Bret Easton Ellis Is Using Kickstarter to Finance 'The Canyons' Indie

FILM: Bret Easton Ellis
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Iconoclastic filmmaker Paul Schrader is teaming up with "Less Than Zero" author Ellis for the psycho-horror project "Bait."

The "American Psycho" author aims to raise $100,000 toward his pet project.

Bret Easton Ellis, no stranger to defying Hollywood and literary conventions, is financing his upcoming film, The Canyons, via Kickstarter, the grassroots fundraiser of the moment -- and perhaps, the future.

The goal: to raise $100,000. As of Friday morning, Easton Ellis raised $10,539, with 84 backers and 36 days to go.

The American Psycho author begins shooting Canyons in July with Paul Schrader attached as director; the movie is described on its Kickstarter page as a "contemporary thriller," documenting "five twenty-something's quest for power, love, sex and success in 2012 Hollywood."

Earlier this year, Easton Ellis declared his interest in casting porn star heartthrob James Deen in a key lead role. (The rest of you can audition on Facebook, like everyobdy else.)

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Along with the screenwriter-provocateur and Schrader, Braxton Pope, a former producer at Lionsgate, is partially funding the project through Pope's new company, Sodium Fox, as a means of retaining creative control of Easton Ellis' screenplay.

“We all experienced the frustrations of financing and institutional censorship," said Pope. "But now, with advances in digital photography and distribution, we can tell a story in the manner we choose. Movies are changing and we’re changing with it.”

Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Stricker recently announced that the site had financed 4,500 films since it launched in 2008 with 17 of those debuting at the Sundance Film Festival.

Meanwhile, Easton Ellis and company are dangling enticing carrots at potential backers. If you pledge $10K or more, you get a money clip autographed by Robert De Niro (or Bob, as we like to call him) and given to Schrader on the set of Taxi Driver; for $5K or more, Easton Ellis will 1) read your novel and 2) review it, and 3) give you two tickets to the film's wrap party.

Those who pledge $10 get to help cast the film via the Let It Cast website.