The Author Knows Best: Book-to-Movie Adaptations

I’m not a purist like some readers when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations. I believe it’s okay to change certain elements, or cut out scenes if the time constraints don’t allow for them.

However, Hollywood has a bad habit of fixing things that aren’t broken.

They make badass characters completely pointless (Annabeth in the Percy Jackson films), they remove all humor from a story that is supposed to be a comedy ( Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie), or they just straight up give the story an icepick lobotomy (Cat in the Hat).

The main reasons movies like these fail is because those behind the movie don’t care about what made the original source material great in the first place. They just want to cash in on the book’s success.

As a result, a lot of these movies make a bit of money, then vanish into the ether, never to be watched or spoken of again.

The best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve seen are usually the ones where the author has had at least some influence on the production.

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Without J.K. Rowling’s input as a consultant, Alan Rickman wouldn’t have known how to approach the character of Professor Snape and the twist that Lily was actually the love of his life would have come completely out of left-field.

Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay for Gone Girl and, as a result, it was able to successfully juggle the action, intrigue, and social commentary of the book. If this had been written by someone other than the writer, this would have likely been a train-wreck, or a dime-a-dozen thriller rather than a brilliant commentary about the media and modern relationships.

Especially since Hollywood doesn’t seem to know how to write social commentary anymore.

The Fault in Our Stars was also a brilliant adaptation that captured the humor and heartbreak of the book. John Green was a strongly involved in the making of the movie and, of course, it became a big hit unlike many  YA novels that are made into film (excluding Hunger Games and Harry Potter, obviously). I believe this mostly had to do with the cast and crew’s willingness to listen to Green’s input instead of interjecting an unnecessary love triangle or “hip lingo.”

If the filmmakers haven’t bothered to read the book they should, at the very least, have an understanding of why these stories resonate so strongly with readers, and respect authors as fellow artists rather than brushing them off.

Authors may not be able to write a screenplay of their work, but they do understand the material. They spent months, maybe even years, with these characters and settings.

They’ve had to kill their darlings before so they understand that some things have to be changed for a visual medium. However, their input could prevent something important from being chucked in the bin.

Some writers may not be well acquainted with the world of cinema, but that doesn’t mean their views should be discounted. After all, they were able to make thousands, or even millions, of dollars without A-list actors, exotic sets, or fancy cinematography.

Think about that for a second.

Also, stop making movies about nonfiction self-help books.

Just…..stop.

Matchmaking Literary Characters

WARNING: Contains spoilers and crack ships.

If you are a fan of any type of fiction, you may have engaged in what is known as “shipping.”

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I’ve been exposed to many ships and it’s made me experimental when it comes to the exploring the dynamics of compatibility.

For fun, I decided to pair up characters from a variety of different books and see who made the most interesting couple. These are what crack ships are made of, but if you keep an open mind, perhaps you’ll see where I’m coming from

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1. Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow 

Tragically, they never met. But I have a feeling if they did, there would be a spark. We know  Jon Snow digs powerful women and Daenerys is a kickass queen with dragons, an army, and a no-nonsense attitude.

Jon may be less brash than Drogo, but he is more than capable of holding his own in battle. He’s also, like Dany, an excellent leader who isn’t afraid to stand by his convictions, even though they could get him killed.

In fact, these two have quite a bit in common. Both have a strong moral center that makes them seem like pushovers to those that don’t know them better. Both struggle with forming their own identity outside of what their parents did/who they are. And both make dire mistakes on their way to meeting their goal.

I think if he got to know Daenerys, Jon would consider her the best person to rule the Seven Kingdoms and Daenerys would enjoy having him fight for her side (if she’d be able to convince him to give up being a Man of the Night’s Watch, which is debatable).

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2. Rhett Butler and Elizabeth Bennet 

Personally, I think Rhett would find Elizabeth handsome enough to tempt him.

At their core, both are nonconformists who refuse to conduct themselves in a way that society dictates. Both are intelligent, enjoy dancing, and have a mischievous nature about them.

Rhett is slightly more worldly than Lizzie, but she is his equal in about every other respect. Like Scarlet O’Hara, Rhett’s estranged wife, Lizzie is exceptionally strong-willed (occasionally at her own expense). Moreover, she could win a battle of wits with anyone she chooses and is not willing to demur to anyone. I’m willing to bet Rhett would enjoy the challenge of crossing mental swords with her.

Lizzie would be interested to hear all about Rhett’s checkered past. While she might be unnerved by some details, I believe that she would be a sympathetic ear.

Put together they would likely mortify everyone in their respective time periods with their sassiness.

Mrs. Bennet’s poor nerves.

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3. Sherlock Holmes and Amy Dunne

One is a highly functioning sociopath while the other is just plain psycho.

Imagine what Gone Girl would have been like with a Sherlockian twist. While Sherlock would likely outwit Amy in the end, he would be impressed by how methodical and patient she was in executing her revenge plot. Not to mention how easily she was able to play with society’s expectations and use media bias to work in her favor.

I think Amy would take immense pleasure in appealing to Sherlock’s darker nature and laughing with him about how moronic the rest of society is.

I can’t stop wishing I could see these two geniuses go toe-to-toe with one another, one constantly trying to outsmart the other.

This would potentially be the most toxic relationship in the history of the literary world, but, damn, if it wouldn’t be interesting to watch.

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4. Dorian Gray and James Moriarty 

Imagine how much darker The Picture of Dorian Gray could have gotten if  Dorian had befriended Moriarty instead of Lord Henry.

Dorian would respect Moriarty as a worldly and ingenious gentleman, and Moriarty would revel in having a young, naive Dorian to mold into a despicable villain.

While Dorian was out wooing some diplomat (or his wife), Moriarty would be working behind the scenes to tear down the British government’s infrastructure brick by brick. Blackmail, theft, murder, who knows how much havoc they could wreak?

With Dorian’s looks and Moriarty’s brains, they could have London on its knees in a matter of months.

Can you think of any book characters that would make a good couple? Let me know!