Film Society to Debut Paul Schrader’s “The Canyons”


Lindsay Lohan in Paul Schrader's The Canyons.

The film started making headlines even before it had been completed, but now the World Premiere of Paul Schrader’s anticipated Lindsay Lohan starrer, The Canyons, has been set for July 29 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The first public screening of the film will be followed by a conversation between Schrader and New York Film Festival Program Director Kent Jones.

Directed by Schrader from a script by Bret Easton Ellis, the American Gigolo filmmaker completed the already controversial film on a tight budget. Adult film star James Deen stars opposite Lohan in a story that revolves around cunning movie producer Christian (Deen) who makes films to keep his trust fund intact. Complicating matters is his off kilter actress/girlfriend (Lohan), who is hiding an ongoing affair with an actor from her past. Christian discovers the truth, which thrusts the battling couple into a violent and sexually charged odyssey.

The upcoming July/August issue of Film Comment magazine features an in-depth, exclusive interview with Paul Schrader as well as an essay commenting on the DIY effort he and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis undertook to make the film, the struggles and rewards of working with Lindsay Lohan, the decision to cast adult film star James Deen to star opposite her, and the film that resulted from it all.

"On one level, The Canyons is a visually and tonally precise, acid-etched horror story of souls wandering through a hyper-materialist hell, with a fearless and, I think, stunning performance by Lindsay Lohan at its center," noted Kent Jones. "On another level, it’s an inspiration and an example to us all: it’s difficult for me to imagine another filmmaker of Paul Schrader’s stature diving into the world of crowd-sourced moviemaking, let alone with such fervor, dedication and rigor."

Discussing the film with Film Comment, Schrader said: "...we’re making art out of the remains of our empire. The junk that’s left over. And this idea of a film that was crowdfunded, cast online, with one actor from a celebrity culture, one actor from adult-film culture, a writer and director who have gotten beat up in the past—felt like a post-Empire thing. And then everything I was afraid of with Lindsay and James started to become a positive. I was afraid we wouldn’t be taken seriously and people would think it was a joke. My son and daughter didn’t want me to do it. That just shows you how conservative young kids are."

Schrader also discusses Lohan’s initial resistance to starring opposite Deen: "When we first met with her. In fact, she was trying to get him out. The first read-through, I looked over at her notepad and she was making a list of other actors who could play these roles. I said, ‘Lindsay, I’m not gonna let you recast this movie.’ She was always wary of Deen. A little bit because of the porn thing, but also her fear was that he would steal her thunder." Additional comments can be found here.

Tickets for An Evening with Paul Schrader are now on sale for Film Society of Lincoln Center Members and Film Comment Magazine subscribers. Tickets for the General Public will go on sale Thursday, July 11. Tickets are $15.

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