, so it's possible that the critics might be kind to this novel. The audio version of the book is read by James Van Der Beek.
Donna Tartt released a second novel, The Little Friend (also from Vintage) in 2002. Ellis has never disclosed in interviews what the nature of their relationship is or was. New York peer Jay McInerney has faded into obscurity. His last novel, Model Behavior, was barely successful. Interviewer Jaime Clarke (who published one of the most comprehensive interviews with the author to date, spanning two sessions over a ten year period) has written Vernon Downs, a novel about a writer obsessed with Bret Easton Ellis. It has yet to see publication.
Victor Ward, Patrick Bateman, and Jayne Dennis (all characters from Ellis' novels) have taken on lives of their own on the internet. They have fan sites, as well as Friendster and Myspace profiles and fake publicity releases. The author's fan sites are legion, and his acolytes and numerous fans refer to him in correspondence simply and intimately by his initials: bee. Ellis' novels continue to sell well, although his books sell better abroad than they do in the US. The book American Psycho continues to sell over 1,000 copies a month.
Bret Easton Ellis is currently trying his hand at screenplay writing with an adaptation of Adam Davies' debut novel, The Frog King, about a womanizing alcoholic in the publishing world who finds the love of his life. It's been compared to High Fidelity meets Bright Lights, Big City. Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek) is attached as the lead at the time of this writing. Ellis has also written a script for Molly Jong-Fast's debut novel, Normal Girl. Stylistically, her prose has been compared to Ellis. The novel approaches the drug-induced socializing of a Jewish American Princess among the art and party scene in New York. The author has a strong pedigree and the subject matter is distinctly Ellis-esque, so one hopes that the script will see the light of day. As for the novels that haven't made it to the silver screen, Nicholas Jarecki (The Outsider) currently has plans to adapt The Informers into a major motion picture. How that will translate as a cohesive short story collection remains to be seen.
Ellis' life and novels remain scandalous, meticulous and painstakingly crafted. He continues to live in a loft in New York in a building that used to be a former felt factory, splitting his time between New York and LA (during the winter). He moved into his apartment when he originally moved to New York in 1987, and it's most notable for it's high book shelves full of foreign editions and other translations of his own novels, vaulted ceilings and bottles of liquor lining his kitchen counter where most people place their everyday appliances. He keeps a poster for the film adaptation of Less Than Zero over his toilet. In recent interviews, Ellis has spoken of working on a novel set in Washington that's 'tangentially related to politics'. The world hasn't heard the last of Bret Easton Ellis, although the stigma and the well-spring of fame caused by American Psycho have left an indeliable mark on his career that will be difficult to trump. One only hopes and anticipates that he's more than capable of the assignment.
- LINKS - SEARCH
Columns - Features - Interviews - Fiction - Acid Radio - GuestBook Sign/View - Blogs
View ForbistheMighty.com for more sin and wackiness!