There are few independent films that get as much attention and print before they even get made or shown to the public as Paul Schrader‘s “The Canyons.” But then again, there are few films like “The Canyons.” A collaboration between Schrader and writer Bret Easton Ellis, the movie was funded out of pocket by the filmmakers (Schrader, Ellis and producer Braxton Pope), along with a boost from Kickstarter, and tells the story of a group of young people in their 20s, in a depiction of contemporary Los Angeles and young Hollywood in the “post-Empire” era. Much of the buzz thus far has centered around Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen who take the lead roles in the movie, and while that brought its own set of challenges and fueled speculation about the movie, Schrader was certainly aware of the attention his picture was receiving.
“To be honest, it’s something we created. We stirred the pot, simply with the casting of Lindsay and James,” Paul Schrader told us in an interview this week. “And Lindsay brings with her, her drama and then Bret, he has a very promiscuous Twitter finger, and he can always relied on to upset somebody with some tweet. We kind of stirred our town pot.” But what the director wants to stress is that while much has been made about the production of the film, whatever happened behind the scenes didn’t affect the final outcome.
“I felt that another storyline was developing,” Schrader said about the chatter around the movie, “which was people confusing a troubled production with a troubled film — people do this all the time. Whereas in fact, there’s very little in common [with the two]. Some of the smoothest shoots in the world make terrible movies, and vice versa.” And in short, Schrader overcame whatever difficulties landed in his path.
“I got very lucky. I look back on it, and it was a film where a number of things should have gone wrong, and they didn’t,” Schrader added. “James was terrific, Lindsay was terrific, we made a film with a $90,000 outlay of money from our pockets. It looks great, IFC paid a lot for it, and it’s in profit already. We got lucky. It’s like you go into the casino and put all your money on red, and win.”
It should be noted, that while there have been a handful of teaser trailers already, done in various genre styles, they are not indicative of the final product at all. It was yet another calculated movie to bring some attention to “The Canyons,” but you’ll soon be able to see the end result yourself. The picture will open in New York City on August 2nd, and will also be available on the same day on VOD and iTunes. From there it will expand to additional markets on August 9th, including a special screening at UCLA tied to a retrospective of Schrader’s films. And it will cap off with an international premiere at the Venice Film Festival playing out of competition.
Until then, check out these exclusive pics featuring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen from “The Canyons.” We’ll have more from our conversation with Paul Schrader closer to the release of the film.