Cancel The American Psycho Remake, No One Can Live Up To Christian Bale

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

American Psycho remake

With a remake of American Psycho in the works the question of everyone’s mind is who will play Patrick Bateman in the new version. But the simple truth is, no actor is going to be able to live up to Christian Bale’s iconic performance as the character. The real question that people should be asking is, why does American Psycho need a remake at all?

American Psycho

american psycho remake

The original American Psycho came out back in 2000, based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. It follows Patrick Bateman, an investment banker turned serial killer as he descends into madness. Both the novel and the original movie play with audience expectations and an unreliable narrator weaving a sense of ambiguity into the narrative that will be hard to pull off in a remake. 

You Can’t Have Patrick Bateman Without Christian Bale

American Psycho featured the mostly unknown Christian Bale as the lead, a role that defined him and which the remake will inevitably be measured against. Bale’s performance was the perfect combination of thinly veiled psychosis beneath a veneer of wealth and masculinity. While the movie was well written and Mary Haron’s direction was perfect, it was Bale’s performance as Patrick Bateman that secured the film’s place as a cult classic. 

For fans of the original American Psycho, the remake is almost certainly doomed to fail because of how flawlessly executed Bale’s performance was. Bale’s performance defined the character of Patrick Bateman in the public consciousness, his particular mannerisms and delivery are more integral to the character than how he’s written. This puts whoever is cast in an impossible situation, if their version of Patrick Bateman is similar to Bale’s it will feel like a cheap imitation but if it differs from Bale’s it won’t feel like Patrick Bateman at all. 

We Already Know The Surprise

While the remake of American Psycho’s biggest problem is overcoming the legacy of Christian Bale’s performance, it’s not the only reason a remake is a bad idea. Narratively, the remake’s biggest struggle is that unlike with the original, much of the audience will go in knowing that the narrative isn’t going to be a straightforward thriller. While it may function on a technical level, much of the original film’s success came from surprising the audience and playing with their expectations. 

American Psycho 2 Already Tried And Failed To Rekindle The Magic

american psycho remake

The struggle to remake American Psycho is evident looking at its disappointing sequel American Psycho 2 which already failed spectacularly as a follow-up to the success of the original film. The direct-to-video sequel, which came out in 2002, starred Mila Kunis and William Shatner and was rejected by critics, audiences, and the creators of the original film. Despite connections to the original movie and some similar ideas, it failed to capture what made the original so great. 

All Is Not Lost

Bad idea or not, the American Psycho remake seems all but inevitable at this point, with Lionsgate setting out to make a modern version of the film. Perhaps a strong creative team can find ways to overcome the various pitfalls of remaking such a beloved cult classic, with an iconic performance. It’s much more likely to disappoint audiences the way other remakes of cult classics such as Robocop have in the past.