The twin suicides of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan a few years back was the closing chapter to a story that somehow managed to combine all the darker elements of Hollywood, Scientology and the New York art world:
Duncan and Blake formed a popular couple on the downtown New York and Venice, Calif., art scenes. She was one of the first video game designers for girls, and his “digital paintings”—kaleidoscopic images shown on plasma screens—established him as a rising star on the circuit. The couple descended into a paranoid spiral when the artists developed a consuming belief that government and religious organizations were conspiring against them. She killed herself in 2007. Blake found her body on the floor of their bedroom, and walked into the Atlantic Ocean a week later, ending his life.
Well, according to today’s Variety, Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis are now teaming up to give that story, naturally, a screenplay. For source material, Van Sant (Milk) and Ellis (Less Than Zero) plan on using The Golden Suicides, Vanity Fair’s posthumous profile of Blake and Duncan.
It’s a moving portrait of two people very much in love—as well as a harrowing depiction of how draining and hermetic the pair found the creative process. That their spiral downward came at a time when they were both poised for greater career success makes their twin suicides as tragic as it is haunting.
For abundant evidence of Duncan’s smarts and style, you can check out her still maintained website: TheWitOfTheStaircase. Blake is probably best known for his cover art on Beck’s Sea Change, and the “colorful undulations” used during the opening credits of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love.
But Blake himself was also a filmmaker. His Winchester trilogy, inspired by the story of Sarah Winchester and her family’s “Mystery House,” was shown at the San Francisco MOMA in ‘05. Century 21, the trilogy’s final installment, attempts to “explore the sickness—and the sexiness—of American violence.”
Thanks to Ubu, you can watch it below:
In Variety: Scribes Make Suicide Pact
In The Guardian: Gus Van Sant and Bret Easton Ellis Join Forces On Film
In Vanity Fair: The Golden Suicides