Five years before he fought crime in the darkened streets of Gotham City in Batman Begins, Christian Bale portrayed a very different character who got up to violent mayhem under the cover of darkness – namely Patrick Bateman in co-writer/director Mary Harron’s (now cult-classic) adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ satirical novel, American Psycho.

A new American Psycho movie is now in the early stages of development over at Lionsgate; it will apparently be neither a direct remake of Harron’s film, nor a strictly-loyal re-interpretation of Ellis’ source material.

Variety is reporting that the new, low-budgeted American Psycho project has not officially been greenlit by Lionsgate just yet. However, a preliminary script draft penned by Noble Jones was recently completed and the studio is now giving serious thought to giving the film the go-ahead, with Jones in the director’s chair.

Both Ellis’ American Psycho novel and Harron’s film take place in the 1980s. The plot concerns successful (and perfection-obsessed) investment manager/rising Wall Street tycoon Patrick Bateman: a man who spends his nights committing brutal acts of murder against just about anyone who crosses his path – be it a homeless man on the street, a competitor at work, unsuspecting prostitutes, or (almost) even his humble secretary. Or is that what Mr. Bateman just thinks he spends his free time doing?…

Early word is that Jones’ screenplay does not significantly alter the character’s basic personality or (insane) behavior. The revamped American Psycho movie script instead places Bateman in a modern-day context, as a means of re-imagining his tale.

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman

Jones, as it were, is a commercial and music video helmer and “protege” of David Fincher; he has also previously worked alongside Fincher as a second unit director on the Boston-set scenes in The Social Network. So, Jones has presumably learned a thing or two about crafting unsettling dark character pieces from Fincher, which would partly explain his interest in re-working American Psycho for the big screen.

That said: the idea of an American Psycho semi-remake helmed by David Fincher would still probably be greeted with negative buzz aplenty; that a disciple of his is instead attempting the task shouldn’t improve the project’s guaranteed bad (initial) reception – especially since (to be frank) hating remakes on principle is all the rage, nowadays.

In some ways, Jones’ American Psycho could be likened to Fincher’s fast-approaching take on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, another book that had previously been turned into an acclaimed movie – one which several moviegoers consider to feature a definitive lead performance (a la Bale in Harron’s American Psycho movie). The question now is whether or not a contemporary re-working of Ellis’ source material really stands to be that much different (or, possibly, better) than Harron’s more straight-forward adaptation.

Are you interested in seeing a version of American Psycho that takes place in the 21st century?

Source: Variety