“American Psycho” director Mary Harron made headlines earlier this month for revealing she was originally fired from the movie for rejecting the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role of Patrick Bateman. Harron wanted Christian Bale from the start, but DiCaprio was hired after expressing interest in making “Psycho” his follow-up to “Titanic.” Harron said DiCaprio exited the film over creative differences with Oliver Stone, who the studio hired as Harron’s replacement, but the film’s co-writer Guinevere Turner remembers the events somewhat differently. In an oral history of the film published by Vice this week to mark its 20th anniversary, Turner said she heard it was actually Gloria Steinem’s crusade against “American Psycho” that played a role in DiCaprio’s exit.
“My friend, who had just spoken to Gloria Steinem, said that Gloria Steinem took Leonardo DiCaprio to a Yankees game,” Turner said. “I believe, she said, ‘Please don’t do this movie. Coming off of ‘Titanic,’ there is an entire planet full of 13-year-old girls waiting to see what you do next, and this is going to be a movie that has horrible violence toward women. Soon after that, Leo dropped out, so who knows what really happened?”
Turner said there’s an irony to the story as Steinem ended up marrying Christian Bale’s dad. Once DiCaprio left the movie, the studio came back to Harron and rehired her to make the movie. The director cast Bale and the rest is history. One thing that didn’t change throughout the film’s making and release was Steinem’s critical views of the serial killer movie.
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“I met Gloria Steinem in person — I don’t know, five years ago?” Turner said. “Just at an event, and I was with a friend of mine, and I was like, ‘Don’t mention “American Psycho.” I don’t want her to hate me.’ And my friend blurts out, ‘Hey, she wrote “American Psycho!” and I was like, ‘Goddammit!’ I don’t know if Gloria Steinem heard what she said exactly; I think she just heard the words ‘American Psycho’ and she was like, ‘I think the women who made that movie were sexually molested as children.'”
Representatives for Steinem did not immediately return IndieWire’s request for comment.
Steinem is currently back in the media as a main character on the FX on Hulu limited series “Mrs. America,” where she’s played by Rose Byrne. The feminist and political activist was also the subject of Julie Taymor’s biographical drama “The Glorias,” which world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.