The Canyons

The Canyons Information

The Canyons is a 2013 American erotic thriller film directed by Paul Schrader and written by Bret Easton Ellis. The film is set in Los Angeles and stars Lindsay Lohan, James Deen, Nolan Gerard Funk, Amanda Brooks and Gus Van Sant. It received a limited release on August 2, 2013 at the IFC Center in New York City, the Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and on video on demand platforms. Despite the mixed reception, Lohan recieved praise for her performance from some critics.


While calculating young movie producer Christian (Deen) makes films to keep his trust fund intact, his actress girlfriend, Tara (Lohan), hides an affair with an actor from her past. But when Christian becomes aware of said affair, it thrusts the young Angelenos into a violent, sexually charged tour through the dark side of human nature.


  • Lindsay Lohan as Tara
  • James Deen as Christian
  • Gus Van Sant as Dr. Campbell
  • Nolan Gerard Funk as Ryan
  • Amanda Brooks as Gina
  • Tenille Houston as Cynthia
  • Jim Boeven as Jon
  • Nik Tyler as Declan
  • Victor of Aquitaine as Randall
  • Philip Pavel as Erik
  • Lauren Schacher as Caitlin
  • Jarod Einsohn as Hoodie
  • Lily Labeau as "Young Hot Girl"
  • Thomas Trussell as "Young Hot Guy"


Production and marketing

Braxton Pope, Bret Easton Ellis, and Paul Schrader were originally involved in a film project Bait. When the project lost its financing Pope, Ellis and Schrader decided they wanted to make a lower-scale film. Ellis was in charge of writing the script. After it was done, Pope suggested to raise money via Kickstarter. During May and June 2012 the film raised $159,015, with a goal of $100,000 in funding. The budget for the film was $250,000 and the actors were reportedly paid $100 a day.

On July 13, it was announced that Brendan Canning would be scoring the movie. On July 18, 2012, the official press release for the movie was published on the Facebook page of The Canyons. On July 24, 2012, it was announced that American Apparel would be supplying the cast with wardrobe and was planning to issue logo T-shirts based on Easton Ellis, The Canyons, and Schrader. The first teaser was released on YouTube on June 16, 2012. On October 8, a "retro style" teaser trailer was released. IndieWire called The Canyons one of the "50 Indie Films We Want To See In 2013" in January 2013. On August 2, 2013, rapper Kanye West released a new version of the trailer; he worked with Nate Brown on the re-editing and created new music with Noah Goldstein.


Pope approached Lohan's manager about the possibility of Lohan's playing the role of Cynthia, the yoga instructor, but during a meeting with Pope and Paul Schrader she said she wanted to play the lead. Two weeks later, she screen tested and was cast. Pope said, "She's very charismatic and she has a lot of acting skills...So for this part, we felt that she was really the right actor for a host of different reasons." Fleur Saville was also considered for Tara's part.

Early on, the filmmakers considered casting Sean Brosnan as Christian, but later, they wanted to cast somebody "more edgy and unexpected". Ellis had mentioned several times that he had Deen in mind for Christian's role and when he, Pope and Deen met, Deen was promised a screen test. Schrader was reluctant at first, because he thought it was unlikely he would cast him due to his acting experiences in porn. After being surprised by Deen's acting abilities and charisma, Schrader was still reluctant to cast him but with Ellis and Pope were collectively intrigued by the idea of casting Lohan and Deen in the leads and ultimately did. Other actors that had been considered for Christian's role were Alex Meraz and Daren Kagasoff among others.

Funk was cast as Ryan. Other actors who had been considered for Ryan's role included Alex Ashbaugh, who was cast in a different role, Zach Roerig, and Chris Schellenger, who was also given a different, smaller role in the movie.

Gina's character was cast through the casting system Letitcast. The primary selection criteria were: who would be the best counterpoint to Lohan, in physical appearance and personality. After many auditions, Brooks was cast. Other actresses who had been considered were Spencer Grammer and Jessica Morris, among others.

Cynthia's character was originally called Lindsay, but her name was changed so she wouldn't be confused with Lohan. She was also cast through letitcast, and the primary criterion for the actress was to balance Lohan and Brooks.

Houston's audition was sent in early and remained a favorite. Other actresses who had been considered included Fleur Saville and Cameron Richardson.

