LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 28: Willem Dafoe attends the U.S. premiere screening of "Dead For A Dollar" at Directors Guild of America on September 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Quiver Distribution)
Movies - TV
Why Mary Harron Added Willem Dafoe's Detective To American Psycho's Story
Following the story of Patrick Bateman, a stockbroker moonlighting as a serial killer, Mary Harron’s “American Psycho” is a strong indictment of the vapid, amoral world of 1980s Wall Street. In fact, the only person suspicious of Bateman is Detective Kimball, who Harron introduced as a foil to heighten Bateman's sense of surreality.
Harron revealed that when filming the three interview scenes between Bateman and Dafoe's Kimball, she shot each scene three times. In the first take, Dafoe was directed to be confident that Patrick was the killer, while in the second and third he was directed to act merely suspicious, and then completely oblivious.
Harron mixed and matched the three takes so that Dafoe appeared to be oblivious one moment and assured the next, throwing audiences off balance and mirroring Patrick’s own paranoia. Of the film in general, Harron said, “I wanted to capture that sense of lurching back and forth between these daytime and nighttime worlds.”