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By Devin D. O'Leary

JUNE 8, 1998:  REEL WORLD--Has Leonardo DiCaprio gone insane? Several weeks ago, he lost the lead role in the prestigious western drama All the Pretty Horses (directed by Billy Bob Thornton and based on the book by Cormac McCarthy) to newcomer Matt Damon, thanks to an outrageous $20 million salary demand (which would have gobbled up nearly all of the film's sub-$30 million budget). Now DiCaprio has announced plans to star in an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' repellent 1991 novel American Psycho. Producers at tiny Lion's Gate Films insist that the film will only be "loosely based" on the controversial novel about a yuppie serial killer and that there will be "no cannibalism." Oh, goody. I'm sure that will put to rest all the minds of Leo's screaming teenybopper fans. Don't get me wrong. It's not that DiCaprio shouldn't be taking challenging roles if he wants to grow as an actor. But the script for Ellis' novel (a follow-up to his equally pointless and self-indulgent Less Than Zero) has been languishing on Hollywood shelves for years now. Nobody out there has wanted to touch the thing with a 10-foot pole. God knows I've got nothing against psycho killers (I eagerly await the upcoming Freddy vs. Jason match-up), but Ellis' novel was both nauseating and wholly lacking in any talent. Leo, old buddy, I know you want to change your image, but get a grip! Just think what the movie version of Less Than Zero did for Andrew McCarthy's career.


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