Friday, June 25, 2010

Having Your Book Come to Life on the BIG Screen...

Every writer dreams in movies. Well, I don't know about you but I do. All my story ideas come to me as if they've been filmed on location wherever they're set. I scout out locations to make sure my story is being set in the right place. As the puzzle writer, I write my scenes out of order as I see them play out in my head. I back up and reshoot scenes in my head as I'm writing to get things right.

As a novelist, I dream of one day having one of my books turned into a movie. But not all books are meant to be movies and not all books turn out the same when they're made into a movie. That's what I'd like to explore a little here.

With so much attention on the Twilight and Harry Potter craze, I hear people saying things like, "The book was so much better" or "I can't believe they changed my favorite character in the movie. He was so cool in the book." When I saw Lord of the Rings (A trilogy that I loved!) there'd been enough years (read many) since I'd read the story that a lot of the detail had become a blur to me. I wasn't upset by absences in the movie or changes that were made. But I sure heard some noise from others who were disappointed.

Think of a book that you've read that has been made into a movie. I'm thinking of The Horse Whisperer. Fantastic book and fantastic movie in my opinion. I won't give out any spoilers here, except to say that I thought the ending in the movie, which was different from the ending in the book, was much more satisfying.

That was a small change. What about a story with a big change. Meg Cabot spoke at the RWA Conference a few years back and talked about how when she wrote The Princess Diaries the dad has a large role in the story and the grandmother was very minor. Since the studio wanted Julie Andrews to play role of the grandmother, they needed to make her part bigger so they wanted to make the dad go away by having him die before the movie starts. Great fix. Get rid of dad. Swap lines. Julie's got a bigger part. I'll admit I didn't read the book. I only saw the movie. But my daughter read the book and although she enjoyed the movie, she thought it makes for a much different story with the dad being the one to guide Mia to throne.

Think of the books you've read that have been turned into movies. Which movies stayed true to the book and which ones differed greatly from the original story? Tell me about them and why you liked or disliked them.

Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello


Sandra Robbins said...

In the 60s Truman Capote wrote the best seller In Cold Blood which was a true crime story about the murder of a Kansas family. When it was made into a movie, he insisted that the story had to be just like the book. I've read the book and still see reruns of the movie on TV. It is the only one I've ever seen that didn't deviate from the book at all.

Sandra Robbins

Kaye Dacus said...

Jane Austen novel adaptations to film can be hit-or-miss for me (more often miss than hit, with a few shining examples).

A movie that really sticks out for me in which a major change was made to characters/storyline was Michael Crichton's Timeline. I saw the movie first and loved it (after all, who wouldn't love Gerard Butler in his Scottish-accented glory) because of the romantic storyline between Andre Merrick and Lady Clare (no coincidence that Anna Friel became the template for the heroine of my historical series). So I was excited to read the book and get more depth into their characters and the romance between them.

Only . . . it isn't in the book. Talk about disappointed! This is one instance in which I much prefer the movie to the book.

Lisa Mondello said...

Kaye, I totally agree about Gerard Butler. Easy on the eyes and has an amazing voice. Of course, I'm talking about his performance in Phantom of the Opera. Loved that.

Sandra I'm going to have to check out Cold Blood. I love great murder mysteries and true crime. Some of the older movies really rocked because they didn't rely on special effects to make them. It was just great story, great acting and characterization.