How Bret Easton Ellis Truly Feels About The American Psycho Sequel

Brett Easton Ellis's 1991 novel, "American Psycho," about a deranged businessman-turned-serial killer, offers up brilliant commentary on the consumer-driven world of the privileged and wealthy in New York City. Made into a film in 2000 that was written and directed by Mary Harron, both versions tell the story of Patrick Bateman, an investment banker who definitely has some psychological issues he needs to work out. The film and the book rely on a dry, satiric sense of humor that enhances the story's criticism of elite society. At the time of its release, it was a controversial film with its gratuitous depictions of violence — especially to women — but it has gone on to become a classic for many film buffs, often referenced in pop and meme culture. 

The book and the movie both end with a sense of ambiguity over whether or not Bateman really is the killer he perceives himself to be. Some could see the ending as an open invitation to a sequel, but Ellis has never written one (though it should be noted all Ellis' books exist within the same shared universe, so Bateman does show up tangentially in other stories, the most obvious being "The Rules of Attraction," where he meets his younger brother Sean on the train). However, the people of Hollywood saw potential in creating a sequel to "American Psycho," and so they ran with it. However, what resulted was nothing short of a badly designed business card, leaving many people disappointed, including Ellis.   

Not all psychos are created equal

"American Psycho 2" (alternatively titled "American Psycho II: All American Girl") is not really a direct sequel to the events of "American Psycho." Directed by Morgan J. Freeman (No, not that Morgan Freeman), the film stars Mila Kunis in one of her very early roles. The plot is a messy storyline that has little to nothing to do with the events of the first film. Kunis plays Rachael Newman, a college student trying her best to get into the FBI. When she realizes competition is stiff, she begins murdering those she perceives as threats, eventually spiraling out of control. There are a lot of twists and turns to this convoluted sequel, and the only connection to the original Patrick Bateman is he murdered Newman's babysitter when she was a little girl, prompting Newman to murder Bateman with an ice pick on the same night (yes, really). 

As one might expect, "American Psycho 2" did not go over well with fans, or with Ellis himself. The movie was sent direct to DVD, and IGN reported on a New York Post story about how Ellis was disappointed at the time. He explained:

"Lionsgate wanted to put a serial killer in 'Rules of Attraction' [the Roger Avary-directed adaptation of an earlier Ellis novel]." But Avary said no, and that's when they decided to make 'American Psycho 2.'"

He explained the studio even thought about turning "American Psycho" into a franchise with versions taking place in cities all over the country. "If they're not careful they could end up with something like 'The Pink Panther' movies," said Ellis. For the author, the book and the movie are two separate beasts, and thankfully he also felt "none of these movies has blotted out the book for the reader." It's great that Ellis feels this way because "American Psycho 2" would be enough to make any writer feel enraged over what Hollywood chose to do with their original creation, especially since the sequel is a far cry from its original source material — which, it turns out, there's a reason for.

Sometimes psychos change

You see, "American Psycho 2" was never even supposed to be a direct sequel to Mary Harron's film. Originally titled "The Girl who Wouldn't Die," the movie was slated to be a stand-alone story that didn't have nary a thing to do with Patrick Bateman and his psychopathic ways. But because the film was slated to be released direct to DVD, profit was a big motivator, causing the production company to rebrand the movie as a sequel to "American Psycho." This is, unfortunately, not that uncommon in Hollywood (Disney is a big fan of this marketing move), but it also means audiences end up with Very Bad Movies associated with otherwise great franchises or films. 

Even Mila Kunis hates the film and tried to get production stopped on it out of fear that it would blemish her resumé. In an article for MTV, Kunis said:

"Please — somebody stop this. Write a petition. When I did the second one, I didn't know it would be 'American Psycho II.' It was supposed to be a different project, and it was re-edited, but, ooh ... I don't know. Bad." 

Thankfully, although the movie was ultimately released despite her pleas, Kunis has gone on to have an extremely successful career, and "American Psycho 2" has become nothing more than a blip on the radar of her impressive filmography.