I’d been following Bret Easton Ellis’ tweets pretty religiously last summer. Like with all of his writing, looking back it seems vague, like a dream, and you can more remember the music you were listening to when you read it, or the way you felt, but the rest is—blurry. I saw this in February of this year, a break in the regular [but still including] curious references to pop music and film criticisms:
I was poking around his site and found more no-news news about the progress of the project. This Vanity Fair article, the basis for the screenplay for The Golden Suicides, is the story of Theresa and Jeremy, successful, good looking, blooming careers within the arts community, “co-muses” who took their own lives a week apart. It’s haunting, totally bizarre, and yet totally imaginable. Especially from Bret’s eye view. This read like it was straight out of one of his books:
Lovely Theresa Duncan liked to go for drives along the Pacific Coast Highway in her butter-colored Alfa Romeo Spider, listening to Steely Dan. She liked the band for the stories they told about hard-luck characters.
Meteoric beautiful people, in a “cosmic kind of love,” theirs was a rapid descent into what appeared to be a madness made possible by their intense, 12-year connection. Uh, sign me up.
At times I would hear her cackling and hooting from the alley…”[She] shrieked ‘cult whore’ and ‘cult hooker’ repeatedly. She was very frightening.”… She went to parties wearing sequined hot pants. Her boyfriend was Mitch Parker, former bassist of Government Issue. They had a song called “Asshole.” Sometimes she would take out her compact and apply lipstick when someone was boring her….She drank champagne by the bottle—all there ever was in their refrigerator.
Yikes. Read the article; it’s fantastic. I’ll warn you, though—similar to the way it feels to wrap up a chapter of American Psycho or Lunar Park—you’ll probably want to go stand in the sunshine afterwards, call your mom, and then take a nap.
Currently “in development” and slated for a 2011 release (according to imdb). I’m thrilled—but at the same time feeling like I have no legitimate film knowledge from which to draw that excitement—that Gus Van Sant is directing not tied to directing yet. I wonder what angle it will take—outside, watching Theresa and Jeremy’s paralleled deterioration and burned bridges? Or from the inside, feeling the paranoia and disappointment, and applauding the security they wrung out of each other?—and can only assume with Bret behind it, we won’t cease to be moved, frightened, and—when it’s over—blurry.
UPDATE: I had this whole other paragraph before I posted this about The Informers film version but felt it was irrelevant. I couldn’t figure out how to wonder aloud about Bret’s writing as it is expressed on screen, but then I read this incredible Vice interview [read it. really.] and after some talk of the Less Than Zero movie, I read this part on the subject of The Golden Suicides and was so freaking validated:
How did you end up writing this movie?
I read the New York magazine piece about them, and I was going through something at the time that made it really resonate with me. I had moved to LA and I was having some really bad relationship problems. I was involved with someone crazy, and I was also very frustrated by the disaster that was The Informers.
Then felt intrigued:
And so I read the David Amsden article about Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan and their suicides, and it resonated with me in terms of what happens when you’re hooked up with someone who’s losing their mind, but you love them and their world becomes yours. I thought back on all this stupid shit that I did when I was with this person. Usually you realize you’re with someone who’s crazy and you eventually back away. You go, “Oh, I get it! I get it now.” But what happens if you don’t? What happens if you just follow them? So I talked to a producer who I’ve worked with before on a couple of other scripts that weren’t made. I said, “Take a look at this. I want to do this as a movie.” And he read it and he said, “I think that’s totally cool. Let me option the article.” Now, I had problems with the New York piece. There was a lot of it that I don’t like. But I was incredibly sympathetic to the story itself.
It’s such dark and sad material.
But it’s not a dark and sad movie.
I mean, it’s a sad movie, but it’s not dark. There’s a doomed romantic quality to it. There’s something very enigmatic about this thing, and it’s based on delusions and the mazes you find yourself trapped in. The movie is really Jeremy Blake’s journey. We meet him before he even knows Theresa Duncan. I really related to Jeremy, and I love his work, and I kind of fell in love with him. The movie is from his point of view. It’s not from her point of view. It is an incredibly sympathetic portrait of him, and I think of her, too. Part of the problem with the original magazine piece is that it’s kind of gossipy and a little salacious at times, and it concentrates on things that I’m not that interested in. But this is a heartfelt script. If anyone is thinking that I’m doing some kind of, like, “Bret Easton Ellis” take on it, like it’s a satire or stand-up, they are completely wrong. It’s a very heartfelt love story.
L’s and G’s, as if we didn’t already know it after reading Lunar Park, it appears Mr. Ellis has grown up.
Excellent. Said like Mr. Burns, with the dead Scientology cat on my lap.