Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis Commit THE GOLDEN SUICIDES

     October 13, 2009


In 2007, two artists who were hot in the California scene committed suicide, one after the other, following fits of paranoia the two suffered, fearing the government and religious organizations were conspiring against them. Theresa Duncan, a video game designer for girls, killed herself in her bedroom. Jeremy Blake, a popular “digital painter,” found her there and ended his life by walking into the ocean a week later. And Nancy Jo Sales wrote an article for “Vanity Fair” about it. Now, two years later, perhaps the worst combination of writers imaginable are teaming up to pen the film. Find out more about the project, and why Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis spell disaster, after the jump.

The screen rights to this property were acquired by three different production companies working together. The first is PalmStar Entertainment, best known for producing the indie drama “Fifty Pills”–a surprisingly uninteresting film given the fact that it’s about a college student unloading drugs by any means necessary–and for casting the sequel that never should have been, “S. Darko.” The second is Celluloid Dreams, which prides itself on a library of abundant, needlessly obscure international titles. And the third is K5 Film, which has released four films this year thus far that weren’t even a blip on the public radar.

If these details alone don’t worry you, the names involved should. I mean, I’ll admit Gus Van Sant is a highly respected director. Even if I’m not his biggest fan, many are. But let’s remember: Gus Van Sant isn’t directing. He’s writing. And he’s a pretty strange writer. Anyone remember “Elephant?” Eye opening, sure, but can anyone really explain that shower scene toward the end without grasping at straws? His work is just needlessly cerebral. But he is certainly the better half of this pair.

If Gus Van Sant is needlessly cerebral, Bret Easton Ellis is needlessly sensational. The decline of moral decency and the rise of teen apathy never seemed so disgustingly glamorous as it did in “Less Than Zero.” Or “Glamorama.” Or “The Rules of Attraction” or “American Psycho.” In fact, they’re all essentially the same book–200+ pages of sexually ambiguous, cheap shock value drama. And honestly, nothing he’s every written has made a good movie. Even “American Psycho,” which is arguably his best adaptation, is too absurd to connect to and ultimately leaves an audience feeling cheated. The man can’t be trusted with a pen, let alone a film deal.

So what we have here is a collection of bad production companies commissioning a pair of bad screenwriters to write a project that, ultimately, can’t be anything but bad. Unless this is a case of two wrongs making a write, “The Golden Suicides” will be a film to keep close tabs on…if only to make sure you don’t waste your time on it by accident.




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