Back again! This time I am Excited because I get to start it. Hey, it doesn’t take a hang of a lot to make my day.
As if that wasn’t enough, this is the eleventy-first post on this blog. Wow.
This was the prompt: “What are your thoughts on book-to-movie adaptions? Would you one day want your book made into a movie, or probably not?” Actually, now I notice it, it’s prompts, plural. That’s two questions in there, John.
Answering the second question first: When Obi-Wan Kenobi turns to the Dark Side, yes. Because that will never happen, but if it did, then my writing life would be over and I would not care. To extend. Making a film of my current book would involve the cooperation of a couple of the greatest actors in the world, and a few of the best behind-the-scenes men. It would not be possible to do it well, so, like C.S. Lewis – excuse the hubris – I would prefer that it not be done at all.
Making a film of the book I currently have in the early planning would be slightly easier, but I would want to take an active part in the production of the film, and I would be damn picky. Furthermore, IWM would object. Hugely. So… no. No, I would not want my book, current or future, and certainly not past, made into a movie.
Answering the first question second: If they’re good, they’re brilliant. If they’re bad, they’re beyond disgusting. The best, the absolute best, are The Help and Schindler’s List. Perfect. Flawless. The book calls into memory the film, and vice versa, and most of the script is drawn straight from the novel. This is as it should be: if you are making a film of a book, for Force sake make the film of the book and do not tell me it is ‘based on’ when a retarded youngling can see it is not. Even telling me it is ‘inspired by’ is better than ‘based on’ in those cases.
Runners-up are the Clancy movies, Clear and Present Danger and The Hunt For Red October. These are okay, because they stick to the story. Obviously they have to leave out some of the finer details of the plot, but that’s okay, the books are brick-sized and pretty complex. Casting is everything in cases like this. And damn, Mindy Marin is a genius there.
The worst? Cheaper By The Dozen, no contest. Only two things remain from the shriekingly funny memoir by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. The number of kids, and the title. That’s it. The year changes. (The millennium changes!) The father’s occupation – which was the funnier half of the story anyway – changes. The surname changes. This is not a film based on a book. This is a film blatantly stealing the fanbase of an incredible, wonderful, brilliant book under false pretenses. And to add insult to injury, Steve Martin and his cronies made a sequel. A sequel! Force!
In general? Film-makers everywhere, don’t. Just… don’t. Especially if we loved the book. Unless the movie is somewhere between perfect and better, we will hate the movie, and the kids like me will literally fill pages with discrepancies and mail them to the director. I have done this. I will probably have to do this again. I hate bad adaptations. I even hate mediocre ones. Unless it’s truly fantastic, don’t show it to me because I don’t care. I haven’t even seen the Lord of the Rings because I don’t think Elijah Wood looks enough like Frodo.
Books are books. Movies are movies. If you can’t be bothered to read the book, that’s fine. Go the rest of your life without knowing that wonderful story, don’t wait for someone to do the dirty work for you. When you read a book, you direct the movie that plays in the mind palace. You control what the characters look like, how they talk, how sweet that kiss at the church door really was, and which piece of Wagner, Beethoven, or Orff would best complement that incredible fight scene.
When I am reading a book, I rule. Nobody can take that from me. Except perhaps a bad movie director. Even that is only if I let him. You do not get into the mind palace without my permission. You do not kriff up my favorite stories without my permission. You sure as Anakin’s a fool do not play games with my favorite characters without my permission.
And it will be a cold day on Mustafar before I give it to you.
PS: I suspect the others on the chain will be saner. Wanna check? At the time of writing, John hasn’t put the whole schedule up yet, so… I’ll write it out from the comments off the sign-up post.
June 6: Emily.
June 7: spreaderofawesomeness.
June 8: mattblack42.
June 9: Liam the Head Phil.
June 10: maralaurey.
June 11: Charley R.
June 12: Tara Therese.
June 13: TheUnsimpleMind.
June 14: Christina.
June 15: nevillegirl.
June 16: A. R. Files.
June 17: magicandwriting583.
June 18: orphu44.
June 19: Brooke Harrison.
June 20: Miriam Joy.
June 21: anqiyu.
June 22: unikkelyfe.
June 23: Miss Alexandrina.
June 24: Ana.
June 25: ErinKenobi2893.
June 26: Anah.
June 27: That seems to be all, so presumably we’ll be back to John Hansen.