Excitement for ‘The Canyons’ Amps Up With a Tantalizing New Poster

For quite some time now, we’ve all been anxiously awaiting the release of Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis’ biting erotic psychodrama, The Canyons. And next week, the film Schrader has dubbed “cinema for the post-theatrical era” will finally hit theaters and VOD for your viewing satisfaction on August 2nd. 

Last week, I got the chance to chat with Schrader about bringing the provocative, simmering film to life—but more on that later. And now that we’ve seen a proper trailer for the feature, IFC has released a new poster that highlights the sordid and fantastically dramatic nature of the film with its star Lindsay Lohan and the two male figures of the film James Deen and Nolan Funk haunting alongside. 
The official synopsis reads:
While calculating young movie producer Christian (Deen) makes films to keep his trust fund intact, his actress girlfriend, Tara (Lohan), hides an affair with an actor from her past. But Christian becomes aware of her infidelity, which leads the young Angelenos into a violent, sexually-charged tour through the dark side of human nature. 
So take a look back at the latest trailer for The Canyons, see the new poster below, and check back here next week for our interview with Schrader. 

Vivid Casting Lindsay Lohan Lookalike For Inevitable ‘The Canyons’ Porn Spoof

What I really want to know is if James Deen will reprise his role.


Vivid Entertainment is on the hunt for Lindsay Lohan lookalikes — redheads with leathery skin and lips full of injectibles? — for their inevitable porn spoof of her forthcoming film, The Canyons. Vivid is ardently pursuing Deen for the spoof, via a public letter which reads: 

It would be a first in parodies … the actual star of a mainstream movie also starring in an X-Rated version of that same movie! How cool is that?

Vivid may want to consider LiLo herself to reprise her role, too. Lord knows she is hard up for cash these days if she’s borrowing money from Charlie Sheen and asking Lady Gaga to spot her some cash.  

No word on whether Bret Easton Ellis, who penned The Canyons, will be recruited to write the script. Not that there will be much talking. 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

SXSW Rejects ‘The Canyons’ Over “Quality Issues”

Like we’ve said before, The Canyons appears to be a disaster. Directed by the man who gave us one of the seminal films of the last 50 years with Taxi Driver, Paul Schrader, and penned by satirical writer of yuppie melodrama turned Twitter-bully, Bret Easton Ellis, word on the film has been anything but hopeful. And with the slew of ridiculous promotional trailers popping up in every genre, little has been left for desire with this one.

After its rejection from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, sources at The Hollywood Reporter now say that the film has been denied entry into March’s South by Southwest Festival as well. The issue apparently rests in the fact that the film suffers from "quality issues," a festival insider saying that The Canyons has "an ugliness and deadness to it." Well, there you have it. I mean honestly, that was obvious from last week’s clip that plays more like a poorly-acted porn set-up than a feature teaser of any kind. But Schrader seems to think everything’s fine. His career has taken a turn for the worst over the past two decades and either he’s just become very delusional or genuinely believes in the film and maybe everyone else just doesn’t "get it." He’s what he took to Facebook to let people know:

After the NYT Mag piece, many have asked when the film will be shown. It’s going to be a few months. The intense reactions to Liz and Dick and the Times Mag article have made us realize that there will be an immediate blowback once The Canyons is publically screened–for good and ill. That’s the nature of anything involving Lindsay (plus BEE and JD, who also elicit visceral reactions). Therefore, when the film is shown it should also be available VOD and limited theatrical. That way the curious can see the film for themselves. I am told it takes 3-4 months to organize a proper VOD release. After Sundance we’ll screen the film for multi-platform distributors and set the process in motion. In a way it’s good we’re not at Sundance. We weren’t prepared, we weren’t organized. Films enter festivals to heighten their profile. The Canyons doesn’t need to do that. We need to organize multi-platform distribution. This is not a dodge, it’s common sense. The film is very good. I have no qualms about that. Paul S.

Okay Paul, whatever you say. I want to believe you, truly, but you’re making it a little hard for us.

Watch the Rough First Clip from Paul Schrader’s ‘The Canyons’

And here I thought—well okay, nothing could possibly be worse than The Informers. But I think I may have just spoken too soon. By now we’ve all had a chance to read the wonderfully in-depth New York Times article that dives into the production of Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader’s upcoming drama, The Canyons. In the article, we gain insight into both the distressing motives of the film, Lindsay Lohan’s constant battles, and even Steven Soderbergh being turned down to edit the film. However, one shining detail remains: this looks awful. And the promotional teasers for the film are only making things worse.

