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.

Image of American Psycho
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Price: $10.84
Publisher: Vintage (1991)
Binding: Paperback, 399 pages
Image of The Rules of Attraction
Author: Bret Easton Ellis
Price: $12.75
Publisher: Vintage (1998)
Binding: Paperback, 288 pages
Image of American Psycho [Blu-ray]
Director: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas, Bill Sage, Chloë Sevigny
Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)
Image of The Rules of Attraction [Blu-ray]
Director: Roger Avary
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Ian Somerhalder, Shannyn Sossamon, Jessica Biel, Kip Pardue
Rating: R (Restricted)

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Comments

.'s picture
. December 28, 2011 - 11:01am

And put the pork loin with lime jello back on the menu. 

Karina's picture
Karina from UK/Hong Kong is reading the usual trash December 28, 2011 - 11:21am

Patrick's a weasel.  He's not a real psychopath - that's the joke in the title.  He aspires to be one, just as he aspires to a Presidency, or a Friday night table at Dorsia's.  But he doesn't have the cojones.  There's a huge question mark in the book over whether or not he actually kills people or whether he just indulges in elaborate fantasies about killing, and THAT needs to be in the movie.  Even more than in the 1980s, people are raised on sex, violence and school shootings, and a contemporary Bateman would have to be cranked up several notches.

A present-day Bateman would have suckled on the teat of internet porn and fakesploitation snuff, and he can't stop that unreeling across his eyelids when he's talking about socks, and business cards, and who has absolutely the latest Vertu/ZTE smartphone (iPhones are for OWS scum).  He writes constant slashfic in his head and he's embarrassed about it but he can't stop doing it even when he's with normals he's trying to impress and every so often he fails to stop some bilious phrase oozing from his mouth and he has to backtrack and make it a joke when all along deep down inside he's aching for someone to love him and come all over his face like in the bukkake clips he watched when he was ten.

That's not in the book, per se.  It's subtext.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life December 28, 2011 - 11:35am

@Karina: Wow.

The fantasy element is in Harron's film, but I feel like she went too far with it, and the third act borders on the farcical (although I do love when Bateman tries to feed the kitty to the ATM).

Despite the first film's flaws, I too am wary of a remake. No one is going to top Bale as Bateman, unless they bring something totally new to the table, like Brandon said. I think the aim is for the new film to be a down and dirty remake, which is a great idea. And now that it's been brought up, I'll be severely disappointed if they don't set the whole thing amidst Occupy Wall Street. It's the perfect way to update the 80's greed of the original.

Also, I second Van Der Beek's awesomeness as Sean Batemen. People need to recognize. And I'm slightly concerned over Brandon's obsession with the vaginal habitrail scene.

.'s picture
. December 28, 2011 - 11:37am

And I'm slightly concerned over Brandon's obsession with the vaginal habitrail scene. 

He is just speaking for all of us. Who doesn't want to see the rat scene?

Rob's picture
Class Director
Rob from New York City is reading at a fast enough pace it would be cumbersome to update this December 28, 2011 - 11:57am

This is a very good list. Though, while it would be interesting to use Occupy Wall Street, I think there are a bunch of other interesting things going on in New York City they could contrast the character with, like the huge drop in crime since the 80s and the percieved aura of safety.

Or, people complain that New York City is losing it authenticity (including the hipsters and trust fund babies who got here 10 minutes ago, but they can fuck themselves). And considering Patrick Bateman's struggle for authenticity, that could be an interesting juxtaposition.  

But yea, for as ridiculous as I think a remake would be, there's fertile ground for a director who really gets the city and the character... but there would need to be a lot of updating. New York is very different than it was in the 80s (Dorsia? Try getting reservations to Momufuku Ko...) 

All that aside, if they're going to remake this movie, this list is a very good place to start. 

Cultural Snow's picture
Cultural Snow December 28, 2011 - 12:10pm

If it's updated to the present day, who would be the equivalents of Whitney Houston, Genesis and Huey Lewis & the News? Thinking Beyoncé and Coldplay for the first two, but...

Brien Piech's picture
Brien Piech December 28, 2011 - 12:13pm

Brandon, no Bethany? The porkpie hat! The poem! Finish it.

Also honerable mentions, revert the names. It is Paul OWEN and Tim PRICE.

I'd also like the red snapper pizza.

 

 

Camicia Bennett's picture
Camicia Bennett from Florida is reading Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See December 28, 2011 - 12:20pm

I agree with every single one of the suggestions listed. 

Sean Cooper's picture
Sean Cooper December 28, 2011 - 2:22pm

These suggestions actually sound pretty good, but why does it have to be American Psycho? Can't you make a new story with similar themes, if you're going to emphasise the 21st century aspects?

Dale Thomas's picture
Dale Thomas from Swansea is reading The Day Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko December 28, 2011 - 2:51pm

Fassbender is not (Zoolander voice) totally good looking enough. I mean he's ginger. They should give it to a Yank at least, Gosling is ideal but I can't see him doing it unless it's different enough from the original to warrant existence in which case he'd probably be wrong for it after all. 

 

Porkpie and poem mentions, excellent. I still want to see the bistro scene: "I know Jackie Mason!"

