Columns > Published on December 28th, 2011

Top 10 Things We'd Like to See in the 'American Psycho' Remake

Recently, we covered a story about the American Psycho remake—an idea that, initially, I was strongly against.  First of all, it’s only been about ten years.  Why remake something that isn’t all that old?  Secondly: why remake something that was done right the first time?  Seriously, who’s going to do a better Bateman than Christian Bale?  And how can you take him out of the 80’s?  Patrick Bateman is the 80’s.  You can’t really expect to modernize his character while maintaining the spirit of Bret Easton Ellis' novel (which I also love).  The very idea of a contemporary remake offended me, and seemed impossible to pull off in a way that would please the book's fans.  People are still bitching about it over on Bret’s Facebook, and I can’t really blame them.  It’s easy to reject something that threatens to replace the thing you hold near and dear.  The same defense mechanisms kick in every time I hear about a Goonies or Back to the Future remake.  It's a bad idea.

But slowly, my feelings started to change.  My conversations went from “They shouldn’t be doing this!” to “Well, if they go forward, they should do it like this...” in nature.  My friends and I talked about portions of the book missing from the first adaptation that we would like to see included in this one.  Opportunities reclaimed.  We actually started to get excited about this avant-garde version of our favorite yuppie.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 things we’d like to see in the American Psycho remake:

1. Michael Fassbender as Patrick Bateman:  

I know.  I know.  Ellis wants either Miles Fischer or Scott Disick for the gig, and I’ll admit, that seemed like inspired casting at first.  However, do we really want to sit through two hours of either one doing their best Christian Bale impression?  Good God, Disick isn’t even technically an actor, and if you’ve even seen one episode of that terrible show he’s on, it’s not like the guy is Mr. Dependable.  Then there’s Miles Fischer, who resembles Bale even more than Disick does, and has a music video that practically serves as an audition tape. 


Sorry guys, but if we’re doing a reboot, then we have to reboot the character first.  A Bale impersonation is the last thing we want. Fassbender, I think, not only has the basic physical requirements (refer to: 300) but also has that ability to charm one minute and turn violent the next.  More importantly, Fassbender will make this character his own.  He did it with Magneto in X-Men: First Class and he could do it again with Patrick Bateman.  The guy is fucking smooth.  Watch any of his previous work and you’ll see the potential there.  Also, if you’ve caught him in Shame, you already know Fassbender’s got experience playing a New York yuppie who has difficulty controlling his urges.  The casting here seems obvious.

My close second choice: Ryan Gosling.  Dude killed it in Drive.

2. James Van Der Beek as Sean Bateman: 

You wouldn’t know it if you’ve only seen the movie, but in the novel we actually make it inside Dorsia not once, but twice.  The first time, Patrick takes Jean, his doting secretary. He doesn't have a reservation, but they get in using another couple’s name. Unfortunately, they are kicked out once that particular couple shows up. The second time is with Sean Bateman, Patrick’s younger brother from Rules of Attraction.  You may remember he was played brilliantly by James Van Der Beek in the Roger Avary adaptation, instantly redeeming himself in the eyes of all who called him a puss for his Dawson’s Creek stint.

This cameo would obviously be a fan-pleaser.  Not only would we actually get to see Dorsia this time, but we’d have Van Der Beek tying Rules to AP, which are two things we didn’t get in the Mary Harron adaptation.

3. Bateman on current day Wall Street: 

Think about it.  What’s happening on Wall Street right now that would irritate Patrick Bateman to no end?  He’d deal with them every morning and afternoon going to and from the office.  He’d see them on his way to power lunches with McDermott and Van Patten, which may or may not still be at Fluties.  No, not bums.  In the current day, the yuppies of Pierce & Pierce would have to deal with ‘Occupy’ protestors, and boy, there couldn't be a more fitting demographic of victims to wind up under Mr. Bateman’s knife.

Oh sure, he’d make some sort of compassionate speech over dinner about how the OWS movement has some valid points, probably followed by some spiel about how he’d do the same thing if he were in their situation.  That’s a classic function of Bateman: showing empathy for things he’s actually against or disagrees with in an attempt to appear humane.  First chance he got though, Bateman would yank one of these people out of the herd and go to work on them with a power drill.  If Lion’s Gate wants Bateman in the present day, the ‘Occupy’ movement is about as current as it gets.

4. The Don and 'The Patty Winters Show':

In both the novel and the film, Bateman has an intense fixation on Donald Trump, often bringing him up in conversation or insisting that he's close by.  He even resolves to give the pizzas at Pastel’s another chance (he previously denounced them) after an associate shows him the good review Trump gave them.  “The Don,” as he refers to him, is often mentioned but never seen.  In this modern remake, it would make sense that Bateman would be an avid viewer of “The Apprentice” and support Trump’s political aspirations.  I wouldn’t be so heavy-handed as to have Trump drop in for a full-on cameo, but to have him on TV in the background or showing one of his books on Bateman’s coffee table would get the point across.  Fans would notice and appreciate this.  If you truly don't want to get 'The Don' involved (since it would probably cost some significant coin), then at least bring in The Patty Winters Show.  The diehards want to see that Cheerio get interviewed.

