Here's fun for all the family: American Psycho, the musical

Theatre company is to stage Bret Easton Ellis's blood-soaked satire about a serial killer

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The book was meant to be unfilmable. But more than a decade on from the acclaimed movie adaptation of American Psycho, a theatre company is to go one step further and bring the bloody satire to the British stage; with some musical numbers along the way.

Just a month after author Bret Easton Ellis mooted the possibility of bringing antihero Patrick Bateman back for a sequel, it has emerged that Headlong Theatre Company is to stage the world premiere of the musical American Psycho.

Audiences may be advised to bring their raincoats as the writer of the work has promised "a lot of blood", seeing it compete with another musical killer Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to sate theatregoers' demand for shock and gore.

Headlong's artistic director Rupert Goold, who directed the dissection of corporate greed Enron, is to oversee the production which currently does not have an opening date or a venue.

The music and lyrics were written by Duncan Sheik, who won a Grammy and two Tony awards for the rock musical adaptation of 1892 German play Spring Awakening. He said the score for American Psycho was "so far, completely electronic".

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who was called in to salvage the script of the troubled Broadway production Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark, wrote the adaptation. The musical has been in development for several years. Sheik told the New York Post in 2010: "Think about Malcolm McDowell singing songs during A Clockwork Orange. He sang Singing in the Rain."

At the time, Aguirre-Sacasa added: "There are murders, and they are on stage in full view of the audience. I think there's going to be a lot of blood." Among the brutal scenes the writer was keen to bring to the stage was Bateman's murder of a business associate with an axe, making sure to protect his designer suit by wearing a raincoat.

So far no one has been cast to wield the chainsaw. A spokeswoman for Headlong denied the reports that actor and playwright Hywel John had been cast as the investment banker turned serial killer.

Easton Ellis wrote the book in 1991, a disturbing satire about the Wall Street boom and the lives of 1980s yuppies. It caused an outcry because of the extreme violence, and saw the author receive death threats. Bateman's quotes include: "I like to dissect girls. Did you know I'm utterly insane?"

The book was adapted into a film at the turn of the century by director Mary Harron, with Christian Bale taking the lead role. A direct-to-video sequel was released two years later, but has little connection to the book or the previous film other than referencing the Bateman character in flashback. In November, there was talk that film producer Lionsgate, which released the sequel, was pushing a remake of American Psycho.

Last month, Easton Ellis took to Twitter to say he was considering a sequel to his seminal work. He wrote that he was "sitting at my desk finishing a script and suddenly I'm making notes on where Patrick Bateman's now". He called on his followers to provide ideas and said: "Am I really going to start doing this? PB says yes."

Stage blood: Shocking plays

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

This bloodthirsty musical tale of a barber who slits his customers' throats has run since 1979.

Silence! The Musical

An off-Broadway parody of Silence of the Lambs.

London Road

The National Theatre's musical about the Ipswich prostitute killer Steve Wright.

Sweet Violets

The Royal Ballet's work inspired by Jack the Ripper and the fascination he caused in painter Walter Sickert.