Earlier this month, The Guardian wrote:

They reach for jokes that don’t connect, they labour under the illusion that running everything through iMovie’s Aged Film effect is the same as creating sharply-observed period details and, one after another, they make you want to see the film less and less. Yes, The Muppets used a similar campaign of parody trailers in 2011, but that was for a film about a felt frog and his friends. This makes The Canyons look like The Room. Apparently we’re promised a genuine trailer soon, and that might make the movie look less inept. But, at this stage, who cares?

Precisely. Hey, remember that time Paul Schrader wrote all those brilliant essays on film? Or that time he wrote Taxi Driver? Oy. I should have known. When I met the man last year, the most enthused moment came when he whipped out his cellphone and said, "Hey! Checkout my Facebook page." The page being that for The Canyons. This was also when he told me the film would be starring only unknowns. So much for that. But he’s still brilliant in my mind, so why this mess?

The first clip delivered to us, opens on a seemingly calm LA morning in which Lindsay Lohan gets out of bed to look for her misplaced phone. Musical cues allude that something is going to happen—where is my cell phone—you can really feel the drama here. One thing leads to another by the end of this lingering scene, porn star James Deen is standing over Lohan screaming that he’s going  to beat the shit out of her, while she, whimpers softly on the floor. Delightful. I know Schrader is a huge proponent of the relationship between sex and violence in his films, but like, this just looks bad. The clip feels more like the set up to a weird porno that would make yousick to your stomach and in need of a hot shower and/or tetanus shot just from watching, rather than just a melodramatic soap opera of sorts—which was what I had expected. But who knows, this is only two minutes. See for yourself.

Linkage: Solange Pops Out at ‘Girls’ Party, Beyoncé Might Be Crazy, Justin Timberlake is “Ready”

Holy cow, Solange. Sure, we’ve been paying a lot of attention to Beyoncé’s moves lately, and it seems like her kid sister didn’t want to stand in her shadow too much longer. Last night, the singer-songwriter attended last night’s Girls premiere party in a Just Cavalli patterned suit. You have our attention, Solange. We’ll spend the afternoon listening to “Losing You” on a loop. [MTV Style]

Speaking of Beyoncé, the interview accompanying her recent GQ cover reveals that pretty much every moment of her life for the past seven years has been recorded on film: “This digital database, modeled loosely on NBC’s library, is a work in progress—the labeling, date-stamping, and cross-referencing has been under way for two years, and it’ll be several months before that process is complete. But already, blinking lights signal that the product that is Beyoncé is safe and sound and ready to be summoned— and monetized—at the push of a button.” So much for hoping that Beyoncé isn’t a total nut. [GQ]

Paul Schrader was apparently so desperate for a project that he agreed to direct The Canyons—his first film in ten years—despite protests from friends and family. Even his wife, Mary Beth Hurt, gave up on the screenplay, penned by Bret Easton Ellis, after just fifty pages. And then he cast Lindsay Lohan and James Deen. Is anyone still thinking this isn’t all a completely terrible idea? [NYT]

Britney Spears is bowing out as a judge on The X-Factor after a tenure of just a single season. Without Britney regularly on live television, how will we make sure Britney is OK? I’m worried. [Reuters]

We had no idea what to expect from Justin Timberlake this morning, but the singer dropped a video of him wandering around a recording studio as his thoughts meander about his music and his obsessions and what the next year holds, et cetera. The important part: we’re supposed to wait longer for new music from Justin Timberlake. But, like, he’s ready. Just not “right now.” [Idolator]

The ads for David Beckham’s H&M underwear line were directed by Guy Ritchie, but they also feature the soccer star running around in boxer briefs, so, you know, things could be a whole lot worse. [The Gloss]

Then again, Conan O’Brien and Ricky Gervais took a bath together. [Hypervocal]

Featuring songs with titles like “They Get Nasty,” “I Don’t Make Love, I Fuck!,” and “There’s a Hole Inside of Me” a musical parody of Fifty Shades of Grey heads to Manhattan this weekend by way of Chicago. [NY Post]

The BAFTA nominees are pretty close to the Oscars, although they recognize Kathryn Bigelow and refuse to hand out nominations to nine-year-old girls. [Guardian]

Godzilla is coming back, this time possibly battling not Mothra or Megalon, but rather Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson. [Deadline]

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Here’s That 1930s-Style ‘Canyons’ Teaser Trailer You Didn’t Ask For

Waiting for Bret Easton Ellis’ movie The Canyons to come out is like waiting for one of Jessica Simpson’s pregnancies to be over. It. Takes. For. Fucking. Ever.

