15 things that you didn't know about American Psycho

  • Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

It's been 15 years since Christian Bale brought the serial killer (?) and charismatic, Huey Lewis-obsessed Wall Street yuppie Patrick Bateman to our screens.

People are still debating whether Patrick Bateman actually did kill all those people and went mad from this gory modern masterpiece.

So, to celebrate the films 15th birthday, here are 15 interesting things about Patrick Bateman and the rest at Pierce & Pierce.

1. Christian Bale based his performance as Patrick Bateman on Tom Cruise

Looking for a way to create the character of Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale stumbled onto a Tom Cruise appearance on David Letterman.

According to director Mary Harron, Bale saw in Cruise "this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes" and Bale subsequently based the character of Bateman on that.

2. The 'whoosh' sounds during the famous business card scene was created by slowing down the sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath.

On each of the business cards, the word 'acquisitions' is incorrectly spelled as 'aquisitions'.

3. Christian Bale showed up as Patrick Bateman to his first meeting with author Bret Easton Ellis

Bale showed up to the restaurant dressed and acting as Patrick Bateman, but it didn't go down to well with American Pycho author Ellis:

“That was in 1998, I think, when that happened. I didn’t have an issue with Christian Bale doing that at the time, it was just seriously unnerving... I was unnerved that I was in a restaurant with someone pretending to be this monster that I created.

"I just wanted him to stop. I asked him to stop, and then he did, and it was fine, and then Mary Harron joined us, so it was more comfortable. But he was intense!”

4. The film had problems with designer labels allowing their brand to be seen in various parts of the film

Cerruti agreed to allow Christian Bale to wear their clothes, but not when the character was killing anyone. 

Rolex agreed that anyone in the film could wear their watches except Bateman (hence the famous line from the book "Don't touch the Rolex" had to be changed to "Don't touch the watch"). 

Perry Ellis provided underwear at the last minute after Calvin Klein pulled out of the project. 

Comme des Garçons refused to allow one of their overnight bags to be used to carry a corpse, so Jean Paul Gaultier was used instead.

5. During production, Christian Bale followed the same morning routine explained by Patrick Bateman

"In the morning if my face is a little puffy I'll put on an ice pack while doing stomach crunches. I can do 1000 now.

After I remove the ice pack I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower I use a water activated gel cleanser, then a honey almond body scrub, and on the face an exfoliating gel scrub.

Then I apply an herb-mint facial mask which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine.

I always use an after shave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older.

Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion."

6. During shooting, Christian Bale spoke in an American accent off set at all times

At the wrap party, when he began to speak in his own British accent, many of the crew thought he was speaking that way as an accent for another film - they had thought he was American throughout the entire shoot.

7. Christian Bale improvised the dance to Huey Lewis and the News in the scene where he kills Paul Allen

Bale surprised director Mary Harron by starting to dance as Bateman was preparing to kill Paul Allen (Jared Leto) and she collapsed with laughter.  

Along with the voiceover, Bateman's moonwalk during this scene was the only part of the movie that author Bret Easton Ellis didn't like, as he felt it was "too explicit".

8. The film's single biggest cost was purchasing the rights to the various songs used throughout

9. There was a bit of a casting and directorial merry-go-round

Initially Mary Harron was set to write and direct and offered the part of Patrick Bateman to Christian Bale. 

The producers at Lionsgate tried to talk Harron into casting Edward Norton, but she refused, and was allowed to cast Bale. 

Lions Gate then told Harron that they were going to make an offer to Leonardo DiCaprio to play Bateman. Harron told them if they did, she would leave the project, which is exactly what happened. 

Oliver Stone was subsequently hired to replace Harron, and eventually DiCaprio left the project to shoot The Beach instead. 

As the budget began to get out of control, Stone also left, prompting Lions Gate to rehire Harron, who returned to her original castings.

10. Christian Bale was warned by many that it would be career suicide for him to play the lead in a film like this

It only made him more eager to take the part.

11. Willem Dafoe played his character three different ways in each scene

In each scene with Detective Donald Kimball, director Mary Harron asked Dafoe to portray his character three ways:

  1. Kimble knew Patrick Bateman killed Paul Allen,
  2. Kimball didn't know Bateman killed Allen
  3. Kimball wasn't sure if Bateman killed Allen.

Harron would then edit the takes together, giving the audience an unsure vibe of what Detective Kimball thought of Bateman.

12. Ewan McGregor was talked out of taking the role by Christian Bale

Ewan McGregor was offered the role of Patrick Bateman before Chritian Bale was, but declined after Bale personally urged him to do so.

13.Although Patrick is extremely wealthy, we never actually see him do any work.

14. Leonardo DiCaprio was encouraged not to star in the film by Christian Bale's future stepmother

When Leonardo DiCaprio was still attached to the project, feminist activist Gloria Steinem lobbied him not to make the film, as his fan base consisted predominately of young teenage girls, and he could ruin his career.

Steinem had spoken out about the novel several times and was against the film version in any incarnation.

Interestingly, she would soon become Christian Bale's stepmother.

15. A sign reading "This is not an exit" is shown in the closing scene. These are the last words of the novel.

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