Author Bret Easton Ellis ("Less Than Zero," "American Psycho") has new film project, "The Canyons," a contemporary thriller set in Hollywood. It's familiar turf for him; it tells the story of ambitous 20-somethings' questing for "power, love, sex and success." Paul Schrader is set to direct.
What's different is the pre-production. A portion of the funding was raised through Kickstarter (with unique prizes from Schrader and Ellis) and casting is taking place on the mobile app and social media website Mobli. Mobli describes themselves as "a mult-platform photo and video sharing community that brings people together around common interests. For the role of Caitlin, a beautiful and shallow Los Angeles socialite, aspiring actresses from around the country are using their phones and webcams to post audition readings to Mobli's "Canyons" channel.
While an innovative way to get the word out about a film and attract a lot of talent, the shared nature and accessability of the actual audition videos seemed exposed. Seeing the faces of all the auditioning actors stacked on top of each other, and being able to rank the auditions by popularity or even watch new auditions live, adds a disconcerting element of public vulnerability. It's an unusually candid visualization of the struggle to be an actor.
All in all, their Kickstarter goal of $100,000 has been reached. Principal photography for "The Canyons" will begin on July 9 in Los Angeles. Check out the Kickstarter pitch below: