'American Psycho' unearthed: 9 behind-the-scenes secrets you never knew

May 29, 2023 06:52 PM IST

Here we uncover nine surprising facts about 'American Psycho', including casting, challenges during production, and interesting traits of actor Christian Bale.

From being a controversial novel to becoming a cult film, 'American Psycho' has etched a permanent place in the annals of pop culture. However, there are numerous lesser-known aspects of the film that are as fascinating as its on-screen narrative. Here are nine surprising facts that will change how you view the iconic film.

American Psycho starring Christian Bale was released in 2000.(IMDB)
American Psycho starring Christian Bale was released in 2000.(IMDB)

DiCaprio, not Bale, as Bateman?

In 1997, Mary Harron was set to make 'American Psycho' with Christian Bale as her chosen lead, reported Cinemablend. However, the studio hesitated due to Bale's relative obscurity and considered Leonardo DiCaprio for the part. The project was nearly transformed into an Oliver Stone film featuring DiCaprio. Activist and journalist Gloria Steinem reportedly influenced DiCaprio to steer clear of the film to protect his young fans post-'Titanic'. Interestingly, Steinem married David Bale and became Christian Bale's stepmother a few months after the release of 'American Psycho'​. (In detail: Did you know that Leonardo DiCaprio once turned down American Psycho and these other films?)

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Bale's Career Gamble

Christian Bale's portrayal of Patrick Bateman is hailed as one of his finest performances. Ironically, many warned him against taking on the role, fearing it would be "career suicide." The negative feedback only increased Bale's interest in the project, and his decision clearly paid off​. (ALSO READ: Christian Bale reveals being paid less than his make-up artists for American Psycho: ‘They were laughing at me')

The X-Factor: Bale's 'Dorkiness'

Director Mary Harron believes that Christian Bale's ability to embrace Bateman's 'dorkiness' set him apart from other contenders. Bale fully embodied the awkwardness of Bateman, which was crucial to the character's authenticity and appeal​.

The One-Take Face Peel

The early scene where Bateman peels off his facial mask, revealing the façade of the serial killer, was executed perfectly in the first take. This scene is considered a key moment in establishing the character's persona​.

Brand and Song Acquisition Struggles

The production faced challenges in acquiring the necessary brands and songs for the film. The controversy surrounding the novel made various brands and music rights holders hesitant. Lines had to be altered, and certain songs were replaced with alternative versions​1​.

Author's Nitpick

Author Bret Easton Ellis generally approved of the film adaptation of his work. However, he took issue with one specific aspect: the moonwalk that Bateman performs before murdering Jared Leto's character, Paul Allen​.

Regret over Allen's Name

Director Mary Harron later regretted changing Jared Leto's character's name from Paul Owen (as in the book) to Paul Allen. This led to unintended speculation about a connection to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen​.

Family Scenes Cut

Earlier versions of the screenplay included scenes featuring Bateman's family. These scenes were removed to avoid offering excuses or explanations for Bateman's behaviour, whether rooted in an abusive childhood or bad genes​1​.

The 'Robo-Actor'

Christian Bale's remarkable ability to control his sweat glands earned him the nickname "Robo-Actor" on set. This skill was notably observed during the filming of the business card exchange sequence, where Bale could sweat on cue, take after take​.

These surprising facts add another layer of intrigue to 'American Psycho', offering a deeper understanding of its creation and the decisions that shaped its final form. The film continues to captivate audiences with its complex character portrayals and its unflinching exploration of the darker aspects of human nature.

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