Home > Film & stuff > Lindsay Lohan Joins “The Canyons” with James Deen

Lindsay Lohan Joins “The Canyons” with James Deen

“The Canyons” poster via the film’s Facebook page

Kickstarter, the independent film funding website, held no interest for me whatsoever until I heard writer Bret Easton Ellis and director Paul Schrader were teaming up to make a film together using the crowd-sourcing siteThe Canyons, also produced by Braxton Pope along with Schrader and Ellis, promised to be one of the most high-profile projects ever to come out of the Kickstarter website when it was first announced. Now the notoriety of this already controversial film has kicked up a new notch.

Via Bret Easton Ellis’ Twitter Feed, the American Psycho author announced that Lindsay Lohan will star in the project. Lohan’s constant personal and legal woes aside, this is crazy good news for such a small project. Director Paul Schrader may be a legend with the likes of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Affliction in his filmography, but The Canyons is modestly budgeted after raising less than $160,000 on Kickstarter. No matter your feelings about Lohan’s current condition and questionable talent, her name does bring some marketability to this indie. Adding to the bizarre drama of it all, LiLo’s co-star is no other than adult film actor James Deen (you can find your own links if you’re interested in his oeuvre). Ellis has been touting Deen’s natural acting ability on Twitter for months now after becoming fascinated by the young performer’s fervent female fan following. He has also mentioned in interviews that Schrader was understandably unsure about Deen’s inclusion. And let’s be honest– Lindsay Lohan and a porno actor don’t exactly scream legitimacy. Apparently Ellis is nothing if not persuasive.

What kind of film would feature a former child star and a current porn star? The plot will revolve around beautiful, over-privileged L.A. 20-somethings who live life excessively and have sex with anything that moves. Bret Easton Ellis knows these types of people well as he has written about the drug-infused, sex-crazed youth culture before. Plus, I’m pretty sure he used to be one of them– he’s been pretty open about his partying past and he occasionally likes to tweet about his former cocaine-fueled sexcapades with famous people. Now that you know the plot, don’t you think casting Lohan and Deen is spot on? It’s as perfect as casting John Malkovich and Christopher Walken as psychotic neighbors in a small town. (I smell a sitcom!)

If you’ve ever read any of Ellis’ novels, you know the kind of hardcore sex and brutal violence he is willing to portray. He has promised The Canyons will be graphically sexual and pull no punches. I doubt a wide-release is in mind for the film, but this wild experiment featuring unorthodox talent and controversial subject matter will undoubtedly make a splash on VOD, iTunes, and in arthouse theaters. If the finished product is as impressive as Schrader and Ellis promise, other filmmakers of notable talent may just avoid the traditional ways of raising cash and take to Kickstarter.

Do you think the studios are nervous? No, they probably aren’t, but The Canyons might mean a new independent film boom has finally arrived. Not since the mid-’90s has indie film really made a significant impact in mainstream culture. Even though it has become easier and cheaper to make a film than ever before, reaching a wide audience is still a difficult task. Anyone can distribute a film online, but who will see it? In spite of the slight sideshow quality to The Canyons, the film may actually garner some positive attention and encourage other talented writers and directors to leave behind cushy budgets and major special effects and opt for smaller, edgier, and more personal stories.

I don’t expect Spielberg or Scorsese to adopt such a minimalist style, but even a small number of dedicated storytellers can help usher in a new era of micro-budget filmmaking.


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