A match made in weird pop-culture heaven seems to be leading somewhere real: the writer Bret Easton Ellis recently spoke to Vice about the script he’s developing for Kanye West, and the project seems to be moving forward.
The collaboration began last summer with the video above, in which the rapper used a (NSFW) take on a scene from American Psycho to promote his album Yeezus. (The scene in the original movie of Ellis’ novel involves Huey Lewis and the News.) The clip was made with Ellis’ cooperation — after which the author told MTV that they were planning to work together again soon. In his more recent interview, Ellis sounds excited about the project — whenever it comes to fruition:
It’s in Kanye Land, and that’s subject to a whole other time frame. He came and asked me to write the film. I didn’t want to at first. Then I listened to Yeezus. It was early summer last year and I was driving in my car. He’d given me an advance copy, and I thought, regardless of whether I’m right for this project, I want to work with whoever made this.
Though Ellis doesn’t provide any actual information about the content of the movie, so there’s no way to know exactly what writing something “for” West would mean. Hollywood is one area where the multi-hyphenate rapper hasn’t yet made a serious foray. He’s got a handful of music-video and short directing credits, and his acting credits are mostly for spoofy cameos — often as a version of himself, in movies like The Love Guru and Anchorman 2. He’s done shorts and commercials, and once tried to have a comedy show.
But, while directing a film would be a not-entirely-surprising move for West, and there’s plenty of evidence that West can get involved in pretty much every medium he’s interested in (case in point: architecture), acting might prove a stumbling block.
The reason is something Bret Easton Ellis gets at in his chat with Vice: Kanye’s larger-than-life persona. Not that that’s a bad thing. Ellis makes the point that it’s good that West is able to honestly embrace his oversized celebrity ego — but acting means subsuming your own identity to assume a character’s. If Kanye West means to be an actor and to jumpstart that particular career by starring in a Bret Easton Ellis-penned movie, could audience members forget that it’s Kanye West for long enough to enjoy a feature-length film?
Sure, lots of singers-cum-actors have made the crossover — and others, like Ellis’ recent collaborator on The Canyons, Lindsay Lohan, have plenty of association-baggage of their own — but few media figures of the moment have as concrete, unique and prominent an identity as West does. The world may discover how he fares as a full-on actor whenever this project emerges from “Kanye Land” — and even if the answer is, “Not very well,” it’s all but guaranteed to be interesting.