American Psycho (2000) Poster


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Looking for a way to create the character of Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale stumbled onto a Tom Cruise appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman (1993). According to American Psycho (2000) director Mary Harron, Bale saw in Cruise "this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes," and Bale subsequently based the character of Bateman on that. Interestingly, Tom Cruise is actually featured in the novel; he lives in the same apartment complex as Bateman, who meets him in a lift and gets the name of Cocktail (1988) wrong, calling it "Bartender."
The single biggest cost on the film was purchasing the rights to the various songs used throughout.
Two scenes featured unexpected improvisation by Christian Bale. When Bateman is jumping rope, he starts to skip and cross his jump rope as a schoolgirl would. Bale surprised director Mary Harron even more by starting to dance as Bateman was preparing to kill Paul Allen (Jared Leto). That time, she says in interviews and the commentary, she collapsed with laughter.
To block the three-way sex scene with two prostitutes, Mary Harron and Christian Bale watched x-rated tapes. In her commentary, Harron says Bale made stick-figure drawings of the positions he thought would work best.
During the shooting of the film, Christian Bale spoke in an American accent off set at all times. At the wrap party, when he began to speak in his native British accent, many of the crew thought he was speaking that way as an accent for another film; they had thought he was American, throughout the entire shoot.
Christian Bale was warned by many that it would be career suicide for him to play the lead in a film like this. This only made him more eager to take the part.
The film had various problems with designer labels during production. Cerruti agreed to allow Christian Bale to wear their clothes, but not when the character was killing anyone; Rolex agreed that anyone in the film could wear their watches except Bateman (hence the famous line from the book "Don't touch the Rolex" had to be changed to "Don't touch the watch"); Perry Ellis provided underwear at the last minute after Calvin Klein pulled out of the project; Comme des Garçons refused to allow one of their overnight bags to be used to carry a corpse, so Jean Paul Gaultier was used instead.
During production, Christian Bale followed the morning routine that his character Patrick Bateman describes toward the beginning of the film.
Ewan McGregor was subsequently offered the role of Patrick Bateman, but declined after Christian Bale personally urged him to do so.
In the DVD commentary, Mary Harron says that during the first shower scene with Patrick Bateman, all of the women on set gathered around to watch Christian Bale wash himself.
When Leonardo DiCaprio was still attached to the project, feminist activist Gloria Steinem lobbied him not to make the film, as his fan base consisted predominately of young teenage girls, and he could ruin his career. Steinem had spoken out about the novel several times and was against the film version in any incarnation. Her involvement is rendered especially interesting insofar as she would soon become Christian Bale's stepmother.
Bret Easton Ellis was sent several death threats after American Psycho was published.
The events that Bateman mentions in the phone message to his lawyer are events that transpired in the book by Bret Easton Ellis, but not in the film.
The 'whoosh' sounds during the famous business card scene was created by slowing down the sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath.
A sign reading "This is not an exit" is shown in the closing scene. These are the last words of the novel.
Initially given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA, the cinematic kiss of death due to distribution difficulties. Mary Harron argued volubly against the rating but was forced to make some minor trims to receive an R rating.
The only parts of the movie that author Bret Easton Ellis didn't like was Bateman's moonwalk during Paul Allen's murder-scene and the voice-over, which he felt was "too explicit".
The name Bateman is derived from the main character of the movie Psycho (1960) Norman Bates
Guinevere Turner, who plays Patrick's friend "Elizabeth" (in the scene with Christie the call girl), also wrote the film's screenplay.
When Lions Gate picked up the rights for the film, Mary Harron was set to write and direct. Initially, she considered various actors for the role of Patrick Bateman, including Billy Crudup (who was offered the part but turned it down), Ben Chaplin, Robert Sean Leonard, Johnathon Schaech, Jonny Lee Miller, and Jared Leto. Eventually, Harron offered the part to Christian Bale, who accepted. The producers tried to talk Harron into casting Edward Norton, but she refused, and was ultimately allowed to cast Bale, but only on the proviso that she cast at least two other big name actors in supporting roles. To this end, Harron hired Willem Dafoe to play Kimball and Reese Witherspoon to play Evelyn. However, after they had agreed to appear, Lions Gate told Harron they were going to make an offer to Leonardo DiCaprio to play Bateman. Harron told them if they did, she would leave the project, which is exactly what happened. Oliver Stone was subsequently hired to replace Harron, working from a script by Matt Markwalder. Stone was set to cast James Woods as Kimball, Cameron Diaz as Evelyn, Elizabeth Berkley as Courtney and Chloë Sevigny as Jean. Stone also decided to keep Leto on the project as Paul Allen. However, DiCaprio left the project to shoot The Beach (2000) instead, and as the budget began to get out of control, Stone also left, prompting Lions Gate to rehire Harron, who returned to her original castings decisions, and decided to keep Sevigny on the project.
Bateman excuses himself from a conversation by claiming he has an appointment with "Cliff Huxtable". This was Bill Cosby's character's name in The Cosby Show (1984).
This is the first film of where Christian Bale started his run on different physiques and body transformations. Others include Reign of Fire (2002), The Machinist (2004), Batman Begins (2005), Rescue Dawn (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), The Fighter (2010), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and American Hustle (2013).
After the novel was originally optioned in 1991, author Bret Easton Ellis himself was set to write the script for director Stuart Gordon with Johnny Depp starring as Patrick Bateman. Gordon wanted to do the film in black and white and stick as close to the book as possible, meaning a guaranteed X-rating. After the project fell through, David Cronenberg replaced Gordon, with Brad Pitt set to star. This project also failed to get off the ground.
This was the second time in two years that the film's distributor Lions Gate found itself in trouble with the MPAA over one of their films. In 1999, they had run afoul of the censors with Dogma (1999) which was deemed to be blasphemous.
While the novel "American Psycho" is set in 1989, the film adaptation is set in 1987. This is evidenced by the scene where Patrick is briefly reading Zagat's Survey: 1987. Also, the televised speech by President Ronald Reagan, as shown the final scene of the film, also occurred in 1987 (whereas Reagan had already left the White House by the time the events in the original novel took place).
The movie appearing on Bateman's TV while he's working out at home is The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
To gain his buffed-up appearance in the film, Christian Bale would spend several hours a day in the gym and then three hours a day with an on-set trainer.
The Huey Lewis & The News song "Hip to Be Square", which appears in the film, was initially on the soundtrack album, but it was removed shortly after release because of a lack of publishing rights. The album was recalled and reissued without the song, although some versions of the initial batch had already sold. Over the years, this incident has developed into the myth that Huey Lewis himself refused to allow the song on the album due to the content of the movie.
In the business card scene where Paul Allen mistakes Bateman for being Halberstam, all three of them wear the same glasses.
The scene in which Patrick Bateman yells at the Asian woman at the laundromat was filmed at a small cleaners on Jarvis street in Toronto, Canada. Much of the building scenes (his escape near the finale for example) was filmed in the financial district downtown.
Although Patrick is extremely wealthy, we never actually see him do any work.
At one point, the novel was considered for the possibility of a TV show on NBC, starring Kevin Dillon. However due to ownership, the film was eventually made. This was later squeezed into an in joke on Entourage (2004), starring Kevin Dillon.
In the novel, Elizabeth (Guinevere Turner) gives Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) the nickname "Batman" (the result of removing the letter "E" from his surname). Bale later played Batman in Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
In the final scene, Patrick Bateman uses the phrase "Rockin' and Rollin' and whatever..." This is a phrase often used by Sean Bateman, Patrick's younger brother, in the book 'The Rules of Attraction', also written by Bret Easton Ellis. Sean also makes a short appearance in the novel 'American Psycho', where he also uses the phrase.
All of the business cards read "Vice President".
The business cards belonging to Patrick Bateman, David Van Patten, Timothy Bryce and Paul Allen each contain the same typo. On the top right, underneath where the company name "Pierce & Pierce" is listed, the department is written as "Mergers and Aquisitions" rather than "Mergers and Acquisitions."
Christian Bale used Nicolas Cage's performance in Vampire's Kiss (1988) as inspiration for Patrick Bateman, as the two characters are strikingly similar.
The vast majority of the dialogue in the movie is taken word-for-word from the novel by Bret Easton Ellis.
The scene in which Patrick and Courtney are in bed (when she asks him if he'll call her before Easter) is taken from Ellis' first novel "Less Than Zero". The conversation between Clay and Blair in that novel is almost identical to the one in the film (Easter has been substituted for Christmas). Although in the book "American Psycho", Courtney (while lying in bed) does ask Patrick if he will call her before thanksgiving.
Shortly before shooting commenced in Toronto, lobbying began by Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment protesting about government support in relation to the film's funding.
One of the reasons why Chloë Sevigny was attracted to the project was that she has a brother who also works on Wall Street.
Bret Easton Ellis' novel featured a lot more disturbing and violent scenes which were not included in the movie.
The first porn movie Bateman is watching is White Angel (1998). The second is Red Vibe Diaries: Object of Desire (1997).
