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Fifty Shades of...Hooey? Ellis Tweets About Porn Star Portraying Christian Grey Smell Like Cross-Promotion

 UPDATE (Sept. 5):  Sara Moore, a representative from EL James'  literary agency, Valerie Hoskins Associates, responded to my request for comment on Wednesday. "Thank you for your interest in Fifty Shades," Moore wrote, "however we cannot comment on any of this."   It looks like James' camp is taking an "ignore him and he'll go away" approach to Bret Easton Ellis, who has yet to respond.

PREVIOUSLY (Sept. 4): How does a media-savvy screenwriter promote his modest Kickstarter.com-financed film when the media is fixated on tentpole pictures?

What if he connected one of his project's actors — who happens to be a porn star — to the seriously sexy and much buzzed-about film adaptation of  Fifty Shades of Grey?

That's what I suspect novelist and screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis is doing with The Canyons, the L.A. noir thriller he wrote.

The Canyons, which Paul Schrader is directing, stars Lindsay Lohan and James Deen, a 26-year-old porn actor and director, who, like Sasha Grey, appears to be looking for more traditional acting work.

On Sunday, Ellis tweeted from his official account:  "Just got inside information that James Deen is actually in the running to play Christian in 'Fifty Shades of Grey' with EL James support," tweeted Ellis. He later added: "Movie will DEFINITELY be written by a woman and the budget will be below 15m. Ana will be played by an unknown."

I'm a fan of Ellis' fiction and film work.  I even liked The Informers more than most. As a longtime media observer, I also can't help but admire the way he has hitched himself to the Fifty Shades roller coaster by lobbying to be considered as the screenwriter of the film adaptation and holding forth on why Matt Bomer shouldn't play Christian Grey.

Through some pretty savvy social-media self-promotion, Ellis has become a kind of soi disant Fifty Shades expert, and now that he's been passed over as a potential screenwriter for the project, my gut tells me the fiction writer is shining on fans of James' books to build awareness for a film he actually did write:  The Canyons.

I sent a message to Ellis earlier today to ask him if he'd like to comment on this hunch of mine.  I also emailed James' agent in an attempt to determine whether the Fifty Shades author, as Ellis put it, supports Deen in the role.

Frankly, I can't see it. James novel is so heavy on the romance that I think the last thing she'd want is a porn actor playing Grey. I also can't imagine the film's producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, who were behind the Oscar-winning The Social Network, even putting Deen on a list of contenders. If Fifty Shades isn't going to be another  Exit to Eden, the extremely tortured Christian must be played by someone of the caliber of Ryan Gosling. Wouldn't you agree?

Neither Ellis, nor James' agent have gotten back to me yet. I'll let you know if they do.

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