Why Did Johnny Depp Turn Down the Iconic Role in American Psycho?

Why Did Johnny Depp Turn Down the Iconic Role in American Psycho?
Image credit: Miramax Films, Lionsgate Films

There were other actors in the running for the part of Patrick Bateman before Christian Bale, so Johnny Depp wasn't the only one being considered.

American Psycho (2000) is a film that has left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape. Directed by Mary Harron and based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel, the movie is often hailed as one of the best films of our century.

The character of Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street yuppie-turned-serial killer, was masterfully portrayed by Christian Bale. But did you know that Johnny Depp was the first choice for this role?

The casting journey for Patrick Bateman was nothing short of a roller coaster. Johnny Depp was initially considered for the role way back in 1992. This was shortly after the film rights were acquired by producer Edward R. Pressman.

However, due to prolonged pre-production delays and the project seemingly stalling, Depp lost interest and decided to move on.

Following Depp's exit, the film saw a series of potential Patricks. At one point, director David Cronenberg was set to helm the project with Brad Pitt as his choice for Bateman. This version never materialized due to creative differences.

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Later, when Mary Harron took over as director, she felt Christian Bale was the best fit. However, the studio had other ideas. They had their eyes on Edward Norton, and even made an offer to Leonardo DiCaprio, fresh off his Titanic success.

Harron, however, was adamant about Bale, believing he was the right choice. Eventually, after a series of twists and turns, Bale became the last man standing.

By the early '90s, Depp had made a name for himself, working with renowned directors and showcasing his acting skills.

However, considering Depp's directorial endeavors around that time, there might have been potential clashes with Harron's vision for the film. Depp's directorial debut, The Brave, showcased his creative insights, and it's possible that he might have wanted to bring some of that to the film.

While it is still intriguing to think about what Depp's portrayal could have been like, Christian Bale's performance in American Psycho remains iconic and it’s possible that the movie wouldn’t have become so iconic without him.