Whitney Houston refused to allow any of her songs to be used in the film.
Drew Barrymore and Liv Tyler were originally sought to play some of the female roles.
Patrick Bateman works at the same firm as Sherman McCoy in The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990): Pierce and Pierce.
The framed black paintings hanging in Bateman's apartment are part of a series called 'Surrogate Paintings' by Allan McCollum.
The year in which the film is set can also be told from Ronald Reagan's speech in the final scene, which he gave on March 4 1987.
The two large lithographs (posters) in Bateman's apartment are part of a series called "Men in the Cities" by Robert Longo.
The cast and crew viewed Mario Bava's Blood Brides (1970), prior to filming.
Stars Christian Bale and Willem Dafoe have both played Jesus in previous films: Bale in Mary, Mother of Jesus (1999) and Dafoe in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
Christian Bale had to gain muscle and mass to reach his 82kg goal of playing the yuppie Patrick Bateman.
Despite the fact that this was filmed in Super 35, "Filmed in Panavision" is listed in the end credits.
In the scene with the prostitute Christie (Cara Seymour), Bateman's friend mentions their mutual acquaintance "Alison Poole". Alison Poole is the narrator and main character of the novel 'Story of My Life' by Jay McInerney, a contemporaneous peer author to Bret Easton Ellis.
The address on the side of Patrick Bateman's prescription bottle was Yogi's Bar and is now William J. Greenberg Jr. Desserts.
This film stars both Christian Bale and Jared Leto. Bale would later go on to star as Batman in the Dark knight trilogy and Leto would later star as The Joker in Suicide Squad (2016).
In its initial stages of development, Oliver Stone was set to executive produce and Rob Weiss direct. Weiss intended to cast Shannen Doherty as Evelyn Williams.
In the early 1990s, Bret Easton Ellis wrote a script for David Cronenberg, with young Brad Pitt attached to the lead role. Based on Ellis, Cronenberg hated the restaurant and nightclub scenes, and didn't want to shoot the violence. When Ellis basically ignored these requests, disappointed Cronenberg hired his own writer, and when that didn't work out either, left the project. Ellis also wrote another pass on the script for producer Rob Weiss in 1995 before director/writer Mary Harron (and Oliver Stone at some point) came aboard.
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The scene early on in the film in which Evelyn asks Patrick why he doesn't quit his job seeing as he hates it and Patrick replies "because I want to fit in", is in the novel but between him and his ex girlfriend Bethany; whom he admits to killing with a nail gun in the phone call with his lawyer.
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Both this film and Memento (2000) uses the song "Something in the Air" by David Bowie during the end credits. Christian Bale would later work with Memento director Christopher Nolan in The Dark Knight Trilogy and The Prestige (2006). Bowie also appeared in The Prestige under Nolan's direction.
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This is the second movie where Reese Witherspoon cries after getting dumped in a restaurant. The other being Legally Blonde (2001).
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In a scene in the movie, Christian Bale's character Patrick Bateman kills a prostitute by throwing a chainsaw down at her while she runs down a spiralling staircase. Bale later had a similar scene in The Dark Knight (2008) when he as the Batman jumps down a spiraling ramp onto a van driven by the Scarecrow.
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Reese Witherspoon later re-plays a character named Elle Woods that has the same features like Evelyn in this movie in Legally Blonde (2001) and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003).
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In each scene with Detective Donald Kimball (Willem Dafoe), Mary Harron asked Dafoe to portray his character three different ways: 1) Kimble knew Patrick Bateman killed Paul Allen, 2) Kimball didn't know Bateman killed Allen, and 3) Kimball wasn't sure if Bateman killed Allen. Harron would then edit the takes together, giving the audience an unsure vibe of what Detective Kimball thought of Bateman.
The ending traditionally has two possible explanations. 1. Patrick killed all of the women we see him kill and the lawyer at the end simply mistakes Paul Allen for some other yuppie much like Bateman is mistaken for Halberstram, almost like a sick joke. 2. Bateman didn't kill anyone but simply fantasizes it all either in his office by drawing it in his notebook, or in one scene on the paper table cloth while with his fiancé. This is why he claims "this confession has meant nothing" because it didn't happen.
When Bateman kills Paul Allen, two GQ magazines can be seen on the table: August 1987; "The Lusts And Luck of Corbin Bernsen", and June 1987; "Timothy Dalton is the New James Bond".
This is the second film to star both Christian Bale and Samantha Mathis. They both starred previously in Little Women (1994) and coincidentally they were a couple in that film as well.

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