16 things you probably never knew about American Psycho

16 years on from the film's release Loaded looks back at Christian Bale's finest hour.

Christian Bale as a movie psychopathImage Picture Lionsgate

It’s 16 years since director Mary Harron introduced the world to Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, a film that put Christian Bale on the map as a star for the future.

Already well known for his work as a child actor, Bale had to battle stiff competition to land the role that would lay the foundations for future starring roles in films like Batman.

Here are a few things you may or may not known about this note-perfect version of Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial novel.


Early Days

When the book was first released, Johnny Depp expressed interest in starring in a film version with Easton Ellis writing and Stuart Gordon directing what would have been an X-rated adaptation.

This project eventually fell through, with David Cronenberg later attached to direct with Brad Pitt starring. Unfortunately, the project once again failed to get off the ground.

Who Shot Andy Warhol Director Mary Harron was the next to sign on to the project.

Near Misses

Christian Bale auditioned for the role of Patrick Bateman alongside Ben Chaplin, Jonny Lee Miller, Jared Leto, Billy Crudup, Robert Sean Leonard and Johnathon Schaech.

Crudup was offered the part of Bateman, but turned it down. Drew Barrymore, Liv Tyler and even Shannon Doherty were all linked with roles.


DiCaprio Coming Close

Despite casting Bale, Lionsgate wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to star. Harron and Bale then left the project with DiCaprio putting forward a shortlist of Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle or Oliver Stone to direct. Stone was eventually chosen.


Different Strokes

In Stone’s version, all of the satire from the novel was removed, while much of the cast changed with James Woods, Cameron Diaz and Elizabeth Berkley lined up to join the project. Jared Leto was cast in both versions.


Mother knows best

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem urged DiCaprio not to make the film, claiming it would ruin his career. In a bizarre twist, she would go on to become Bale’s stepmother.


Bale Back

DiCaprio eventually left the project, having failed to agree on a direction under Stone, going on to sign up for The Beach. Ewan McGregor was then attached to play the part of Bateman, before being talked out of it by Bale, who was eager to take on the role.


Cruise Control

Harron claims Bale’s performance was influenced by a Tom Cruise appearance on David Letterman where he demonstrated a “very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes”.


Caged Animal

The obscure Nicolas Cage film Vampire’s Kiss also reportedly informed Bale’s performance, and it’s as bat shit crazy a Cage film as you’re likely to see.


Bale bulk

Bale’s buffed-up appearance was the result of several hours of daily gym work supplemented by work with an on-set trailer. He gained a substantial amount of muscle mass, hitting a goal of 82kg.


Method Man

To stay in character, Bale completed the daily morning routine Bateman outlines in the film. He also maintained his American accent at all times on and off set, only dropping it at the wrap party.


Dirty Movies

Harron and Bale watched several porn films in a bid to influence the scene involving Bateman and two prostitutes.


Three Is Company

During the threesome scene, one of the two women involved is Guinevere Turner, the co-writer of the film’s screenplay and one of Harron’s long-time collaborators.


Spot the Porno

Two actual porn films feature in the background of the movie – 1998’s White Angel and 1997’s Red Vibe Diaries: Object of Desire.


Fun Police

Filming took place in Toronto, where the lobbying group Canadians Concerned About Violence In Entertainment staged a protest against the funding of the project.


Fashion Faux Pas

Rolex allowed anyone but Bateman to wear their watches during the film, while Calvin Klein pulled out of involvement at the last minute. Several Jean Paul Gaultier bags were also used to carry corpses in the film.



NBC actually toyed with the idea of making American Psycho into a television series, with Entourage star Kevin Dillon attached to play Bateman.


 Sequel of Sin

A straight-to-video sequel exists directed by Morgan J. Freeman (not that one) and starring Mila Kunis and William Shatner.

Critically slammed, the movie was actually made on a budget of £10 million, compared to the original’s £7 million. Kunis has since disowned it.

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