In tertiary roles, Boeven was cast as Jon, and Aquitaine was cast as Randall. Philip Pavel, who was cast as Erik, had also been considered, among others.

Caitlin's character was originally supposed to be cast through letitcast but was ultimately cast through mobli, because Pope had wanted to cast Caitlin through mobli. Lauren Schacher was cast.

Director Gus Van Sant's casting in the role Christian's psychotherapist was reported in July 2012.

When asked about casting The Canyons, Ellis stated: "Dealing with the casting of The Canyons was a great, liberating process"?for both the production team and for actors in general. We used letitcast and saw some amazing actors that we will definitely keep in mind for future projects. The way the entire cast came together so quickly was a thrill and everyone who landed their roles deserved them. Using social media as a way to help build a film is really like riding the wave into the future." Pope said, "Nothing about this film was orchestrated in a traditional way. We wanted to actively embrace all the digital and social media tools at our disposal and give the film real cinematic value"??The Canyons' is the result of a forward thinking experiment with a terrific cast." Schrader said: "Bret Easton Ellis' characters are beautiful people doing bad things in nice rooms. Lindsay Lohan and James Deen not only have the acting talent they also have that screen quality that keeps you watching their every move."

Filming and editing

Principal photography began in July 2012 with the shooting of the first six minutes of the film in the bar of the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Los Angeles. Many key scenes were shot at the Malibu home of designer Vitus Mataré. Filming was moved to the Century City Mall in Los Angeles after a failed attempt to film at the Santa Monica Promenade. Scenes were also shot near the Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles.

The rough cut of the film was 1 hour 44 minutes long. Initial edits of the film were disappointing; the film was said to "drag". Ellis, Schrader and Pope had a disagreement over the final cut of the film. After Schrader showed Steven Soderbergh the rough cut of the film, Soderbergh offered to cut it within three days. Schrader declined, telling The New York Times: "The idea of 72 hours is a joke, it would take him 72 hours to look at all the footage. And you know what Soderbergh would do if another director offered to cut his film? [Puts up two middle fingers] That's what Soderbergh would do." Ellis is quoted as saying: "The film is so languorous. It's an hour 30, and it seems like it's three hours long. I saw this as a pranky noirish thriller, but Schrader turned it into, well, a Schrader film."


The film was not accepted by the Sundance Film Festival, but was scheduled for sale in January 2013 by William Morris Endeavor. It was also rejected by SXSW over "quality issues". IFC Films picked up the film for distribution. It was released on August 2, 2013 at the IFC Center in New York City, the Bell Lightbox in Toronto, and on video on demand platforms. It is scheduled to be shown out of competition at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.

Critical response

The film holds a 23% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 3.9/10, based on 65 reviews. The consensus says the film "serves as a sour footnote in Paul Schrader's career"?but it does feature some decent late-period work from Lindsay Lohan." At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 38, based on 25 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Linda Barnard of the Toronto Star gave the film one out of four stars, calling it "a howlingly bad soap-opera-meets-soft-core-porn mash-up". Writing for The Village Voice, Stephanie Zacharek praised Lohan's performance, likening her Tara character to "a nectarine on the far side of ripening, and this isn't a story about innocence lost"?she sold that off long ago. But there's a dreaminess about her that could never crystallize into hardness." Zacharek also wrote that the "nuts and bolts of the plot are the least interesting things" about the film.

Box office

Debuting only at the IFC Center in the U.S., the film earned $13,351 by the end of its opening weekend. On video on demand and iTunes, the film was said to do "extremely well". The film has grossed a total of $49,494, as of August 26th, 2013.


The soundtrack for the film was produced by Brendan Canning w/ Me&John, but features songs by Gold Zebra, A Place to Bury Strangers, and the Dum Dum Girls. It was released on July 30, 2013.

Track listing:

  1. Canyons Theme
  2. Without The Night (feat. Adaline)
  3. No More Sympathy (feat. Rob James)
  4. Back Home To Michigan
  5. Son Of Perdition
  6. Teil Cock
  7. Love, French, Better (Gold Zebra)
  8. Soon To Be
  9. Fear ( A Place To Bury Strangers)
  10. This Isn't Good For You
  11. Driving Sines
  12. Goddamn So High (feat. Adaline)
  13. My Preacher's Daughter (feat. Adaline)
  14. Coming Down (Dum Dum Girls)

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Canyons_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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