Just because its an awesome book, does it mean it should be a movie?

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Maskins

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Jun 16, 2015
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Ok, so this is a very general topic but I am interested in opinions on this one, and I am of course thinking of a certain set of books that are going through development hell at the moment.

My question is, should authors allow certain books to be optioned for film if that isn't a good medium to tell the stories? I love the Dark Tower series - I've read them to pieces and I have even managed to get my friends (some of whom hadn't read a book since high school) to read and share in the love.

Here is my two cents - the DT books just won't work as movies (in my honest opinion), at least in any straightforward adaptation. Each book represents SK at a different time in his career and they hop across space and time all over the shop. This makes for an amazing read but would it make for a great film? There are some concepts that are just going to be very hard to get right in a medium like film (like, how the heck would you visualise the Drawing of the Three?). Even forgetting that, films run for three hours tops and have to have a beginning, middle and end. I would argue you could do it as a TV show, and it would work but let's face it, that is a big committment and the source material is 'out there' for the mass market.

I feel that the compromises any filmaker would have to make to 1) get the budget necessary, 2) fit it into the window of a movie 3) market it to the general public would diminish the original story. If it failed as well, it might taint the books for new readers. Should authors retain more rights over their work in terms of film adaptations? I know there are legal and rights issues but I mean generally?
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
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Not at all. In fact (and I might be crucified for this), I don't think many of Mr. King's stories are suitable for movies, though there are certainly a sh**ton of them around. Most of his stories are driven by inner monologue, which doesn't translate well to the screen (and explains why most of the movies are schlocky).

An author of Mr. King's stature likely holds a lot of sway over movie rights (Moderator would know more about that than I do), but not all authors have his clout. A 'little guy' might not have much say at all--it all depends upon the way his or her books are contracted. Having said that, there can be a lot of money involved, and I imagine maybe a bit of pride to see one's work translated to the screen.

I kind of like Grisham's answer when he was asked about movie adaptations (I think it was during Rice's hissy fit over the awful casting for Interview With the Vampire): he said something like, once the rights are sold, it isn't his anymore and he doesn't worry about it. The movie doesn't change what he wrote--that will always be in the book for anyone who cares to read it. Good attitude, I think.
 

Maskins

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Jun 16, 2015
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Not at all. In fact (and I might be crucified for this), I don't think many of Mr. King's stories are suitable for movies, though there are certainly a sh**ton of them around. Most of his stories are driven by inner monologue, which doesn't translate well to the screen (and explains why most of the movies are schlocky).

An author of Mr. King's stature likely holds a lot of sway over movie rights (Moderator would know more about that than I do), but not all authors have his clout. A 'little guy' might not have much say at all--it all depends upon the way his or her books are contracted. Having said that, there can be a lot of money involved, and I imagine maybe a bit of pride to see one's work translated to the screen.

I kind of like Grisham's answer when he was asked about movie adaptations (I think it was during Rice's hissy fit over the awful casting for Interview With the Vampire): he said something like, once the rights are sold, it isn't his anymore and he doesn't worry about it. The movie doesn't change what he wrote--that will always be in the book for anyone who cares to read it. Good attitude, I think.

Oh no, I quite agree. There are a lot of poor adaptations out there and I think you are right, most of Mr. King's work are inner monologue which is hard to depict on screen which means a lot of characters come off as one dimensional (whereas in the book, you understand their motivations and back stories). Also some scenes just don't look right - Dreamcatcher comes to mind. I know those I watched it with found the whole psychic conversation laughable because they hadn't read the book (I kinda liked it though).

I think rights are an issue and once you lose them, anyone can do whatever they want. I know in some interviews that Mr. King also likes to see some of the adaptations. It works both ways though - I think to most people, Kubrick's Shining has become the definitive version as opposed to the novel (which is a shame because I think the book is superior) and he is not a fan.
 

Moderator

Ms. Mod
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Not at all. In fact (and I might be crucified for this), I don't think many of Mr. King's stories are suitable for movies, though there are certainly a sh**ton of them around. Most of his stories are driven by inner monologue, which doesn't translate well to the screen (and explains why most of the movies are schlocky).

An author of Mr. King's stature likely holds a lot of sway over movie rights (Moderator would know more about that than I do), but not all authors have his clout. A 'little guy' might not have much say at all--it all depends upon the way his or her books are contracted. Having said that, there can be a lot of money involved, and I imagine maybe a bit of pride to see one's work translated to the screen.

I kind of like Grisham's answer when he was asked about movie adaptations (I think it was during Rice's hissy fit over the awful casting for Interview With the Vampire): he said something like, once the rights are sold, it isn't his anymore and he doesn't worry about it. The movie doesn't change what he wrote--that will always be in the book for anyone who cares to read it. Good attitude, I think.
Steve shares that view as well although some projects do have more meaning for him and those are the ones he asks for more artistic control. Even then, though, he's realistic enough about the film process to know there are some things he may have to make concessions for.
 

