Reading with ‘Scissors’

<I>Variety</I> screens thesp's latest

HOLLYWOOD — At Thursday’s Variety screening of “Running With Scissors,” helmer-scribe Ryan Murphy and pic’s Annette Bening dished on the challenges of bringing the memoir to the bigscreen.

“I used to be a journalist,” Murphy said. “So after I bought the book, I interviewed Augusten Burroughs for months. I sent him chunks of pages and he would send them back with lines crossed out saying, ‘My mother would never use this adverb.’ ”

“But when I showed him the movie, he cried. He was moved.”

Bening plays Deirdre, Burroughs’ manic mother, in the pic. “She is difficult to like. But the most important job of the actor is to love your character. You have to fight for them,” Bening said. “It’s a great privilege to see behind someone else’s eyes. To see how that person sees the world.”

In addition to his twisted mother, the film is littered with kooky characters from Burroughs’ past, including his mother’s therapist and his off-the-wall family, played by Brian Cox, Gwyneth Paltrow and Evan Rachel Wood.

“I drew up a dream cast and they all said yes in the first meeting,” Murphy said. “To play crazy people who don’t think they are crazy must have a great appeal.”

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