“Patrick Bateman, Meet Christian Grey”
The Final Word on Why Brett Easton Ellis Should Write the Adaption of 50 Shades of Grey
Full disclosure here: I’m not familiar with the book 50 Shades of Grey nor any of the printed work of the novelist Brett Easton Ellis; however, I have seen American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction and a handful of trailers for his other film adaptations, as well as occasionally reading tweets from him. I also think I may have read a passage of his about rats for some fiction class in college.
I’ve seen all three books of the 50 Shades of Grey series at an airport B. Dalton Bookseller, I prefer to spell grey with an “e” instead of an “a” on all occasions, and I’ve overheard a slew of suburban mothers talk about 50 Shades of Grey while I sit at my favorite writing location, the waiting area of a Great Clips. So, needless to say, I’m more than qualified to have the final word on this subject.
One phrase that keeps coming up over and over again when women talk about this book is, “it’s like Harry Potter for adults or Twilight without all that cock teasing.” I have not read either of those series of books, but through Burger King promotions and articles in US Weekly I have a general sense of the books, as well as a solid idea of what my opinion of them will be. I’m sure that Brett Easton Ellis has not only read Harry Potter and the Twilight books, but he’s read all three of the 50 Shades of Grey books, and that alone must put him ahead of every other male screenwriter vying for the job.
Similarly, as little effort as I’ve given to learning about HP, Twilight and 50 Shades, I’ve given an equally minimal amount to learning about BEE. But much the same way as the aforementioned book series, I can make an educated guess as to what my impression of him and his work would be. If Harry Potter has a pop culture saturation, then Ellis must have a sub-pop culture saturation, or without infringing on the record label, his saturation is fringe-pop or pseudo-intellectual. So, what better way to expand the potential films audience than to combine the pop with pseudo-intellect? Potentially, this would mean that while Twilight was panned, at best, and more likely ignored by the section of society that considers themselves pseudo-intellectuals, with BEE at the helm of the script, wouldn’t there be more universal interest in a film that otherwise will be marketed solely to stay-at-home, middle aged suburban book clubs?
I can only speculate on the reasons why BEE would want to write this script, but from what I know of him I’ll venture to guess that the graphic nature of the sex in the books is right in his wheel house, and taking the best-selling words and changing them into the frame work for a blockbuster film is just too tempting. From watching the trailers for Less than Zero and The Informants this adaptation could allow Ellis to make BDSM the new coke, and wherever this book takes place, the new LA. So after defining the life and times of spoiled twenty-something’s he may be approaching this as a challenge to influence the future sex lives of women who have settled their entire adult life for the excitement of the missionary position. That, or if he brought the books so many woman love to the screen, he’d always have an opener for every woman at every youth soccer game or school bake sale he would attend.
Finally, motives are a tricky and rude thing to speculate about, but BEE’s motives to write this script boil down to the fact that he knows what the people want to see. He was all over The Avengers weeks before it became the third highest grossing film in the universe, and if someone with that type of pop sensibilities wants to write a script for a pop saturated book with an alternate spelling of Gray, you let the man. Brett Easton Ellis, Donnybrook Writing Academy is in your corner.