“Having a woman direct it answered a lot of accusations about the book,” explained Pressman. But Ellis was more forthright about the choice of a female director:
“It was a bit of a stunt. I think part of the reason why a woman was hired was precisely to deflect the criticism and so make more money. Everything is a business decision. They said, ‘Let’s get a woman to direct it. Nora Ephron is probably not going to do it, so let’s see who else is out there.’”
Despite Ellis' cynicism, Harron proved to be an inspired choice. When the Toronto production became mired in controversy – after a copy of the book was found on the bedside table of Canadian serial killer Paul Bernardo – she proved articulate and capable in the face of the media.
She was also the only filmmaker who worked on the project that understood the torture wouldn’t translate on to film.
Instead, Harron and co-writer Guinevere Turner (who has a brief role as one of Bateman’s victims) concentrated on nailing the satire, capturing the blank, affect-less tone of the novel perfectly.
Now all they needed was someone to play Bateman.
Next: The DiCaprio Dilemma...