5. Porn stars over hookers:

We already know that Bateman has an affinity for high-priced escorts and porn, considering that epic hooker threesome and how he liked to make phone calls with Inside Lydia’s Ass playing in the background.  The modernized version, however, might not slum so low.  Although paying for sex is a regular M.O. for Bateman, hookers and call girls would be a bit too pedestrian for him.  Not exclusive enough.  It would make more sense to see him arranging a session with some contract star from Vivid or Penthouse—porn stars that would cost a small fortune to acquire, a sort of sexual delicacy in Bateman’s mind. 

For him, it would not be about the actual sex, but rather about indulging in something his peers are not, or perhaps aren’t inclined to arrange.  It would be about bringing those smut-laden movies into the reality of his bedroom.  If you remember the threesome scene from the first American Psycho, Bateman wasn’t really hiring prostitutes. In his mind, he was hiring co-stars.  It was all about how he looked and blocking and making sure everyone was in frame for the camera. 

6. Olivia Wilde as Courtney Rawlinson:

This will make sense when Bateman says the line, “Courtney is almost perfect looking.”

7. Bateman, the social networker:

Writers are probably already foaming at the mouth over the idea of Bateman having a Facebook and Twitter account: his status updates, pics he uploads, who he follows, etc.  I could see it being used as an avenue for when he starts to lose his sanity, posting things like, “How should I kill this call girl? Ax or sledgehammer?” followed by McDermott Tweeting back, “Oh @PatBateman does this mean you’ll be late to the office again?” followed by a reply to both from Paul Allen/Owen: “@PatBateman @CMcDermott take an ax to MY face! Bored out of my mind at Pier 17! No hardbodies.”

You get the point.  Somehow, someway, there’s going to be this attempt to slip in the modern medium of communication that is social networking, and although I don’t think Bateman would be overly concerned with how many followers he has or his friend count, I can’t deny there are other areas of opportunity.  Bateman would probably obsess over getting an @reply from Trump or following Paul Allen/Owen in an effort to see which parties he’s at and who he’s with.  He would push his musical tastes with YouTube videos.  More than anything though, I think Bateman would be a “check in” junkie, since he’s the type that goes to a restaurant more to be seen than to eat.  Perhaps he even fakes a “check in” at Dorsia simply to say he’s been there when, in actuality, all he did was walk by.

8. The rat and the urinal cake:

Yet two more ways in which the new film could take advantage of the source material.  The original film left these scenes out, and they are two of the more popular.  If you’ve read the book, then you’re already familiar with them, so feel free to skip to the next section.

For those of you that haven't read the book (shame on you), the rat section of the novel involves Bateman feeding a rodent into a woman’s vaginal cavity after extensive torture, making it one of the more extreme kills in Psycho.  Obviously, this was left out by Harron for reasons of taste and to ensure an R-rating. In the urinal cake scene, Bateman dips one of these in chocolate and gives it to Evelyn Williams, his “supposed fiancé,” under the guise of it being Godiva chocolate.  She tries to eat it, despite herself.

Again, this is another way in which you could remain faithful while putting a new spin on things.

9. Bateman, the modern day man:

Let’s face it, Bateman is 80’s pop culture.  That means you'd need to update that same persona to the current day.  You can’t cut out his intense study of pop music, his love of tech and celebrity, or his knowledge of fashion trends and clothing designers.  Feel free to throw in bottled water if you want, too.

And of course Bateman is going to have an iPad or iPhone or whatever, but he’d take it up a notch by getting that $1,200 Dolce & Gabbana leather case.  He’d have the same 92” TV all his friends have, but his speakers would be far superior and he’d talk your ear off about the specifications, memorized from the manual.  He'd be able to spot a knock-off print a mile away.  He’d still be that guy giving extensive monologues regarding Whitney Houston or Phil Collins, although they'd be replaced with Adele or Interpol or some indie band no one else has heard of.  The point is these obsessions with pop culture are part of the Pat Bateman identity.  Don’t forget them.

10. Please make this movie your own: 

We don’t need a shot-for-shot remake of the first film.  We don’t need the new Patrick Bateman to look or act like Christian Bale.  We don’t need any repetition of what’s already been done.  I’m still of a mind that a remake is a mistake, but if you must do this—please, do something original. When the reviews come out, that’s going to make the difference between being called a “cheap rip-off” or a “refreshing take."  You’re already in a position where you'll be compared to the previous film.  It might as well be under your own terms.  And for the love of God, don't shoot this thing in 3-D.

About the author

Brandon Tietz is the author of Out of Touch and Good Sex, Great Prayers. His short stories have been widely published, appearing in Warmed and Bound, Amsterdamned If You Do, Spark (vol. II), and Burnt Tongues, the Chuck Palahniuk anthology. Visit him at

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