The Canyons (film)

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The Canyons
The Canyons.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Schrader
Produced by
Written byBret Easton Ellis
Starring
Music by
CinematographyJohn DeFazio
Editing byTim Silano
Studio
  • Post Empire Films
  • Sodium Fox
  • Prettybird Pictures
Distributed byIFC Films
Release dates
  • August 2, 2013 (2013-08-02) (New York City and Toronto)
Running time99 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$250,000[1]
Box office$51,135[2]
 
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The Canyons
The Canyons.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Schrader
Produced by
Written byBret Easton Ellis
Starring
Music by
CinematographyJohn DeFazio
Editing byTim Silano
Studio
  • Post Empire Films
  • Sodium Fox
  • Prettybird Pictures
Distributed byIFC Films
Release dates
  • August 2, 2013 (2013-08-02) (New York City and Toronto)
Running time99 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$250,000[1]
Box office$51,135[2]

The Canyons is a 2013 American erotic thriller-drama film directed by Paul Schrader and written by Bret Easton Ellis. The film is set in Los Angeles and stars Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Funk, Amanda Brooks and Gus Van Sant. It received a limited release on August 2, 2013 at the IFC Center in New York City, the Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and on video on demand platforms.[3] Despite negative reviews, Lohan received praise for her performance from critics.

Plot[edit]

When Christian (Deen), an L.A. trust-fund kid with casual ties to Hollywood, learns of a secret affair between his girlfriend Tara (Lohan) and the lead of his film project, he spirals out of control, and his cruel mind games escalate into an act of bloody violence.[4]

Cast[edit]

Development[edit]

Production and marketing[edit]

Braxton Pope, Bret Easton Ellis, and Paul Schrader were originally involved in a film project Bait. When the project lost its financing Pope, Ellis and Schrader decided they wanted to make a lower-scale film. Ellis was in charge of writing the script. After it was done, Pope suggested to raise money via Kickstarter.[5] During May and June 2012 the film raised $159,015, with a goal of $100,000 in funding.[6] The budget for the film was $250,000 and the actors were reportedly paid $100 a day.[1]

On July 13, it was announced that Brendan Canning would be scoring the movie.[7] On July 18, 2012, the official press release for the movie was published on the Facebook page of The Canyons.[8] On July 24, 2012, it was announced that American Apparel would be supplying the cast with wardrobe and was planning to issue logo T-shirts based on Easton Ellis, The Canyons, and Schrader.[9] The first teaser was released on YouTube on June 16, 2012.[10] On October 8, a "retro style" teaser trailer was released.[11] IndieWire called The Canyons one of the "50 Indie Films We Want To See In 2013" in January 2013.[12] On August 2, 2013, rapper Kanye West released a new version of the trailer; he worked with Nate Brown on the re-editing and created new music with Noah Goldstein.[13]

Following the film's release, director Schrader accused Lohan of not supporting the film, saying she had pulled out of interviews and never showed up for promotional photo sessions.[14]

Casting[edit]

Casting of The Canyons was operated through the casting website Let It Cast by providing all actors interested in auditioning for the 5 lead roles and 1 supporting role with download access to the audition scene to film their own video audition and submit themselves. As Pope and Ellis explained in the casting's presentation video on "Let It Cast",[15] the motivation to operate the casting in this fashion was to facilitate submissions from talented actors who might not otherwise be seen given the time constraints of the traditional casting process, as well as to open a direct channel to actors whose talent agents might otherwise complicate the process. Paul Schrader wrote a full account[16] on the process of casting the 7 actors which were ultimately cast through their "Let It Cast"-audition in this fashion. Actors Lindsay Lohan and James Deen were cast independently of this process.

For the role of Tara, although Schrader, Ellis and Pope initially favored French actress Leslie Couterrand[17] who auditioned through "Let It Cast", the role ultimately went to Lindsay Lohan when Pope approached her manager about the possibility of Lohan playing the role of Cynthia, the yoga instructor, but Lohan responded that she wanted to play the lead.[5][18] Two weeks later, she screen tested and was cast. Pope said, "She's very charismatic and she has a lot of acting skills...So for this part, we felt that she was really the right actor for a host of different reasons."[19] Fleur Saville was also considered for Tara's part.