The Canyons, of course, is the Bret Easton Ellis-penned film about, I don’t know, attractive people fucking in the Valley.  

A 1950′-style teaser was released in November, preceded by a 1970’s-style teaser in October. Now we’ve got a 1930’s-style teaser trailer released today.

It does little more than remind us that Lindsay Lohan is in this film and that James Deen will take his shirt off at least once. You can shoot in black-and-white and use as many olde-timey fonts as you want, but Lindsay Lohan will never be classy on film. 

Maybe that’s the point? With Bret Easton Ellis, one never knows. 

Watch below:

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

‘The Canyons’ Gets a New Vintage Teaser Cut

Paul Schrader is a fucked up dude. The first time he saw a film in theaters (as a teenager) he hallucinated and ran out screaming. When he was little, his mother used to poke him in the hand with a needle if he was bad and tell him that this is what hell would be like for an eternity. He used to sleep with a loaded .38 in his mouth. Once, while writing a film, he couldn’t quite get into the guilty headspace of the character so he drove out to Vegas and tried to lose all his money. Not feeling that he quite nailed it on the way home, he ditched his car. Also, for a while there in the ’70s, his kitchen counter cutting board was always adorned with a brass crown of thorns and loaded gun at all times. His strict Calvinist upbringing left an obvious impact on him and his work, and he embraces cinema as a way to expose his darkest desires and impulses. His characters are always morally torn and struggling between what is forbidden and what one must do. He puts his sins on paper as a way to relieve himself of them. And naturally, he’s always been a cinematic hero of mine.

I guess it just never occurred to me that for all his interest in violence and sex, the man who wrote one of the most important movies of the 20th century would be teaming up with the king of detached humanism, Bret Easton Ellis. Their debut collaboration, The Canyons, starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen has been described as:

A contemporary L.A. noir, exploring the dangers of sexual obsession and ambition, both personally and professionally, among a group of young people in their 20s and how one chance meeting connected to the past unravels all of their lives, resulting in deceit, paranoia and ultimately violence. The spots so far are certainly throwing back to a specific era, but whether or not the final result will bear that influence out remains to be seen.

We’ve gotten a taste of the film with a grindhouse-style teaser, but now there’s a new ’50s-style, B-movie teaser that shows even more melodramatic moments from Lohan and even more fighting and walking pensively from Deen. Undoubtably the film will be an over-the-top romp exisiting in the realm of satire and, if done right, could be a brilliant disaster. However, if done wrong, we could wind up with another Informers on our hands. But hey, Gus van Sant is on board, so something really must be brewing here. When I ran into Paul Schrader last year, he spoke to me briefly about the film but insisted that they were only hiring unknowns for the project—safe to say that idea is lying dead on the editing room floor somewhere.


Here’s the Trailer For ‘The Canyons,’ Starring Lindsay Lohan and James Deen

Well, finally! It’s the movie we’ve all been waiting for: Lindsay Lohan and James Deen, sexin’ and boozin’ and druggin’ all along to a script penned by novelist / Twitter enthusiast Bret Easton Ellis. (Also, children, it’s directed by a pretty famous guy named Paul Schrader. Look him up on Wikipedia.) Two things are certain from the trailer, which you can watch below. One: "camp" is in, and even straight guys are all over it. Two: Paul Schrader finally caught on to that whole "Tarantinoesque" thing that happened about ten years ago. This should be fun! Fun to watch on DVD, am I right? So you guys go ahead and watch this silly little trailer and I’ll go off and forget that I don’t have any movies coming out soon. 

