‘American Psycho’ Author Bret Easton Ellis Signs Up for Fullscreen SVOD Service
Until now, the marquee program for multi-platform production company Fullscreen’s new ad-free SVOD service, launching tomorrow, has been the reboot of Sid & Marty Krofft’s campy ’70s Saturday morning series “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl,” starring YouTubers Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart.
But at Fullscreen’s launch event for the press in New York this morning, things took a darker turn when it announced that the platform would also be the home of the series “The Deleted,” a thriller about how the disappearance of three seemingly unconnected people from Los Angeles triggers a collective paranoia among a group of twentysomethings who escaped from a cult several years back.
“The Deleted” is being directed and written by Bret Easton Ellis, the author and screenwriter behind the pitch-dark, uber-violent black comedy “American Psycho” and drug and sex-soaked explorations of over-privileged youth “Rules of Attraction” and “Less Than Zero.”
Although the series is being billed as his directorial debut, Ellis already has several shorts to his credit, including “Orpheus” (below), and he has been experimenting with serialized digital filmmaking for several years now.
In a June 2014 “Reinvent Hollywood” video conference call with Amazon Studios head Ted Hope and others, writer/director Paul Schrader (“American Gigolo,” “Affliction”), who collaborated with Ellis on 2013’s “The Canyons,” discussed how digital filmmaking and distribution is a godsend to authors like Ellis.
Said Schrader: “Over the years, I’ve seen a number of authors attempt to become directors, from Norman Mailer [1987’s widely-panned “Tough Guys Don’t Dance,” starring Ryan O’Neal] to Susan Sontag to Paul Auster, and they’ve always been defeated by the economics because their mindset was not in the commercial arena of cinema. But now what Bret Ellis is doing he would never have done five years ago. He is spending his own money shooting this little episodic thing five minutes at a time. That may be the new way for someone like Mailer or Sontag or Auster who is defeated by the concept of commercial to participate in audiovisual storytelling.”
“[Ellis] was doing this because he’s an artist and because it was fun,” Schrader continued. “He writes a five-minute episode, he has some friends, and they shoot it. Then, based on that, he writes another five-minute episode. Now, this was the same thing that Charles Dickens was doing in the 19th Century. When Charles Dickens walked down the street in London, people would say, ‘I love Pip [in “Great Expectations”]. He’s such a cool guy,’ you know? So Dickens would write more about Pip. Well, Bret is able to do this… Artists have been working in different structures for eons. And maybe this is the very best structure for Bret Ellis, because he certainly could not get a film financed.”
According to Fullscreen, “The Deleted” has not begun shooting yet, so it is presumably a different project than the one described by Schrader. It is expected to premiere in 2017.
Fullscreen also announced today that the platform’s original programming will include the talk shows “Explain Things to Me,” a “geekstravaganza” featuring Anna Akana and Brad Gage; “Slumber Party with Alie & Georgia,” hosted by Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark; and “Waste of Time with ItsTheReal,” in which comedian brothers Eric and Jeff Rosenthal invite guests to their apartment to talk rap music, New York City and food. It will also have the daily sketch show “Party in the Back,” in which Twaimz, Josh Leyva, Rachel Scanlon and Brandon Armstrong give a humorous behind-the-scenes look at their efforts to create new programming while working at Fullscreen. The shows will debut later this
In addition to “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl,” Fullscreen’s launch lineup will include “Filthy Preppy Teen$” from Paul Scheer (“Party Over Here,” “Fresh Off the Boat”), Abominable Pictures and Jonathan Stern (“Childrens Hospital,” “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”); the direct-to-digital feature “The Outfield,” starring Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier; “My Selfie Life,” created and executive produced by John Farrar (“Man v. Viral”) and Pete Cooksley (“Find My First Love”); and personality-driven programming including “Shane & Friends,” “Zall Good with Alexis G. Zall” and “Kingdom Geek.”
Targeting Fullscreen’s 13 to 30-year-old audience, the subscription service will be availavble at www.fullscreen.com and via iPhone, iPad, select Android phones and Chromecast for $4.99 per month, with an initial 30-day free trial. Support for other internet-enabled devices will roll out later this year. It will be available outside the U.S. at the same $4.99 price point, with over 90% of the original content and a large selection from the content library.
According to Fullscreen, the SVOD service will have a mood-based search feature that will enable viewers to “find the right shows for every vibe,” whether they want to “feel all the feels,” “learn new things” or “laugh till it hurts.”
AT&T (which co-owns Fullscreen’s parent company, Otter Media, with the Chernin Group) will be the service’s launch sponsor, collaborating with Fullscreen to market and promote it with special offers for AT&T’s more than 100 million video, mobile and broadband customers.
Fullscreen and AT&T will also co-produce premium content that will air both on the Fullscreen SVOD service and on a Fullscreen programming block on AT&T’s Audience Network, available to DirecTV and U-verse TV subscribers.