Early on, the filmmakers considered casting Sean Brosnan as Christian, but later, they wanted to cast somebody "more edgy and unexpected". Ellis had mentioned several times that he had Deen in mind for Christian's role and when he, Pope and Deen met, Deen was promised a screen test. Schrader was reluctant at first, because he thought it was unlikely he would cast him due to his acting experiences in porn.[20] After being surprised by Deen's acting abilities and charisma, Schrader was still reluctant to cast him but with Ellis and Pope were collectively intrigued by the idea of casting Lohan and Deen in the leads and ultimately did. Other actors that had been considered for Christian's role were Alex Meraz and Daren Kagasoff among others.[21]

Funk was cast as Ryan. Other actors who had been considered for Ryan's role included Alex Ashbaugh, who was cast in a different role, Zach Roerig, and Chris Schellenger, who was also given a different, smaller role in the movie.[21]

Gina's character was cast through the casting website "Let It Cast". The primary selection criteria were: who would be the best counterpoint to Lohan, in physical appearance and personality. After many auditions, Brooks was cast. Other actresses who had been considered were Spencer Grammer and Jessica Morris, among others.[21]

Cynthia's character was originally called Lindsay, but her name was changed so she wouldn't be confused with Lohan. She was also cast through "Let It Cast", and the primary criterion for the actress was to balance Lohan and Brooks.[21]

Houston's audition was sent in early and remained a favorite. Other actresses who had been considered included Fleur Saville and Cameron Richardson.[21]

In tertiary roles, Boeven was cast as Jon, and Aquitaine was cast as Randall. Philip Pavel, who was cast as Erik, had also been considered, among others.[21]

Caitlin's character was originally supposed to be cast through "Let It Cast" but was ultimately cast through mobli, because Pope had wanted to cast Caitlin through mobli. Lauren Schacher was cast.[21][22]

Director Gus Van Sant's casting in the role Christian's psychotherapist was reported in July 2012.[8][23]

When asked about casting The Canyons, Ellis stated: "Dealing with the casting of The Canyons was a great, liberating process—for both the production team and for actors in general. We used 'Let It Cast' and saw some amazing actors that we will definitely keep in mind for future projects. The way the entire cast came together so quickly was a thrill and everyone who landed their roles deserved them. Using social media as a way to help build a film is really like riding the wave into the future." Pope said, “Nothing about this film was orchestrated in a traditional way. We wanted to actively embrace all the digital and social media tools at our disposal and give the film real cinematic value—‘The Canyons’ is the result of a forward thinking experiment with a terrific cast.” Schrader said: “Bret Easton Ellis' characters are beautiful people doing bad things in nice rooms. Lindsay Lohan and James Deen not only have the acting talent they also have that screen quality that keeps you watching their every move."[8]

Filming and editing[edit]

Principal photography began in July 2012 with the shooting of the first six minutes of the film[24] in the bar of the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles. Many key scenes were shot at the Malibu home of designer Vitus Mataré. Filming was moved to the Century City Mall in Los Angeles after a failed attempt to film at the Santa Monica Promenade.[18] Scenes were also shot near the Amoeba Records[5] on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The rough cut of the film was 1 hour 44 minutes long.[25] Initial edits of the film were disappointing; the film was said to "drag".[18] Ellis, Schrader and Pope had a disagreement over the final cut of the film. After Schrader showed Steven Soderbergh the rough cut of the film, Soderbergh offered to cut it within three days. Schrader declined, telling The New York Times: "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? [Puts up two middle fingers] That’s what Soderbergh would do.”[18] Ellis is quoted as 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."[26]

Release[edit]

The film was not accepted by the Sundance Film Festival, but was scheduled for sale in January 2013 by William Morris Endeavor.[18] It was also rejected by SXSW over "quality issues".[27] IFC Films picked up the film for distribution.[28] It was released on August 2, 2013 at the IFC Center in New York City, the Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and on video on demand platforms.[3] It was shown in the out of competition section at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.[29][30]

Critical response[edit]

The film holds a 22% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 3.8/10, based on 72 reviews. The consensus says the film "serves as a sour footnote in Paul Schrader's career—but it does feature some decent late-period work from Lindsay Lohan".[31] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 36, based on 29 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[32] Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star gave the film one out of four stars, calling it "a howlingly bad soap-opera-meets-soft-core-porn mash-up".[33] Writing for The Village Voice, Stephanie Zacharek praised Lohan's performance, likening her Tara character to "a nectarine on the far side of ripening, and this isn't a story about innocence lost—she sold that off long ago. But there's a dreaminess about her that could never crystallize into hardness." Zacharek also wrote that the "nuts and bolts of the plot are the least interesting things" about the film.[34]

Box office[edit]

Debuting only at the IFC Center in the U.S., the film earned $13,351 by the end of its opening weekend.[2] On video on demand and iTunes, the film was said to do "extremely well".[35] The film has grossed a total of $51,135 as of September 6, 2013.[2]

Soundtrack[edit]

The Canyons (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Brendan Canning with Me&John
ReleasedJuly 30, 2013
GenreElectronic, synthpop, rock
Length43:44
LabelSQE Music
ProducerBrendan Canning with Me&John

The soundtrack for the film was made by Brendan Canning with Me&John and features songs by Gold Zebra, A Place to Bury Strangers, and the Dum Dum Girls. It was released on July 30, 2013.[36]

