Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho” is one of the great horror characters of any era, one that perfectly summed up the “Greed is Good” ethos of the ’80s. With his anonymous job on Wall Street, conspicuous wealth and materialism, and complete lack of human empathy, Bateman was the man for his time and place. When it comes to the film adaptation in 2000, he also foreshadowed the modern phenomenon of FOMO. Preoccupied with securing reservations at the trendiest Manhattan eateries and waxing lyrical about the most mainstream pop imaginable, his desperation to win acceptance in an environment where he is often mistaken for other financial drones is palpable.
Johnny Depp was interested in the role as early as 1992, but by the time director Mary Harron first landed the gig several years later, Leonardo DiCaprio was the name on everyone’s lips. Harron always had Christian Bale in mind for the part, but he wasn’t in the studio’s plans at all. Conversely, Harron absolutely did not want DiCaprio:
“Leonardo wasn’t remotely right [for the part]. There’s something very boyish about him. He’s not credible as one of these tough Wall Street guys… I did not want to deal with someone who had a 13-year-old fan base. They shouldn’t see the movie. It could’ve gotten us in a lot of trouble.”
Although DiCaprio would later portray another Wall Street monster in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” he patently wasn’t right for the role at that stage of his career. That didn’t concern the studio, however, who announced him in the lead to Harron’s disapproval. Her refusal to meet with DiCaprio resulted in her getting dumped from the project as a list of other prospective directors was drawn up. Several including Danny Boyle, Martin Scorsese, David Cronenberg, and Stanley Kubrick were considered before Oliver Stone took over.