James Van Der Beek: Henry McGee/Globe Photos
October 09, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

‘RULES’ OF THE GAME Most screenwriters grovel to get their scripts made, but not Roger Avary, who wrote and directed 1994’s ”Killing Zoe.” After winning an Oscar for cowriting ”Pulp Fiction,” Avary was inundated with job offers, and ”like any other sensible person, I cashed in,” says the busy script doctor. Frustrated by studios that ”wanted the same thing over and over and over again, something boiled up in me and I became furious. I had to write something that was impossible to make, and put it away.” But after producer and friend Greg Shapiro (”Affliction”) — who knew about Avary’s penchant for shelving his own scripts?demanded to see the writer’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ 1987 novel ”The Rules of Attraction,” a nonlinear story about spoiled college kids, he brought it to Lions Gate, which agreed to finance the $5 million drama. ”Rules,” which will star ”Dawson’s Creek”’s James Van Der Beek as a debauched, rich student, is ”aggressive, abstract, and extreme,” says Avary, who’s nearing the end of filming. On the other hand, he continues, ”When we first turned in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ everyone said, ‘This is a piece of s—.”’

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