Track listing:

  1. "Canyons Theme"
  2. "Without the Night" (featuring Adaline)
  3. "No More Sympathy" (featuring Rob James)
  4. "Back Home to Michigan"
  5. "Son of Perdition"
  6. "Teil Cock"
  7. "Love, French, Better" by Gold Zebra
  8. "Soon to Be"
  9. "Fear" by A Place to Bury Strangers
  10. "This Isn't Good for You"
  11. "Driving Sines"
  12. "Goddamn So High" (featuring Adaline)
  13. "My Preacher's Daughter" (featuring Adaline)
  14. "Coming Down" by the Dum Dum Girls

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Welch, Michael Patrick (February 27, 2013). "Living Inside 'The Canyons'". VICE. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Canyons (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Kilday, Gregg (August 2, 2013). "Lindsay Lohan's 'The Canyons' Aims for VOD Success". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ "The Canyons". entertainment.ie. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Pope, Braxton (August 1, 2013). "In Lindsay’s Stardust Orbit". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Canyons on Kickstarter.com". Retrieved July 7, 2012
  7. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (July 13, 2012). "Exclusive: Broken Social Scene Co-Founder Brendan Canning Scoring Paul Schrader's 'The Canyons'". Indiewire. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c ""THE CANYONS" PRESS RELEASE". Retrieved July 20, 2012
  9. ^ "American Apparell, a clothing manufacturer which makes clothes exclusively in the US, has generously supplied us with wardrobe. Saturday Bret, Braxton and I visited their downtown LA factory. Here's Bret on the street outside. They plan to issue logo T-shirts based on BEE, The Canyons and myself. Paul S.". Retrieved July 25, 2012
  10. ^ "THE CANYONS". YouTube. Retrieved July 7, 2012
  11. ^ THE CANYONS – RETRO TEASER TRAILER. YouTube. Retrieved October 11, 2012
  12. ^ Indiewire (January 4, 2013). "The 50 Indie Films We Want To See In 2013". IndieWire. SnagFilms. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (August 5, 2013). "Kanye West Puts Dramatic Twist On 'The Canyons' Trailer: Watch!". MTV. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ The Canyons director slams Lindsay Lohan. 3 News NZ. 26 September 2013.
  15. ^ The Canyons: presentation video letitcast.com, last retrieved October 03, 2013
  16. ^ Behind the scenes: Casting The Canyons Facebook, last retrieved October 03, 2013
  17. ^ "Bret Easton Ellis" Twitter. Retrieved July 18, 2012
  18. ^ a b c d e Stephen Rodrick (January 10, 2013). "Here Is What Happens When You Cast Lindsay Lohan in Your Movie". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 10, 2013. 
  19. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (June 14, 2012). "Lindsay Lohan Has 'Real Talent,' 'Canyons' Producer Says". MTV. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  20. ^ Carlson, Erin (May 4, 2012). "Bret Easton Ellis Is Using Kickstarter to Finance 'The Canyons' Indie". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "BEHIND THE SCENES: CASTING THE CANYONS". Retrieved July 20, 2012
  22. ^ "Check out this sneak preview of an article in GQ on James Deen and THE CANYONS.". Retrieved July 7, 2012
  23. ^ "In today's The Canyons shoot Gus Van Sant played James Den's psychiatrist. Read into that what you will.". Facebook. Retrieved August 7, 2012
  24. ^ Johnson, Zach (June 13, 2012). "Lindsay Lohan, Porn Star James Deen Costarring in The Canyons". Us Weekly. Retrieved July 7, 2012. 
  25. ^ "ROUGH CUT.". Facebook. Retrieved August 29, 2012
  26. ^ Child, Ben (January 24, 2013). "SXSW follows Sundance in rejecting Lindsay Lohan's The Canyons". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  27. ^ Ginsberg, Merle; Baum, Gary (January 23, 2013). "SXSW Rejected Lindsay Lohan's 'Canyons' Over 'Quality Issues'". The Hollywood Reporter. Lynne Segall. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  28. ^ Lindsay Lohan's The Canyons Finally Finds Distributor Cinema Blend. 15 February 2013
  29. ^ "Out of Competition". labiennale. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  30. ^ "Venice film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  31. ^ "The Canyons (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  32. ^ "The Canyons". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  33. ^ Barnard, Linda (August 1, 2013). "Lindsay Lohan’s The Canyons a career-killing dive: review". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  34. ^ "The Canyons Is Vital, Messy, and Alive With Regret" The Village Voice, July 31, 2013. Retrieved on August 2, 2013
  35. ^ Kaufman, Amy (August 4, 2013). "Lindsay Lohan's 'Canyons' tanks at New York City theater". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2013. 
  36. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Canyons-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B00DYZUFI0

External links[edit]