'Running with Scissors': Cut from whole cloth?

Whom to believe?

Augusten Burroughs, who hilariously recounted a childhood full of abuse and insanity at the hands of his foster family in his disturbing, best-selling memoir Running with Scissors? Or the family, which has alleged for three years that Burroughs defamed them, and which has now filed a lawsuit to that effect?

I don’t know who’s right, and Burroughs and his publisher have declined to comment, but I do know that, with the movie version coming out next year, any distortions will only increase. It’s natural for movies to condense events to fit a theatrical running time or create a conventional dramatic arc.

If casting is any indication, writer-director Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck) has already made some obvious changes between the book and movie. Annette Bening has taken the role of Burroughs’ unglued mom; Gwyneth Paltrow plays the optimistic Hope, and Vanessa Redgrave pops up as the live-in mental patient Joranne. But unless the slim Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen) wears a fat suit, there’s no way anyone would picture her as Natalie, the doctor’s morbidly obese daughter.

What do you think? Did you love the book? Are you looking forward to the film?

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Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • Kent in Kentucky

    I actually just finished the book last night. Joranne in the book is a very minor character (just a few pages), and both his mother and Natalie are overweight. I do have faith in Ryan Murphy, though, that he will do the book justice, and that is has the same cyncical yet humorous approach. I also look forward to seeing what Joseph Fiennes does as the Bookman character. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • mike

    The book was amazing and wish it never ended. The casting maybe problematic. I already have a picture in my mind of all the characters and scenerios and really don’t want that distorted. But, in the end, curiosity will make me see it. I am looking more forward to Burroughs next book. Athough, I do love Nip/tuck so who knows.

  • mike

    The book was amazing and wish it never ended. The casting maybe problematic. I already have a picture in my mind of all the characthers and scenarios and really don’t want that distorted. But, in the end, curiostity will make me see it. I am looking more forward to Burroughs next book. Athough, I do love Nip/tuck so who knows.

  • Dave

    Evan Rachel Wood is probably the worst casting decision of the bunch. I’m willing to give all of the others a chance but there really isn’t a way that Wood can play Natalie while staying true to the book. They made a mistake there. Besides, Wood isn’t a very good actress to begin with.

  • Amy

    I absolutely loved this book! I was excited to hear that they are making a movie out of it, although in my opinion, the movie can never really be quite as good, even with clever screenwriting. We all have the characters pictured in our minds, and any casting decision, regardless of the quality of the actor will be questioned. I do think the casting sounds brilliant though, and I disagree about Evan Rachel Wood. She may not be overweight enough to portray the daughter physically, but she is a fabulous actress. (How about Thirteen??!)

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