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“It was deliberately written to be a Shih Tzu,” Martin McDonagh said Wednesday night as he worked the press line at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas before a screening of his latest film, “Seven Psychopaths.”

The plot centers on the increasingly violent fallout of a dognapping, and WWD was curious if the playwright-turned-director, who is known both for his breakneck dialogue and predilection for mayhem, had settled on the breed for its poetic possibilities.

This story first appeared in the October 12, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I love the image of a Shih Tzu,” he laughed. “But, no, I’m an antipun kind of guy.”

The movie’s marketers didn’t practice such restraint. A poster on an easel over McDonagh’s shoulder displayed a particularly egregious example.

“Not me,” McDonagh said with a smile. “CBS. Not me. There’s one joke in the film that does play on that. If you’ve seen it, it only happens once. Everything else. The advertising, everything else, is not mine.”

A few of the film’s stars, including Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, followed their director down the line ahead of the Cinema Society- and Hugo Boss-sponsored screening. Both rushed by the press line. Abbie Cornish, who has a small role as a put-upon girlfriend, said that she had wanted to work with McDonagh since she read the screenplay for his directorial debut, “In Bruges.” Dressed in a floral-print-accented Roland Mouret dress, Cornish didn’t seem particularly given to any psychosis herself.

“No,” she smiled. “I’m pretty chill.”

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