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The Literary World’s Fascination With James Deen

If the internet itself hadn’t done the job already, last winter’s issue of GOOD magazine surely put porn star James Deen on the radar of every tote bag-laden liberal arts major this side (the south side, that is) of 14th Street. And while the profile gave fascinating light to the porn star’s cult following among teenage girls, it’s safe to say that between Wells Tower’s piece in this month’s GQ and the casting of Deen in Bret Easton Ellis’s new film The Canyons, the Jewish “boy next door” might have another prominent fan base: literary white males.

That’s not to say he is, or passes himself off as, particularly bright (Deen, on his ABC Nightline profile: “They could have made me look bad, between all my ramblings and the dumb shit that I say, and they didn’t.”). This affinity is mainly a cosmetic thing. The scrawny five-foot-eight fellow, who looks “like a guy a chick might actually meet in a bar,” is the closest proxy your average white boy has ever had in the porn world. And even if Deen himself never boasted any intellectual prowess, his real-life background sort of lines up: born Bryan Sevilla (he’s still Bryan Sevilla) in Pasadena, CA, both his parents worked at NASA. He claims to have pretty rationally decided, in kindergarten, that he wanted to do porn. Save for a brief stint with drug addiction, he slid into his profession the way any young “self-starter” might wind up in theirs. And again, just look at him. Better yet, Photoshop him into a picture with the editors of n+1—you wouldn’t think anything of it.

Wells Tower thus offers the perfect setup for this most recent profile: if you—reader, tweedy white male, evangelist for Everything Ravaged—could swap places with James Deen, would you?

That’s not to say Tower totally invented the premise. In many ways, it’s the bait used in Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece Boogie Nights, where the young Mark Wallberg, like Deen, is a handsome but unassuming Valley boy that just happens to pack an oversized member (okay, and freakishly strong abdominals). In a brilliant interview from 1998 on Hollywood Conversations, Anderson gave a thoughtful polemic against contemporary porn producers for denying the genre its place in the canon of mainstream cinematic art. Instead, he argued, they’ve churned out trash that’s distastefully removed from reality. “If you’re looking at it in a pure, hormonal boy way,” he said, “my hormones go to, ‘oh, she’s pretty.’ And no, she doesn’t have huge, enormous fake tits. Because it’s like watching science fiction—it’s a sci-fi movie at that point.” As opposed to, say, something from a John Updike story. “And the guys are not appealing in porno today,” he continued. “Looking at these people who are chiseled to perfection, there’s nothing to relate to.” Enter James Deen.

The other antecedent, you’d have to figure, is David Foster Wallace’s 1998 essay “Neither Adult Nor Entertainment” about the AVN awards, which also flirts with the question of, “Is this as fun as it looks?” (The answer is no). First off, they both lather on an SAT Verbal’s worth of euphemisms. Wallace: “Breasts are uniformly zeppelinesque and in various perilous stages of semiconfinement.” Tower: “Miss Jaymes is a ten-year vet whose huge blister-pack protrusions are somewhat at odds with her springbok svelteness.” For the lexically stimulated, that’s as masturbatory as it gets.

Moreover, it’s the tone of innocent-bookish-fellow-sent-to-“report”-on-porn that carries over from Wallace to Tower. At one point, in the middle of describing a “human centipede” scene between Deen, Proxy Paige, and Isis Love, Tower interjects, “Um, hey. You out there, do you seriously want me to keep describing this stuff? Really? Because it gets a lot worse from here.” It’s pretty considerate of him to throw that in there, much in the same way someone at your ice cream parlor asks if you’d like a mini spoon taste of the chocolate fudge brownie just so you can appear skeptical and discerning while everyone involved knows full well that you’d already planned to order four scoops of the stuff.

But the kicker is, if a quart of ice cream leaves you feeling queasy, what’s supposed to happen when you’ve watched this guy “in flagrant contravention of the USDA’s Safe Food Handling Fact Sheet, [plunge] his unwashed tuber straightaway into Proxy’s mouth”? What Tower lands on is what anyone lured in the by the idea of this boyish little ladykiller has to realize: what Deen does couldn’t be further removed from the reality of his persona’s true-life analogue. And nobody could be less equipped for that kind of emotionally detached sexual carnage than a young male who likes literature. Emotional sensitivity is our bread and butter, and whatever one’s “boy hormones” would have them believe, Deen’s lifestyle is not one to envy.

James Deen, sorry to say, is not the “boy next door.” He’s not a regular guy a chick might meet at a bar. He’s a star. He’s a big, bright, shining star. That’s right.