Q: I saw that "The Rules of Attraction" was based on a book. Did any of the writer's other books get produced?

« Back to Q & A

Adam Thomlison / TV Media

As a matter of fact, 2002's grimly humorous film "The Rules of Attraction" may be one of Bret Easton Ellis's lesser-known film adaptations. If you liked it, you'd probably love the others.

Ellis has a unique voice and tackles similar themes in all of his books: the emptiness of materialism and the isolation and disappointment that come from an obsession with beauty and youth. Though not uncommon themes to tackle in film, Ellis's approach is to take them to depressive or violent extremes -- to make his point by exaggerating it, often to comic effect.

That description fits "The Rules of Attraction" just as well as it does his best-known film, 2000's "American Psycho," and the first book-turned-movie, 1987's brat-pack classic "Less Than Zero."

Interestingly, the three films are all part of the same universe and are technically a series.

"Less Than Zero" follows Clay (Andrew McCarthy, "Pretty in Pink," 1986), who has returned home to L.A. from school in New Hampshire. That school is the fictional Camden College, also the setting of "The Rules of Attraction" (Clay is a minor character in the "Rules" novel but doesn't appear in the film).

The main character in "Rules," Sean Bateman (James Van Der Beek, "Dawson's Creek"), is the younger brother of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale, "Batman Begins," 2005), the main character (you'd hate to call him the hero) of "American Psycho."

More films have followed that trio, such as 2004's "Glitterati" (made by "The Rules of Attraction" director Roger Avary) and 2008's "The Informers," though they are not part of the shared universe.

More recently, Ellis has cut out the middleman, writing screenplays directly instead of writing novels to be adapted by others for the screen.

His latest film is the 2020 indie horror film "Smiley Face Killers." Its unsettling depiction of teenage life and relations will feel familiar to "Rules" fans.


Have a question? Email us at questions@tvtabloid.com. Please include your name and town. Personal replies will not be provided.