A tumultuous shoot, a volatile leading lady, and a veteran director collaborating with one of the most visible Twitter presences around; Kenneth Anger might just need to devote the entirety of “Hollywood Babylon IV” to Paul Schrader's “The Canyons” alone. But before that volume comes out, we've got the filmmaker's latest rebuttal against early criticisms of the film, as well as Steven Soderbergh hinting at what's in store when it's finally released.
WME sales agents are showing the Lindsey Lohan/James Deen drama to acquisition execs this week, but after a recent series of increasingly worrisome turns — starting with Stephen Rodrick's engrossing NYT piece and ending with the film's Sundance and SXSW rejections — a hugely positive pitch will be needed to sway the requisite parties. However, Schrader tells IndieWire that his first step toward “cinema for the post-theatrical era" begins with “The Canyons,” and that means working with “a new economic paradigm” for his latest work.
Inspired by Ed Burns' recent success with social media-led projects, the writer/director proclaimed recently, "We are in a very fluid exhibition world where there are so many platforms and so many price points that theatrical just has to be seen as part of a panoply of options. Straight to video isn't even a relevant term anymore.”
Schrader has eyed a possible spring festival showing for the film before moving to VOD, but before then, he's showed cuts to industry friends and contacts, including Village Voice critic Scott Foundas, who described it as "a fascinating meeting of the minds between Paul Schrader and [writer] Bret Easton Ellis."
Aside from Foundas, Schrader has also shown the film to fellow directors like Nicolas Winding Refn and Steven Soderbergh, and while promoting his last theatrical offering “Side Effects,” the latter called it “fascinating” while also noting that “there's a spectacular sex scene" within as well.
Titillation aside, it's hard to read just what kind of "fascinating" Soderbergh's describing (he did offer to edit the film, however), but there's no denying Schrader, Ellis and co. have stirred up a mountain of buzz surrounding their curious cinematic creation. Perhaps not the kind Schrader particularly enjoys, but as he says, “You get a lot of bombs thrown your way, but all those explosions keep things interesting."