Back in the day, I saw America Psycho for the first time at a free screening in New York while I was on vacation. That was the only time I’ve ever seen it the whole way through – since then, I’ve seen parts here and there, and nothing has really changed my initial opinion. I wasn’t really impressed with the film on the whole. Yes, I understood why people liked it, or thought it was a good movie, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. Technically speaking, I guess it was brilliant. Great directing (by Mary Harron), solid supporting cast (Chloe Sevigny, Samantha Mathis and Willem Dafoe, amongst others) and a stellar lead performance by a marble-mouthed, sucked, tucked, plucked and buffed Christian Bale, doing his best terrifying eighties yuppie serial killer Patrick Bateman. I guess I just didn’t care for the subject matter. Plus, I’ve always thought American Pyscho’s author, Bret Easton Ellis, is totally overrated.
Anyway, American Psycho is one of those films that grows in appreciation over the years. While it didn’t break any kind of box office records, it’s recognized as a cult classic, and probably one of Christian Bale’s best performances. I think of its appeal as a lot like Fight Club, another film I didn’t care for. Those films are like artsy violence pr0n. And guys love them. Me? Meh.
American Psycho’s director Mary Harron was interviewed by BlackBook Magazine for some new project she’s got going on. But American Psycho is still one of her most celebrated films, so of course she got some questions about it. Her answers were new though – she claims that Christian Bale based Patrick on Tom Cruise, of all people. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
The art of the onscreen murder was never staged with such graphic gusto as when Mary Harron filmed Christian Bale slicing and dicing his way through the excess of 80s Wall Street in American Psycho. Since then, the Canadian-born director has dabbled in television, filming episodes of Big Love and Six Feet Under, as well as feature The Notorious Bettie Page. Harron’s latest project is an entry in the Fear Itself anthology, a television series broken down into 13 different episodes and featuring some of the biggest names working in horror today.
How did you and Christian Bale develop his character in American Psycho?
It was definitely a process. We talked a lot, but he was in L.A. and I was in New York. We didn’t actually meet in person a lot, just talked on the phone. We talked about how Martian-like Patrick Bateman was, how he was looking at the world like somebody from another planet, watching what people did and trying to work out the right way to behave. And then one day he called me and he had been watching Tom Cruise on David Letterman, and he just had this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes, and he was really taken with this energy.
[From BlackBook Magazine]
Is it weird that this makes total sense to me? I can so see Tom Cruise in the character now. Especially Patrick’s creepy, not-really-amused smile and his crazy eyes. Oh, and his laugh! That was probably based on Tom Cruise too! This makes so much sense to me, I might need to see that film again just so I can pick out the Cruise-y parts.
Here’s Christian and wife Sibi at the Los Angeles Film Festival premiere of ‘Public Enemies’ on June 23rd. Images thanks to WENN.com .