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From Controversy to Comedy

Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho inspired some of the most scathing reviews in recent literary history and was summarily dismissed as an offensive insult to the American public on its release in 1991. During that year, we were in a Capricorn cycle. Three outer planets (Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) were all passing through the conservative, pro-money, anti-controversy sign of the goat.

Times have changed. Now, in Y2K, Uranus and Neptune have moved on to Aquarius, the most anti-materialistic, pro-controversy sign in the zodiac. And last month, Mary Harron's (I Shot Andy Warhol ) adaptation of the book about an '80s Wall Street sociopath who values his Cerruti suits over the lives of the numerous people he kills and dismembers, opens at theaters everywhere, and puts the spotlight on its young British star, Christian Bale.

While the character he plays, Patrick Bateman, has no empathy for anyone but himself (this is part of a riff on empathy in the film, which Bateman places in the context of the trite '80s Whitney Houston epic song, The Greatest Love of All), Bale has no empathy for Bateman. In his cover story in the April 13 issue of Time Out New York, Bale describes how he felt inhabiting the psycho killer's mind and body during the shooting period of the film: "Whilst Bateman's intelligent, I see him as a dork. I found it quite hilarious, walking around, being a prick 24 hours a day."

Author Bret Easton Ellis is going along with the "Bateman as laughable" party line, now, but he certainly balked at the literati's skewering of his book at the time of its release. Not everyone believes Ellis meant his story to be as unthreatening and campy-style silly as Harron's film presented it to be. In J. Hoberman's review of American Psycho in the April 18 issue of The Village Voice, he writes: "She (director Harron) treats the whole notion of a status-obsessed, fashion enslaved yuppie engaged in Ed Gein-type ritual sex-killings as a joke—on the author...Harron has deftly transformed the naughty-boy original into the anti-masculinist satire Ellis claims it always was (the writer resembles his creation in that no one believes his admissions)."

Bale as Bateman: His Demons Revealed

Actor Christian Bale, who became a teen idol after his break out kiddie performance in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, followed by two bizarre teen "musicals," Newsies and Swing Kids, has gained adult actor status in the recent hip films Metroland and Velvet Goldmine. Although in interviews Bale mocks Bateman, his chart shows that under the most extreme of imagined circumstances the actor could be just as crazy as the character he plays!

Bale's Sun, Mercury and Jupiter are all in Aquarius, a sign that at its most unevolved can have extreme problems with intimacy and empathy. The "lower" form of Aquarius looks at people more as bugs under a glass than as fellow members of the human race.

Bale's Mars, the planet of sex and aggression, is in Taurus, and it hits the midpoint between his Sun (representing who he is in the world) and Jupiter (the way he gets excessive). The lower version of the sign Taurus can be greedy, physically bullying and obsessed with material/sensual comforts and pleasures.

The actor's Venus is in the last degrees of Capricorn, a sign that in its most unevolved form is ruled by its desire for status and power. It is thought that when a planet is in the last degree it exhibits extremes of the sign that it falls in.

I'm sure Bale was raised well and is a stand-up guy (a gazillion fans on his numerous teenybopper webpages can't be wrong!), but his chart certainly shows an eerie connection to the nutty nature of Patrick Bateman. And perhaps his dismissal of Bateman as a "dork" can be filed under "he doth protest too much!"

Connection To Other Elements

In American Psycho, Christian Bale is surrounded by a bevy of rising young actors who all serve as foils to his detached, air sign nature. Scorpio Chloe Sevigny plays Jean, his gentle, compassionate secretary. She brings deep, water-sign emotions to this generally feeling-free film. Capricorn Jared Leto, as executive colleague Paul Allen, beats Bateman at his own game by being more powerful and successful than the killer could ever be. Only an earth sign could get out of his head and totally into the material and physical pleasures of this world we live in. And finally, fiery Reese Witherspoon, an Aries, plays Evelyn, Bateman's fiancée. She catches her man truly offguard by causing an attention-grabbing scene in a fancy restaurant after he dumps her. This sends Bateman running out of the joint in a tizzy, making his standard excuse, "I've got to return some videotapes."

