American Psycho, the staple Hollywood classic was almost about to feature Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead. As difficult as it might seem to envision any other actor besides Christian Bale in the role of Patrick Bateman, at the time, it was Leonardo DiCaprio who ruled the minds and hearts of the audience and the industry studios alike. In comparison, Christian Bale was a relatively less-favorable option for the film's sponsors.
But as time would have it, for reasons incredibly superficial, Leonardo DiCaprio managed to drop out of the overly-packed race for the role of Bateman, clearing up the opportunity for Bale to pick up the project.
Among the numerous classically and historically great pieces that by design can be claimed as immortal masterpieces lies Christian Bale's American Psycho. A rare piece that can never be commercially exploited with a remake or substitution, the film stands as a singular testimony to the degradation of American society under the burgeoning capitalist culture of the 1980s Wall Street. And the gruesome and insatiable bloodletting that the industry provokes under its regime can only ever be expressed once, and that too by a 26-year-old Christian Bale.
Directed by the incredible Mary Harron, Bale's transgressional and transcendental portrayal of the psychopathic Patrick Bateman, was a generational character, inspired by many predecessors and one that serves as an epicenter for more to come. As such, the performance delivered by the inimitable actor placed him permanently on the map as an undeniable talent and the movie itself became a project worthy of revisiting endlessly. It's needless to claim Leonardo DiCaprio missed out on the role of a lifetime by passing up on American Psycho, but it is also engraved in stone that none other than Bale was perfect for the role.
Since the moment American Psycho rolled out its casting carpet on the market, the leading role of Patrick Bateman was up for grabs. Reports claim there have been one too many actors who were in the running for the lead (this of course included the emergent heartthrob of the late '90s, Leonardo DiCaprio) but in the end, the irreversible impression dealt by Bale in his lowkey audition had made him the only acceptable option for the role in Harron's eyes.
Leonardo DiCaprio, on the other hand, had already become a legend with his then-recently released . The fame that came with the success of the James Cameron romance tragedy was merely one aspect of DiCaprio’s rise in popular culture. But this seemed to be a leading cause behind the actor dropping out. The film’s co-writer, Guinevere Turner revealed:
“My friend, who had just spoken to Gloria Steinem, said that Gloria Steinem took Leonardo DiCaprio to a Yankees game. I believe, she said, ‘Please don’t do this movie. Coming off of ‘Titanic,’ there is an entire planet full of 13-year-old girls waiting to see what you do next, and this is going to be a movie that has horrible violence toward women. Soon after that, Leo dropped out, so who knows what really happened?”
It still remains unclear whether Leonardo DiCaprio being persuaded to drop for such an incredibly superficial reason should be considered the most inane or the ballsy decision to have ever been conspired between an actor and their agent.