If you listen to our podcast you would have heard us last Friday discuss a New York Times article related to Paul Schrader's The Canyons written by Bret Easton Ellis and starring Lindsay Lohan and pornstar James Deen. Times reporter Stephen Roderick was given unfettered access to the production and the picture he paints is far from flattering.
The piece notes how the film's producers felt it was a shoo-in for the Sundance Film Festival only to later be denied. The film will now be screened for buyers but perhaps its chances there may even be slim considering Ellis is quoted saying, "The film is so languorous. It's an hour 30, and it seems like it's three hours long. I saw this as a pranky noirish thriller, but Schrader turned it into, well, a Schrader film."
Schrader even screened it for Steven Soderbergh who offered to do an edit of the movie if he was given the footage for 72 hours. Schrader passed telling Roderick, "The idea of 72 hours is a joke... It would take him 72 hours to look at all the footage. And you know what Soderbergh would do if another director offered to cut his film?" Schrader didn't say, but he did give an example, pushing up two middle fingers saying, "That's what Soderbergh would do."
Now a clip from the film has come online and it's actually a scene that was described in Roderick's article. Have a read before watching:
Later that afternoon, it was time to rehearse a fight scene in which Christian physically confronts Tara over infidelity. Schrader tried to describe to Deen how he wanted him to throw Lohan to the ground. Deen nodded and went through the scene at half-speed. (It was a constant friction point between the two actors, Deen conserving his energy and Lohan demanding full effort in rehearsals.) After a while, Schrader cut in to show Deen what he wanted, lightly moving Lohan and turning her toward the floor.
"James, you see that?"
Deen nodded, but Schrader wasn't convinced. So he grabbed Lohan, tripped her over his left leg and body-slammed her to the floor. Lohan screamed, and the crew gasped. But she bounced up with a smile.
"That was great! Want to do it again?"
Schrader said it wouldn't be necessary. The next morning they filmed the scene for real. Deen came to life; throwing the negligée-wearing Lohan hard to the ground and pounding his fist into a wall with such fury I wondered if he had broken his hand. Lohan lay slumped on the floor, her hands guarding her face, shoulders shaking, tears pouring down her cheeks. Between takes, she listened to Ryan Adams's cover of "Wonderwall." After three shots, Schrader said he was satisfied, and Lohan fumbled for a cigarette. She headed downstairs, and someone complimented her work.
"Well, I've got a lot of experience with that from my dad."
For some sort of context before watching, The Canyons is described as a contemporary L.A. noir, said to be about 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, cruel mind games and ultimately violence.
Check out the clip below and click here for the New York Times article.