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IFC Films moves in on Lindsay Lohan's troubled 'The Canyons'

February 15, 2013|By Mark Olsen
  • Actress Lindsay Lohan leaves the Los Angeles Airport Branch Superior Courthouse on Jan. 30, 2013, with her mother, Dina Lohan, and new attorney Mark Heller at her side.
Actress Lindsay Lohan leaves the Los Angeles Airport Branch Superior Courthouse… (Los Angeles Times )

“The Canyons,” a collaboration between screenwriter and author Bret Easton Ellis and filmmaker Paul Schrader billed as “American Psycho” meets “American Gigolo,” has been picked up for distribution by IFC Films.

Starring troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen in his first major non-adult film role, the picture has already lived a vibrant life in the media as a flashpoint of controversy and something of a contemporary elaboration of the old adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Following a bruising magazine article chronicling the film’s turbulent production timed to what would have been its premiere at the recent Sundance Film Festival – had it not been rejected – the film was seen as damaged goods.

Another story about the film’s rejection from the upcoming South by Southwest Film Festival, a public breach of the private protocols of the festival world, further hurt the movie's profile. The negative pile-on response to a number of teaser trailers released online, each done in a different period style, seemed to cast further doubt on its future fortunes.

IFC plans to premiere the movie day-and-date on digital platforms this summer along with a special presentation at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. Schrader is quoted in a news release as declaring the film, funded in part through online crowdsourcing, as “cinema for the post-theatrical age.”

Produced by Braxton Pope, “The Canyons” stars Deen as a hard-living producer on the fringes of Hollywood, with Lohan playing his girlfriend. The film’s story of sex, drugs, and violence might be seen as the first filmic elaboration of Ellis’ notion of “post-Empire” modern living, which he has developed perhaps most succinctly via his frequent postings on Twitter.

In a statement, Ellis said, “The DIY [Do it Yourself] ethos behind the movie dovetails perfectly with IFC's commitment to release the film this summer. Finally the movie will be able to be seen and viewers can judge for themselves rather than relying on the undeservedly snarky press ‘The Canyons’ has received so far. This distribution model is the future for a certain kind of adult drama that is now officially non-existent within the old-school studio system.”


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Follow Mark Olsen on Twitter: @IndieFocus

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