Anne Philippi meets: Bret Easton Ellis

Collage Bret Easton Ellis
© Collage / Katrin Weber

5.4.3.2.1. About to talk on the phone with Bret Easton Ellis. I’m waiting for my turn to be patched into the conference call. I dialed in a few minutes early to listen in on any tidbit that Bret Easton Ellis might have to report. I had often seen Bret at Soho House in Los Angeles. He never spoke, I never heard his voice, only saw the man in a blue hoodie sneak out. He was my favorite ghost. Bret also never ate. Never. I would have noticed. My Bret obsession began when American Psycho came out. I imagined at night (and during the day) how he might talk. I hoped for a father-like voice. Not so much: Bret rushes through his sentences in a medium to high soprano. He speaks fast, so fast that three thoughts fit into ten Bret Easton seconds. He drops sentences that would take a century to clarify, but sound all kinds of great on Twitter. If Truman Capote were still alive today, he would burst with jealousy like Rumpelstilzchen. Now Bret is wrapping up the interview before it’s my turn with the words, “Sorry, I don’t have a definition on hand of what perversion means today.” And now we’ve moved on to the topic of sunglasses—to loosen up a conversation that had ended with the topic of perversion. And that’s Bret Easton Ellis in a nutshell. Or as an elevator pitch if you had to pitch him as a company. We get started. I ask him about big, fat glasses: Only if the face looks chiseled, says Brett. Once you turn 51, large sunglasses are a no go, and the years before 51 are the hardest of your life, he elaborates. Your “forties are a nightmare, whether you’re a man or a woman.” During this time, people have an internal clock that loses its balance, but all that ends in your fifties, which, by the way, is also the case with dogs. Bret’s voice dashes out of my iPhone and I get dizzy. Theoretically, I could spend an hour on just that one bit of information on sunglasses. This is how I always imagined Brett: A mental overload that you so desperately need.

Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.