All in all, it's the humor and charisma of this cast, as well as the satirical style of director Harron that saves this '80s send up from being a straight-to-video bomb. However, a film made in the ironic '90s about the empty '80s is unlikely to inspire much real feeling in movie-goers in the twenty-first century. For what it's meant to be though, it certainly rates as a guilty pleasure.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jill Dearman is the author of the gay best sellers Queer Astrology For Men and Queer Astrology For Women (St. Martins Griffin/1999). She has been professionally practicing astrology for twelve years and currently writes horoscopes for the national magazines Twist and Girlfriends as well as numerous papers syndicated via Q Syndicate. She has written about subjects from astrology to literature to film and theater in Mademoiselle, Publishers Weekly and HX. An excerpt from her upcoming novel, The Great Bravura, was featured in Best Lesbian Erotica 2000(Cleis Press). She also writes and produces films. The Village Voice called Dearman a "risk surfing playwright" whose work "shocks and rocks." She is a 1999/2000 artist in residence at HERE in New York City.

Jill is also the author of LoveCycles, an email-delivered guide to love and relationships based on individual birth data, available in the Shop@StarIQ.

Visit the author's website.

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For more information about Jill Dearman, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Jill Dearman:

  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-15-00   4/5/2014
  • The Bedroom Astrologer 11-1-00   3/8/2014
  • These Men are from Venus   10/5/2013
  • Brendan Fraser: More Than Just a Pretty Face   4/27/2001
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar: Every Girl's Heroine   4/25/2001
  • Geoffrey Rush: The Moody Marquis   3/23/2001
  • Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt: Still Peaking   1/30/2001
  • Kate Winslet's Passionate Choices   12/29/2000
  • Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria: What Does This Woman Want?   12/5/2000
  • Bounce Star Ben Affleck: The Ball is in His Court   12/1/2000
  • Charlie's Angels: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu   11/25/2000
  • Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger: Dr. Seuss Meets Nurse Betty   11/17/2000
  • Dylan on Dylan   11/10/2000
  • Bono's Return to Roots of Rock   11/4/2000
  • Geena Davis and Bette Midler: Big Stars on the Small Screen   10/27/2000
  • Janet Jackson's Down-to-Earth Planets   10/21/2000
  • Gloria Steinem: Happy At Last   10/14/2000
  • The Strange Musical Path of Bjork   9/26/2000
  • Picture Perfect Couple: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston   9/15/2000
  • Harrison and Michelle: A Return to Classic Hollywood   9/8/2000
  • Drew Barrymore: Happily Ever After At Last?   9/1/2000
  • Meg Ryan in the Middle   8/18/2000
  • Mark Wahlberg: Marky Mark is Back   8/12/2000
  • The Return of Cat Stevens   8/4/2000
  • Lou Reed and The Smashing Pumpkins: Piscean Themes   7/29/2000
  • Patti Smith: Her Gung Ho Comeback   7/21/2000
  • Rupert Everett: The Ultimate Gemini   7/7/2000
  • Angelina and Billy Bob: Hollywood's Mod, Odd Couple   6/30/2000
  • The Virgin Suicides: New Hollywood Meets Old Hollywood   6/2/2000
  • Opposites Attract On Screen   5/26/2000
  • Beatty and Bening's New Baby   5/19/2000
  • Puff Daddy and Jennifer Lopez   5/5/2000
  • Chloe Sevigny's Scorpionic Exploration of Sexuality   3/25/2000
  • Water Signs Rule the Cider House   3/23/2000
  • The Tangled Web of Ripley   3/2/2000
  • Aries Grrrl Warriors: Where Will They Go From Here?   2/18/2000

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