Until now, the plot premises of The Neon Demon have been kept securely under wraps. We already knew that the film was conceived by director Nicolas Winding Refn and screenwriter Mary Laws, we knew that Elle Fanning will be one of the stars, and we knew that its some kind of horror story set in LA. But on the occasion of Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks joining Fanning, Jena Malone and Abbey Lee in the cast, all of which seems like a good excuse for some kind of celebration, let me try to peel back the mystery just a little. While I dont know the specifics of Reeves and Hendricks roles, I have been told - by somebody who would definitely know - that the film is about a group of supermodels going to extremes in their attempts to keep looking the way they do. What this translates into is voodoo and cannibalism. Theres a little Countess Bathory in this concept. To put it bluntly, shes the crazy lady who had virgins murdered so she could bathe in their blood. She was a monster. Bathorys story has been retold and reinvented so many times because its metaphorical value has never stopped being relevant. Translating those core symbols to Los Angeles and a subculture of supermodels is hardly the most obscure notion that Refn and Laws might have come up with, but who cares? Not when theres potential for both hitting the LA scene with some specific, scathing satire and also delivering some sharp, long-lasting relevance that applies outside of the context. The Neon Demon is gearing up for production now. If I learn anything else, Ill be sure to pass it on.
Brendon Connelly has been a film writer since the early 90s, with time on the staff of Orbit Magazine, Slashfilm, Bleeding Cool, Den of Geek and many more. He's a long time teacher of film studies and practical filmmaking classes, and has directed music videos, commercials, short films and more. His favourite film is Terry Gilliam's Brazil, his favourite food is pancakes or crepes, and he tries to live his life by the teachings of Kermit the Frog.