Otis Bright's picture
Otis Bright December 28, 2011 - 3:19pm

the new movie must remain faithful to the book, antything else would be sacrelige. the sean bateman scene at dorsia was the only scene that the harron movie really dropped the ball on. that said do not remake the orginal movie, but do not deviate or take liberties from the novel.

derekberry's picture
derekberry from South Carolina is reading Eating Animals December 28, 2011 - 3:51pm

I think that it makes sense to reset it in modern times, which will give it a cool twist. I actually didn't care too much for the book. I appreciate its themes and brutal violence, but even so, the plot suffered long dragging periods where nothing happened other than Patrick renting porn or snorting cocaine. 

The movie was pretty good and I agree about both Fassbender and Gosling. We'll need a super slick, good actor to portray Bateman or else the movie is shot. 

I hope only they can capture the materialism of today as well as mirror the 80s' glam. I imagine in a modern Patrick Bateman less offensive openess towards homosexuals and yes, even the protestors. I imagine he will secretly hate all people non-Patrick but in public, talk about acceptance and good will. Imagine Bateman toasting to New York allowing gay marriage while secretly despising the new decree.

And updated the pop culture references could in fact be quite enlightening. I'm actually optimistic for this film, though it may fail to be of any merit.

otaku's picture
otaku from Liverpool is reading Sleepless - Charlie Huston December 28, 2011 - 5:42pm

Patrick's agonising encounter with Tom Cruise in the lift (p.71) is a must for the remake.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life December 28, 2011 - 7:36pm

The Cruiser! Definitely. Although if this were a modern update you would have to take his current image problem into account, what with the Scientology and jumping up and down on couches and such.

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff December 29, 2011 - 7:13am

I want to see Patrick Bateman looking away, in scorn, from a youpr0n video.

Nick Scena's picture
Nick Scena from Philadelphia, PA December 29, 2011 - 3:16pm

This book cannot be adapted, period. 

Firstly, the graphic nature cannot be captured onto film. 

Secondly, I don't think anyone can actually portray Bateman, even Bale's pursuit came off comedic and shallow. 

Thirdly, the fact that Lions Gate is planning a "contemporary" adaptation is complete bullocks. I mean c'mon, that ruins the entire plot and theme of the novel. American Psycho isn't modern. It's a story that relies on timeline, it's episodic, and placing him in a specific generation wasn't a last minute decision by Ellis. This movie isn't a sequel, it's not a follow up, it's not Imperial Bedrooms. So, just don't do it. 

P.S. Please Noble Jones do not give the film some single word subtitle that has nothing to do with the story, like American Psycho: Requiem or something. 

Tom Corsillo's picture
Tom Corsillo from New York is reading Perfume: The Story of a Murderer December 29, 2011 - 3:33pm

It was not done right the first time and the soul of the novel was completely absent in the movie.

 

I say might as well go ahead with a remake since the only way they could degrade the original would be a shot-for-shot remake without Bale.

TheDruid's picture
TheDruid October 24, 2012 - 7:48am

I find it hard to imagine taking AP out of an 80s context. The nineties and onwards are just too clean, too decent. The 80s was power, greed and excess. Patrick can't exist in a world without shoulder pads and talking heads. 

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading currently too many to list June 7, 2013 - 8:01pm

The entire time I was watching Shame, I kept thinking about American Psycho. Fassbender would be a great Bateman, if remade. He plays evil/charming/arrogant very well. 

pauly's picture
pauly August 12, 2014 - 1:02am

While I agree completely that a new interpretation besides Baleman is a necessity (and indeed, as few homages to the movie as possible), I'm of the opinion that faithfulness to the book is more important on a spiritual basis than to shoehorn in as much callbacks to it as possible. Your hopes don't seem to match up.

RE: Bateman on current day Wall Street
Bateman does almost no work whatsoever. He mainly works his investment banker job as a means to be part of a lifestyle and fit in. He could at any time leech off his family fortune like his brother and be 100% sedentary. I'm hoping for a Bateman that has made his own massive fortune and is a true shark, like in the therap-e email series.

Let's hope too that the TV show plot between Bateman and protege won't be a desperate ripoff of Hannibal's dynamic. Or even both likelier and worse, Wall Street 1 and 2.

Literally Nick's picture
Literally Nick from New Orleans is reading Beautiful You - Chuck Palahniuk December 26, 2014 - 2:47pm

Great list, and I couldnt agree more with the suggestions of Fassbender as Bateman and Van Der Beek as Sean. This list for the first time made me consider the possibility of a remake being possible not complete trash and blasphemous, that being said, it has to ignore the original film and strictly focus on working off the novel. While how difficult I understand it would be to portray the extremem violence towrads the end of the book, there needs to be at least one scene of Bateman's Hell's Kitchen apartment, and a show of how grotesque, filthy, and littered with human remains his home apartment becomes by the end of the novel. Oh, and they also need to include the girl he used to date who is now engaged to the chef at Dorsia, whom of course he brutally murders using a nail gun (amongst other tools and tactics). Regardless, as terrible as I expect it to be, and yes I do believe this remake will be made, I cannot deny that I will go see it in the theatres, and I'm sure all these haters of the idea of a remake (myself included) will file into their loal theatres and pay the $12.50 (or whatever the price of a movie ticket these days) with a smile on their face. 

Literally Nick's picture
Literally Nick from New Orleans is reading Beautiful You - Chuck Palahniuk December 26, 2014 - 2:45pm

Also I would hate to see Miles Fisher and certainly not Scott Disick as Bateman simply because it would just be a Bale impersination, but I will say that "This is the place" remake and video by Miles Fisher is awesome!