Thurber Defends Mysteries Changes

Rawson Marshall Thurber, the director behind the up-coming screen adaptation of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, defended changes he made in the story in a new interview with The Advocate.

“My real goal was to make a film that felt like the novel did to me, and I think I’ve done that,” he said.

Thurber took significant liberties with the book, eliminating the character of Arthur, making Cleveland bisexual and romantically linked to the main character, Art, and cutting the role of Phlox to that of a minor character. Online, many fans of the book have bashed the changes, and anti-Mysteries MySpace pages are easy to find. But Thurber says he made the changes with Michael Chabon’s blessing.

“I knew what I wanted to do, and I told him, ‘I’ve got a pretty radical take on it, and if you’re at all interested, let me do a five-or six-page treatment. If you’re interested in that, let’s go do it, and if you’re not, please say so, and I’m a big fan and I can’t wait to read the next thing,'” Thurber said. “I wrote it up and sent if off, and I never thought he would say yes, actually, but then he read it and he sent me an e-mail back saying, ‘It’s great — let’s do it.'”

For more, check out the interview. Mysteries of Pittsburgh premiers at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 20.

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