Bret Easton Ellis celebrates the 25th anniversary of his 1991 novel American Psycho in March, a novel that was so inventive it was adapted into a film in 2000, starring Christian Bale and Reese Witherspoon. The film, which explored the life of wealthy Wall Street banker whose pursuit of the American Dream leads to delusion, anxiety, and murder, has stood the test of time for its endless quotability and postmodern qualities.
Bret Easton Ellis, who apparently applauded the way the film turned out with the exception of Bale’s pre-murder dance moves**, recently opened up to Town & Country Magazine about who Patrick Bateman’s character would be if he lived in modern times.
**these dance moves.
Here’s what he had to say :
So what would I tell fans who ask me where Patrick Bateman would be now, as if he were actually alive, tactile, wandering through our world in flesh and blood? For a while during the mid- to late ’90s—at the height of the dotcom bubble, when Manhattan seemed even more absurdly decadent than it did in 1987, before Black Monday—it was a possibility that Bateman, if the book had been moved up a decade, would have been the founder of a number of dotcoms. He would have partied in Tribeca and the Hamptons, indistinguishable from the young and handsome boy wonders who were populating the scene then, with their millions of nonexistent dollars, dancing unknowingly on the edge of an implosion that happened mercilessly, wiping out the playing field, correcting scores.
Ellis continues to explain why he thinks Bateman would thrive in this environment–new technologies would only aid his obsessions with murder and torture and allowed him to misogynistically record them for his own self-indulgent pleasures.
Then he goes on a tangent that I cannot get on board with. And that’s saying something considering this is the person who created the Bateman character.
But before I get to that, please accept a message from our sponsors:
K. Please continue, Bret Easton Ellis.
And sometimes I think that if I had written the book in the past decade, perhaps Bateman would have been working in Silicon Valley, living in Cupertino with excursions into San Francisco or down to Big Sur to the Post Ranch Inn and palling around with Zuckerberg and dining at the French Laundry, or lunching with Reed Hastings at Manresa in Los Gatos, wearing a Yeezy hoodie and teasing girls on Tinder. Certainly he could also just as easily be a hedge-funder in New York: Patrick Bateman begets Bill Ackman and Daniel Loeb.
No chance is hell Bateman would even consider eating at the same restaurant as Zuckerberg and his Costco sweatshirt. I mean, look at this man:
Ellis closes his extrapolation by inserting Patrick Bateman into the social media cesspool of self-obsession.
In the period when the novel takes place Bateman is a member of the as yet unnamed one percent, and he would probably still be now. But would Patrick Bateman actually be living somewhere else, and would his interests be any different? Would better criminology forensics (not to mention Big Brother cameras on virtually every corner) allow him to get away with the murders he tells the reader he committed, or would his need to express his rage take other forms? For example, would he be using social media—as a troll using fake avatars? Would he have a Twitter account bragging about his accomplishments? Would he be using Instagram, showcasing his wealth, his abs, his potential victims? Possibly.
What great foresight from the person who created one of the most maniacal, captivating characters I’ve ever seen.
WATCH: Christian Bale’s Most Drastic Transformations, including Patrick Bateman: