Exclusive: The Story Behind Miles Fisher’s American Psycho Homage


Miles Fisher‘s American Psycho-inspired music video and cover of “This Must Be the Place” won the first-ever Flavorpill Memorial Thing We Can’t Stop Watching Award last week (a Flavie, for short). We wanted to find out a little more about the Christian Bale-ful star of the video, so we hit him up. As it turns out, we already know him: Fisher spoke to us about the art blog he curates earlier this year (and apparently he uses a different name for each of his artistic pursuits). Fisher gave us the scoop on the video, the art of imitation, and his upcoming Mad Men appearance.

Flavorpill: Why did you decide to cover “This Must Be the Place”? Which came first, the song choice, or the idea to do an American Psycho tribute?

Miles Fisher: The music came first. Since graduating from college (Harvard ’06), I’ve been acting professionally in Los Angeles. Yet music, both the performing and writing of it, has always played a huge part in my life. When the actors’ strike started to ultimately draw everything to a halt in LA about a year ago, I decided to record an EP — a few original tracks and one cover that would allow me stay creative amidst the drought the strike had brought. Dave Liang, the producer behind The Shanghai Restoration Project, has been a mentor of mine in all things music and he put me in touch with Brooklyn based producer Sean Han of Blip Blip Beep. Sean and I began the process of recording a few songs back and forth over the internet.

A few months later, the EP was completed and I felt that as an actor and filmmaker, I wanted to add a visual dimension to each track. American Psycho has always been a favorite film of mine and the Talking Heads will always be one of my favorite groups. The same can be said for many of my friends — they can quote the film verbatim, and their Stop Making Sense CD is as worn as any other in their collection. I approached my buddy Jake Avnet, who had successfully produced other works I had been involved in, and his friend from high school, the uber-talented director Dave Green. We started playing around with video ideas for the Talking Heads cover.

When you break down and examine the lyrics of “This Must Be The Place” up close, you see hints of fatalism echoed in “the less we say about it the better.” Pat Bateman’s fatalism serves as a bookend in the film with his monologues about just who he is and how he isn’t there at all. Dave, Jake, and I sat down and tried to draw visual parallels of the film between the lyrics of the song. After a few rounds of the storyboards, we felt that we hit on something.

FP: There were times during the video when I couldn’t tell if I was watching clips from the movie or not, including socialite Lydia Hearst’s appearance. How’d you get the details so right?

MF: We knew that there was a lot of potential to really screw this up. Here was a beloved movie and a beloved song mashed together by a few 26-year-olds. If we were going to get it right, we’d have to fully commit which meant near identical scene replication. Much of that was due to the tremendous work of the set designers. Lydia has been a good friend for many years now. I sent along the concept and story boards to her, asking if she’d been keen on playing the main girl’s role. She’s great, isn’t she? Those reaction shots are priceless, her expressions are spot on. Of course, it got a little racy in the bedroom scene, but we wanted to pay our respects to the film by going all out.

FP: Your Christian Bale impression is excellent, but you do a good Tom Cruise, too. Do you have any other imitations/viral videos up your sleeve?

MF: Thanks a lot. Imitation is just another form of flattery. My childhood, like everyone else I know, is earmarked with Tom Cruise films. Christian Bale became a real icon for me and my friends around the time that American Psycho became a cult favorite. That Tom Cruise bit got so much attention, I wanted to make sure that people didn’t think I was only one note. I figured that the only way to get that out of people’s heads was to replace it with something new. My goal is to play original characters, which is what I do and will continue to do, but a good impersonation every now and then can be fun. I just hope Bale and Cruise enjoy it — I genuinely tip my hat to them.

FP: Your website says you have a part on Mad Men. Can you tell us anything about your time on-set?

MF: Not allowed to say anything specific, but the experience was one of the best I’ve had out here in LA. There’s something about that show that I’ve never felt on any other set — everyone is on the same page to make each episode exceptional and everyone knows that they are telling stories worth telling. The commitment on each levels — from the acting, to writing, to wardrobe, props, lighting, etc. — it’s of the highest caliber. And it shows. Matthew Weiner has really done something extraordinary on TV.

FP: Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

MF: More music to come, more videos to come. Down the line, a live tour. Keep your eyes and ears tuned in.

Miles Fisher – This Must Be The Place (Cover) from Miles Fisher on Vimeo.

Fisher’s music is available for download on AmieSt.