New York Post
By Anna David
Bret Easton Ellis recaptures his ’80s notoriety with Twitter screeds worthy of Patrick Bateman.
For a long time, “American Psycho” author Bret Easton Ellis couldn’t do anything to escape being associated with fellow enfant terrible scribe Jay McInerney. Both were young and privileged, and wrote clever, sardonic and often dark prose about NYC’s beautiful and cocaine-fueled.
While McInerney has, arguably, grown out of that stage and into a role as a male socialite and wine enthusiast, Ellis seems to be doing a Benjamin Button — maturing backward. In the process, his name has come to be associated with something besides McInerney: Twitter.
Like millions of others, Ellis joined the social network that encourages oversharers to spread their most passionate feelings 140 characters at a time. Unlike many of those millions — particularly those that are, however remotely, in the public eye — Ellis keeps his feed real. And juicy.
In May 2011, he established himself as a Twitter star when he dived into the controversy over “Melancholia” director Lars Von Trier, who expressed sympathy for Hitler at a Cannes Film Festival press conference. On the dais next to Von Trier, the film’s star, Kirsten Dunst, looked utterly distraught to be trapped in the director’s p.r. nightmare.
Ellis had this take: Dunst “looked a lot sadder when I ran out of coke at an Oscar party 5 years ago.” (The actress did a stint at Cirque Lodge rehab in 2008 but maintains that she went for depression.)
The comment incited a huge reaction — it’s been re-tweeted more than 2,000 times and favorited more than 300 — but Ellis was just getting started. Since then, he’s implied that he took part in a ménage a trois with John Edwards’ baby mama Reille Hunter. He also claimed that director Stanley Kubrick was gay, opined that watching “Glee” is “like stepping into a puddle of HIV” and confessed that he lied to Benicio Del Toro about enjoying “Savages” at the film’s premiere because “I was so shocked when he asked me if I LIKED the movie I was speechless.”
“It’s a raw, honest, uncensored look at Hollywood,” says Ryan O’Connell, a Thought Catalog blogger who recently posted the item “Why the World Needs A – – holes (Or, Why I Finally Love Bret Easton Ellis),” which calls Ellis’ Twitter feed “a dispensary of maddening opinions.”
“He really does lynch people,” O’Connell adds. His feed “is like the best gossip column I’ve ever read.”
The fact that Ellis, who is 48 and bisexual, is willing to share information that most would consider private, if not thoroughly embarrassing, has won him more than 321,000 Twitter followers, reestablishing the heat that he first experienced after publication of his debut novel, “Less Than Zero,” in 1985.
In terms of career moves, it’s not a terrible way to go. Though doing well by most people’s standards — his screenplay “The Canyons” is currently being directed by Paul Schrader with Lindsay Lohan as star, while his novel “Lunar Park” is being adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Roger Avary — Ellis had nevertheless left the public’s radar, especially after his 2010 sequel to “Less Than Zero,” titled “Imperial Bedrooms,” barely created a stir.
In fact, it is another author’s book, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” that fueled Ellis’ notoriety. An unabashed fan, he used his feed to portray himself as the only writer capable of penning a screenplay that will live up to the book’s torrid sexuality. “Why am I fascinated with Fifty Shades of Grey? Yes, sex. But also because it’s about control. The need for it, as well as the illusion,” he wrote. For those who considered the book poorly written, he clawed back: “Be a snob, fine. But Christian and Ana’s first sex scene is so incredibly erotic if you imagine it cinematically.”
Finally, he just became all-out obsessive, issuing 14 tweets about the book on July 17 alone. He pursued the screenwriting job with even more intensity, soliciting casting suggestions from his followers and going on extended jags about various men he thought would be right for the roles.
If his Twitter feed is to be believed, all of this resulted in a “very positive” meeting with the movie’s producers. Nevertheless, when the short list for potential writers was released on Wednesday, Ellis’ name wasn’t on it.
That’s when he served up his choicest hot-button issue to date, declaring that openly gay actor Matt Bomer, rumored to be a top candidate to play Christian Grey, couldn’t possibly play this brazenly heterosexual role.
This set the LGBT community on fire.
“We’ve made such great strides in the past two years: Neil Patrick Harris plays a heterosexual guy on his show, as does Jim Parsons [on The Big Bang Theory],” says Jeremy Kinser, arts and entertainment editor of The Advocate. “But [Ellis’ attitude] perpetuates this ugly stereotype. Regressive comments like these are the reason so many actors refuse to come out publicly.”
But it’s safe to say that Ellis isn’t interested in enraging solely the LGBT community. Perhaps he isn’t interested in enraging anyone. Perhaps he just, as Kinser notes, “has a genius for generating interest in himself.”