“I always knew someone was going to try and adapt it,” said Ellis. “It’s the nature of the game – the controversy and the title obviously meant something to the people with the money to make it.”
Producer Edward Pressman optioned it, having been behind the ‘80s stockbroker classic Wall Street. His first step was finding a director.
The source material defeated plenty. Stuart Gordon tried to turn it into an X-rated splatter pic (Ellis: “The producers got nervous”); David Cronenberg toyed with making it.
Ellis even wrote a screenplay himself, which ended with Bateman and the whole of New York dancing to a Barry Manilow song (“It was like a Coke commercial,” says the writer. “A lame idea in retrospect, but I was bored”).
In the end, though, it wasn’t a man but a woman, Canadian director Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol), who wrestled Bateman on to the screen.