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James Deen, Lindsay Lohan Cast in Paul Schrader’s Social Media-Fueled Indie ‘The Canyons’

The staff here at FSR have been tracking the development of The Canyons pretty closely. The reportedly microbudgeted film directed by Paul Schrader from a script by American Psycho/Less Than Zero novelist Bret Easton Ellis and guided by indie producer Braxton Pope, The Canyons has gained notice for utilizing social media outlets like Kickstarter to help finance it and Facebook to cast as-yet-undiscovered talent.

Now, it appears that legendary acting veterans James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor porn star James Deen and postmodern performance art project Lindsay Lohan will star in the film, which ComingSoon describes as a “contemporary thriller that documents five twenty-somethings’ quest for power, love, sex and success in 2012 Hollywood.”

Lohan is best-known for her starring roles in The Parent Trap, Mean Girls, and the Los Angeles district court. James Deen is best known for his roles at Jimmy Olsen in Superman XXX: A Porn Parody, Moe in Simpsons: The XXX Parody, and Egon Spengler in This Ain’t Ghostbusters XXX.

Unless Lohan and Deen auditioned through The Canyons’s Facebook campaign (which would be hilarious but is, unfortunately, unlikely), then it seems that The Canyons is only casting its supporting roles through social media. While the film continuously proves itself an intriguing project (a Bret Easton Ellis script? the Taxi Driver scribe and Facebook? James Deen?), it’s development makes it ever-so clear that, to even succeed in using social media to finance a movie, some parameters marking it as a legitimate movie (an accomplished director, an actress whose name is known) needs to be in place. Yes, casting Lohan, who has a reputation for being a liability, alongside a porn star does not make a movie mainstream or even marketable (though casting a porn star certainly helped Soderbergh get the word out on his comparably micro-scale Girlfriend Experience), but this perplexing casting choice is even more so when  you consider that the campaign for The Canyons began ostensibly as a search for undiscovered talent.

Lohan and Deen like they’d fit Ellis-esque character types (though there’s no word yet on the specifics of their characters), but this news makes one wonder: Is social media actually being used to make The Canyons, or is it simply being utilized for 21st century marketing? [ComingSoon, Bret Easton Ellis]

Landon is a PhD candidate currently writing a dissertation on rock 'n' roll movies at Indiana University's department of Communication and Culture. He enjoys slow films on the beach.

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