Roger Avary: Interview
Review by Clint Morris
Interview with The Rules of Attraction director,
For an ex-video store rewind boy, writer/director/producer
Roger Avary has come far.
Already in his undersized career, hes a fan-boy favourite
thanks to cult hit Reservoir Dogs, has grabbed an Oscar
for his gleaming formation of 1995 gem Pulp Fiction,
won kudos for solo-project Killing Zoe and now, is
the resentment of a globe full of pre-pubescent males, having
directed a smorgasbord of semi-naked female in The Rules
of Attraction. Clint Morris reports....
on the set of Rules
The mutinous, unobstructed gambol is the brainchild of author
Brett Easton Ellis.
The book, which follows a group of stained rich college kids
through a semester of drugs and sex was published in 1987;
and the uniformly singular Avary has been trying to make it
Avary says even while making the film he knew the outcome
was going to be something astonishing. It was an extraordinary
shoot -- unusually smooth.
Everyone turned in magnificent performances and there
really was this vibe that we were all here to do something
I've felt blessed, or charmed, on this film because
everything that should have gone wrong went right. For a movie
made with so little money, we did amazing things. I'm more
proud of this film, and my experience on it, than anything
else I've ever done, says Avary.
Adapting a novel for the screen is always a task. Among the
problems - deciding which characters to include and which
Avary says that his main problem in adapting Rules
was trying to decide whether the characters of the authors
other books the renowned Patrick Bateman of American
Psycho or even Clay from Less than Zero
should get a look-in, just like they did in the novel form.
During the writing stage I toyed with the idea of
Clay and Blaire (from Less than Zero) returning to
campus (and I would have used Andrew McCarthy and Jamie Gertz).
My notion was that Clay was now a studio executive and they
were visiting his magna alumni for nostalgia.
I wrote several variations on scenes with Clay and
Blaire, but they always seemed extraneous to the story I was
telling. And my script was already long by Hollywood standards
-- so I cut them.
One character Avary did keep in the finished outline was
Patrick Bateman, the contemptible yuppie serial killer from
book and recent film, American Psycho, but unfortunately
the actor who played Bateman in the contentious film didnt
see fit to return. I'm sorry that Christian (Bale) didn't
want to reprise his role, but in a way I'm happy about it.
From the video
store to the movie set
My movie and Mary Harron's movie are two very different
creatures from two very different universes. I thought it
would be cute to have Christian there -- but in the end my
Patrick Bateman exists for very different reasons than Mary's
did. In the end it was for the best.
The Rules of Attraction features some of the most
divisive scenes weve ever seen on screen Avary
teases with one moment. The Dressed to Get Screwed Party
from the book proved to be one of the most exhilarating days
on the set.
Unfortunately I had walking Pneumonia that day and
couldn't enjoy all of the nakedness running around.
He adds that audiences can expect to see teen-dreams like
James Van Der Beek and Jessica Biel in a totally different
Avary and one-time collaborator Quentin Tarantino reportedly
had a falling out a few years back, but the illustrious scribe
says had it not been for his days working behind the counter
at a video store with Quentin, maybe none of these deep-seated
movie ideas would have surfaced.
Most of our great ideas began behind the counter of
that store. Most of those ideas have yet to surface so that
the public can enjoy them as much as we did.
He says it was a dream come true when he and Quentin won
their Oscar for 1995s Pulp Fiction if
only because it made him more popular with the ladies. Let
me put it this way, I've had women ask me if I would f***
them with my Academy Award. Imagine what it has done for my
Avarys next movie will be a spin-off of Rules of
Attraction called Glamorama featuring Kip
Pardues character from the aforesaid.
And it doesnt worry him that hes again using
someone elses words: I prefer to direct because
you get to interact with people. Writing is just something
I need to do to get the movie made. It's just a tool to explain
to people what I see in my head.
And, despite the fact audiences didnt take to Rules
like flies to a cadaver the way the distributor anticipated,
Avary says hes not fazed hes just glad
he got to work with the fine cast he did. The film industry
is too fickle and unpredictable. I can tell you that I don't
believe in extremism, in any direction.
He says, The best talent to work with is talent that
trusts you. Trust is what filmmaking is all about.
The Rules of Attraction commences in Australia from
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