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Paul Schrader’s Bret Easton Ellis Penned Sexual Thriller ‘The Canyons’ To Shoot This Summer, Casting Underway

Paul Schrader's Bret Easton Ellis Penned Sexual Thriller 'The Canyons' To Shoot This Summer, Casting Underway

Back in January, word cropped up that screenwriter/author Bret Easton Ellis and director Paul Schrader were cooking up a microbudget film together, an L.A. based noir. Ellis provocatively teased that the male lead “has to act and be full frontal naked banging girls and guys realistically” and he suggested porn star James Deen for one of the lead roles. Well, the Ellis has provided another update about the movie, tweeting today: “Shooting begins July 9th in Los Angeles…”

While exact plot details are being kept under wraps, The Playlist has learned that the film will follow a small group of Los Angeles twenty-somethings, in a psycho-sexual thriller that will have both crime and redemption elements. As Ellis has suggested, both the male and female leads will have nudity as a requirement, but we’re told it won’t be employed salaciously. But perhaps the most intriguing element of the production is how the financing and distribution is being put together.  Ellis, Schrader and producer Braxton Pope are financing the picture, and while they have had some interest from the mini-majors around town, they plan to hang on to the project themselves so they can make it without any compromises. The picture will be shot digitally, with a VOD/Netflix style release planned.

As for who will star, casting has only just begun. There is already an open casting call for the five lead roles: Christian, a trust fund kid, power player and major manipulator, who is a film producer that enjoys filming his own three-way sex sessions; Tara, his girlfriend and former model; Ryan, a bartender and young actor who is angling for a role in Christian’s horror movie; Gina, who works for Ryan and is in love with him and is also looking for a role in the horror pic and finally, Lindsay, a former actress turned yoga instructor who is sleeping with Christian, and falling in love with him.

As we said, casting is still very early and Deen has yet to meet with Schrader to talk about the film. Despite the seemingly pulp nature of the material, we’re told it’s very much an actor’s piece and the filmmakers are looking for actors who can deliver.

Shooting on “The Canyons” will take place from July 9-31. Updates on the project can be found at the Facebook page.

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Ellis has confirmed that Lindsay Lohan (??) has been cast. I can't imagine her acting alongside a porn star, but at least she'll probably be hitting something for once that doesn't involve a motor vehicle.

Caryn Moss - Moss Entertainment

My girl would be perfect for Gina
Niki Saletta
Actress/ Recording Artist/Songwriter/Producer
Best known as playing "Deena" on 7th heaven for 5 seasons


James Deen in a mainstream film would be a very cool thing. He's got the looks, and the cool, and most importantly, the sense of humor. Unfortunately, Schrader's films always peel away layers of their characters' psychology, which is why he only works with the best actors in the world. Deen may be capable of that, but how would we know? It'd be a huge risk for Schrader. It'd much less risk for a proven actor to show a little peen.

Mr Anonymous

Ellis provocatively teased that the male lead "has to act and be full frontal naked banging girls and guys realistically" – where's Michael Fassbender when you need him! :D


First thing I thought when I saw that poster was the abandoned theater scene from A Clockwork Orange, and "a small group of Los Angeles of twenty-somethings, in a psycho-sexual thriller" just hit it home

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