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In the 1980s and ’90s, novelist Bret Easton Ellis captured more fully than anyone the excitement and ennui of a wealthy and smug America that was stumbling without knowing it into a century filled with terror, disruption, and generalized hostility. In the book and movie versions of Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, and American Psycho, Ellis dissected what happens to a society in which depth of feeling is synonymous with failure to thrive. In this century, Ellis is back in his hometown of Los Angeles writing and producing movies like The Canyons with the likes of Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen, whose shambled personal lives might as well have been scripted by Ellis in one of his most darkly comic moments.
He’s also putting out one of the most engaging and insightful podcasts available on Patreon, in which he talks with guests like Kanye West, Rose McGowan, and veteran writer/director Walter Hill about the ways the entertainment industry is built on an unstable foundation of economic, sexual, and political hypocrisy.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie talked with Ellis about the ways Hollywood is failing to come to terms with ever-changing methods of production and distribution, what Ellis sees as the excesses of the #MeToo movement, our rapidly changing and failing public discourse, and the enduring interest and relevance of his work in 2018.
Produced and edited by Paul Detrick. Shot by Detrick and Zach Weissmuller.
“Shibuya” by Bad Snacks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) Source: https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary_download?vid=bf4634fcab6e0d97
Photos of Bret Easton Ellis, Credit: Marechal Aurore/ABACA/Newscom
Photo of James Deen, Credit: David Tonnessen, PacificCoastNews/Newscom
Photo of Lindsay Lohan, Credit: Anthony Devlin/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Photo of Kanye West, Credit: MEGA / Newscom
Photo of Rose McGowan, Credit: Everett Collection/Newscom
Photos of Harvey Weinstein, Credit: Louis Lanzano/Sipa USA/Newscom
Photos of Aziz Ansari, Credit: Birdie Thompson/AdMedia/Newscom and USA/Newscom
Photo of Walter Hill, Credit: Van Tine Dennis/ABACA/Newscom
Photos of Steven Spielberg, Credit: akg-images/Newscom
Photos of Richard Dreyfuss, Credit: COLUMBIA PICTURES / Album/Newscom
Photo of Close Encounters of the Third Kind Poster, Credit: COLUMBIA PICTURES / Album/Newscom
Photos of Kim Kardashian, Credit: Richard Beetham / SplashNews/Newscom
Photo of Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump, Credit: SMG/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Photo of Kim Kardashian leaving White House, Credit: Carlos Barria/REUTERS/Newscom
Photo of Kim Kardashian leaving White House, Credit: Abaca Press/Douliery Olivier/Abaca/Sipa USA/Newscom
Photos of Kim Kardashian leaving White House, Credit: Douliery Olivier/ABACA/Newscom
Photos of American Psycho, Credit: LIONS GATE FILMS / Album/Newscom
Photo of Mark Duplass, Credit: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN / Newscom
Photo of Donald Trump, Credit: Xinhua/Sipa USA/Newscom
Photo of Roseanne Barr, Credit: Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS/Newscom