Do you remember Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake? Duncan was a successful computer-game creator and filmmaker; Blake, a noted digital artist. In 2007, the couple — who first met on Washington DC’s punk scene, and reconnected at New York’s Knitting Factory in 1995 — committed back-to-back suicides, sending the New York art world and the local press into a tailspin. Word came yesterday that Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis are working on a film adaptation of Nancy Jo Sales’ “The Golden Suicides,” a Vanity Fair piece that focused on the seemingly doomed couple’s love story.
While we’re admittedly creeped out by the project’s macabre origins, it will be interesting to see what this talented (and rather opposite) pair does with the story.
As Sales’ piece notes,
“There had been reports they had become ‘paranoid,’ obsessed with conspiracy theories, believing they were being harassed by Scientologists. The Internet filled up with conjecture about government plots and murder. Something about their story seemed to capture the modern imagination, if only because no one knew exactly why two such accomplished and attractive people had chosen to make their exit.”
One specific incident: In August of 2006, the couple was evicted from their Venice Beach home after their landlord received complaints from neighbors. A 25-year-old woman named Katharine O’Brien told police in a statement, “Theresa said to me, ‘Jeremy and I have started a club where we’ve found a bunch of old men and we’re letting them fuck us in the ass, and we wanted to know if you wanted to be a part of it.'”
Duncan returned to O’Brien’s home multiple times that night, eventually asking her if she was a Scientologist. She and Blake moved back to New York in early January of 2007, renting an apartment in the St. Mark’s Church rectory. This is where Duncan was later found dead in July, flanked by a bowl full of Benadryl pills, a bottle of Tylenol PM, and a champagne glass.
No word yet on who will direct, but after seeing the way he delicately handled a complicated story like 2008’s Milk, our vote is for Van Sant. Let’s just hope Ellis can keep his sensational tendencies in check.