When I was younger I had the privilege of working behind the scenes on over 20 movies. I was able to learn from real life production designers, set decorators and location managers the secrets of the trade.
The most memorable opportunity I had was when I worked for Director Mary Harron as her personal assistant on the set of her cult classic American Psycho, starring relatively unknowns Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Jared Leto and Josh Lucas. (As a 22 year old, it was pretty awesome to hang out with these guys for a few months!)
Mary and her production designer Gideon Ponte had a strong vision for the world they wanted to recreate. They understood that this would likely be the first 1980s period piece ever made and they wanted to capture the ridiculousness of the times they experienced in their youth living in New York City.
From the open sequence’s absurd gourmet blood bath offering (subsequently imitated in Dexter opening theme song), this is a stylish film to the very end. Every restaurant that Patrick Bateman dines in represents a design trend of the era. Watch it again and see.
Probably the biggest scene stealers in this film are the two apartments that Patrick habitats during the film. The contrast between his own stark, cold monochromatic black and white apartment vs Paul Allen’s warm neutral colour palette is strong. Each reflect their owners’ personalities and it kills Patrick when a prostitute says she likes Paul’s better.
Still, who can resist the iconic Barcelona chairs? The framed black paintings are part of a series called ‘Surrogate Paintings’ by Allan McCollum. And includes Robert Longo’s signature Men in the Cities.
This video replicates the apartment nicely.
This apartment has become so iconic that Kanye West actually replicates it in his Love Lockdown video.
The all-white bachelor pad is my favourite as a design statement. It captures the 80s design aesthetic perfectly but yet still remains timeless. The same cannot be said for many sets from that period – think about Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Nicolas Guest’s home in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! My new home will not be featuring any of these design elements.