Monday, May 21, 2012

Only Colin Firth Can Be Mr. Darcy

When I’m reading a book, I get a very distinct picture of the characters in my mind. Sometimes a certain actor or actress will seem like the perfect fit. Often, the images are just a blend of traits (hair, build, voice, etc.)

When a book is translated to the big screen, I’m often worried that the actors won’t do justice to the roles. I’ve been pleasantly surprised (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hunger Games, Pride and Prejudice [BBC version] with Colin Firth). Other times, I think the casting director was on drugs (One for the Money).
I’m trying something different with the book I’m currently writing; a technique an author recommended. I’ve selected photos of actors who resemble my book’s characters (or how I see them in my mind’s eye). I keep these photos next to my computer so that I can visualize Arlie and her best friend, Mo; Arlie's love interest, Cody; and Arlie's Uncle Frank.

This book is YA contemporary. Working title: Sensing You. More details later as the story progresses. For now, I’ll leave you with these pics of my main characters.

  • Arlie (actress Hanna Mangan Lawrence)
  • Mo/Maureen (actress Chloe Moritz)
  • Cody (actor Cord Overstreet)
  • Frank (a cross between actor Zac Galifianakis and a family friend, Frank Baxter)

Have you been pleasantly surprised or horrified by a book to film translation? Do share!


  1. Horrified on every level with "Water for Elephants." Not only did they leave a major character out of the movie, the actors chosen we so far removed from what I'd envisioned, I found it unwatchable. Great book, very marginal movie.

  2. I tried to watch "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," I really did. I couldn't make it past 15 minutes -- it's one of my favorite books and seeing it in movie form is just all sorts of wrong.

  3. Having read some of your pages, I LOVE your casting choices!

    Not so much? Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Sorry, but I just saw this as another one of Ted's Excellent Adventures... with fangs.

  4. I think they did okay with The Hunger Games, although the book was far more gripping. I thought the casting in The girl with the dragon tattoo was spot on.

  5. The worst book-to-film I've seen lately was Janet Evanovich's One for the Money. Especially the casting of Debbie Reynolds. What a mistake!

    I like your blog; I'm adding it to my blogroll.

  6. Pleasantly surprised by "The Secret Life of Bees". I LOVE LOVE LOVED the book! I couldn't say enough good things about it. I even got my 28 year old daughter to read it and love it!! Then I saw the movie, thinking that it would not be as good as the book. (The movies usually aren't.) But I was pleasantly surprised that it was a good version of the book... They seemed to follow the story line well, and the characters did (mostly) what I had visualized in my mind's eye.

    In my opinion, a book does just that for me. It enables me to come up with my own concept of what the house - person - office - landscape - anything, can look like. And when it's put on the screen, it narrows my imagination to what the screenwriter/producer/director has visualized. Sometimes good, sometimes not. But "The Secret Life of Bees" was one that was mostly good.