What do you get when you pair Paul Schrader, one of the darkest directors when it comes to raw sexual issues on screen, with gay novelist Bret Easton Ellis, who specializes in creepy dark comedies about soulless 20somethings obsessed with sex and power … then add in Lindsay Lohan? The answer is The Canyons, a new film available through the growing Video On Demand platform.
The film — intended as a kind of comeback for Lohan, and an attempt at mainstream appeal for straight porn actor James Deen — deals with young, amoral Los Angelenos involved in sex games in between their work in the corners of the movie industry.
I chatted with Paul Schrader — who first came to Dallas in 1971 for the USA Film Festival (as a film critic, not a filmmaker) — about the lurid themes of the film, the changes in the movie industry and working with Lohan.
The Canyons is now available VOD on iTunes, Goggle Play, Xbox, Playstation, YouTube, Amazon and cable.
Dallas Voice: How has your background as a film critic informed you as a filmmaker? Paul Schrader: Not necessarily to the good. A film critic is like a medical examiner — he wants to open the cadaver and see how it lived. A filmmaker is like a pregnant woman — she wants to do anything to protect that baby. So you’d better be careful letting the critic into the operating room, cuz he will kill that baby.
Has VOD changed filmmaking? I think it will [change the industry]. You can watch any movie on whim. We’re just seeing it come about now. [The Canyons] was a film designed to be released on-demand; it was not because it flopped in theaters. This is cinema for the post-theatrical era — that’s why [you see so many shots] of all those dead theaters.