"The Kite Runner" author Khaled Hosseini is commending the delayed release of the film adaptation of his novel over fears for the actors' safety.

Movie distributor Paramount Vantage delayed the debut for six weeks, until Dec. 14, after three of its adolescent male stars said they could be targeted for their participation in a homosexual rape scene. The studio — the art-house label of Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures — is moving the boys and their families from socially conservative Afghanistan, possibly until next spring.

"I applaud the studio for delaying the release of the film even though it goes against whatever commercial wisdom there is," the 43-year-old San Jose resident said Monday at a media event in San Francisco.

"Afghanistan has become a pretty violent place within the last year," said the Kabul native, who immigrated to San Jose in 1980. "If the boys and their families think there is a reasonable risk of threat to them, then you have to take all of the steps that you can to make sure they are OK."

The scene in which the 12-year-old protagonist witnesses the brutalization of his friend — but does nothing to stop it — is one minute of a two-hour film and two pages of a 380-page novel. It plays on ethnic tensions that pervade the book, pitting an upper-class Pashtun bully against a lower-class ethnic Hazara boy.

Hosseini defended keeping the scene in the film as a pivotal moment of character development.

"Without that moment, the tower of cards really falls apart," he said.