PatInTheHat

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Dec 19, 2007
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Hmm, well I dunno, but I reckon it beats the snot out of all the crappy books out there that have been made into visual vomit.
Plus, as unfortunate as it is, and as any reader well knows, far too many supposidly intelligent human beings, they don't read.
So should they be deprived of a kickass story, however it turns out on screen, is what I'm askin', you know, maybe as a sort of punishment for not pickin' up a book?
(hey it's okey dokey with me if the answer is yes, I mean I'm always lookin' for new and inventive ways to punish people, consider it like a hobby;-) )
 

skimom2

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Oct 9, 2013
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Steve shares that view as well although some projects do have more meaning for him and those are the ones he asks for more artistic control. Even then, though, he's realistic enough about the film process to know there are some things he may have to make concessions for.
Absolutely. And there are, of course, movie adaptations that have been outstanding: The Green Mile, Shawshank, Stand By Me, Misery. DePalma's Carrie was well done, too, and The Mist (aside from the ending--lol). Those screenwriters/directors 'get' Mr. King's sensibility, and have the talent to make the internal visual.
 

bobledrew

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May 13, 2010
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One of the difficulties with films as opposed to books is that by its very nature film "fixes" the image of characters and scenes in our heads. If you watch Kubrick's "The Shining", then Jack Nicholson is Jack Torrance. If you read the book, Jack Torrance may have a receding hairline or not, may have a baritone voice or a tenor... It's like the experiment in On Writing (page 105 in the hardback) where SK asks us to visualize a table covered with a red cloth. When a book is written, the writer gives us the detail he or she thinks we need and lets us imagine the rest. A film gives us all of that detail we'd otherwise imagine.

I think it's hard if not impossible to compare a book and a movie and try to say which is superior or inferior. Might as well compare Jimi Hendrix to Caravaggio. They're just to different. Where they meet up is the basic story, but everything has to be done differently after that. The best that can be hoped for is that the filmmakers recognize the best, most important parts of the story and find ways to portray them fairly. It's a bit easier when the stories are small, which is part of the reason that works like "The Body" or "Misery" were translated into film with great effect. And, of course, there are plain and simple hacks and exploiters out there, like the clowns that made Lawnmower Man.

I think the business is such that there will be talks about almost anything that SK publishes. He's a "brand", and people see that as a resource to exploit. And once there's a contract between a writer and a studio, almost anything can happen. For example, look at this nastiness between Tess Gerritsen and Warner Brothers.
 

Maskins

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Jun 16, 2015
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Absolutely. And there are, of course, movie adaptations that have been outstanding: The Green Mile, Shawshank, Stand By Me, Misery. DePalma's Carrie was well done, too, and The Mist (aside from the ending--lol). Those screenwriters/directors 'get' Mr. King's sensibility, and have the talent to make the internal visual.
I agree with all your examples (though, I really loved the ending of the Mist - not sure what that says about me!). I would also argue that those books are, on the whole, shorter and linear. I remember thinking when I read the Mist, wow this would make a good movie if handled right.

I would definitley argue that any film adaptation of the book needs a creative force that understands the themes and emotions at play in the story and translates those over following all plot points.
 

carrie's younger brother

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Mar 8, 2012
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NJ

"Just because its an awesome book, does it mean it should be a movie?"

No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!


Nope. xD
 

skimom2

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I agree with all your examples (though, I really loved the ending of the Mist - not sure what that says about me!). I would also argue that those books are, on the whole, shorter and linear. I remember thinking when I read the Mist, wow this would make a good movie if handled right.

I would definitley argue that any film adaptation of the book needs a creative force that understands the themes and emotions at play in the story and translates those over following all plot points.

I was spoofing on a common dispute here: "Was the movie ending of The Mist better than the story ending?" People have strong feelings on both sides :) I'm a "story ending is better" kind of gal, but there are definitely people who don't agree-lol.
 

danie

I am whatever you say I am.
Feb 26, 2008
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I'm of the view that Just Because It's an Awesome Book, Means it Shouldn't be Made into a Movie.
I, with most of you, love the movies The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery. But when I reread the books, the film's actors and images have now taken the place of any imaginings I had when I first read the story. :(
Even if they end up producing a film of DT, I've decided not to watch it. The books mean too much to me to replace those mental images with something someone else comes up with.
 

Aloysius Nell

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Apr 1, 2014
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I'm of the view that Just Because It's an Awesome Book, Means it Shouldn't be Made into a Movie.
I, with most of you, love the movies The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery. But when I reread the books, the film's actors and images have now taken the place of any imaginings I had when I first read the story. :(
Even if they end up producing a film of DT, I've decided not to watch it. The books mean too much to me to replace those mental images with something someone else comes up with.

Huh...I've found that doesn't happen as long as I've read it first. I can enjoy the movie (or, maybe not) and when it's over, the mental images go right back to mine own.
 

Aloysius Nell

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I often put a book's setting into a real-life experience, though, and no amount of authorial description can change that once it's set! For example, Misery takes place in my grandparents' house, while Frannie Goldsmith lived in my aunt and uncle's house. Never mind that they live in a ranch-style house; when Fran has to drag her dad downstairs, I just take it on faith that it happened that way, 'cause there ain't no stairs!
 

do1you9love?

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"Just because its an awesome book, does it mean it should be a movie?"

No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!


Nope. xD
So, CYB, is that your final answer?:rofl:

I am usually able to take a book and a movie and keep them separate in my mind as two artistic visions. The movie is not the book and usually written/adapted by someone other than the author of the book. It's an interpretation of the original and can be enjoyed or not on it's own.

That being said, I do prefer to read the book first before watching a movie. Not a big deal if I can't for some reason but based on the movie, I may choose not to read the book.
 

Ashcrash

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Jun 10, 2015
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Wutsittoyu
Steve shares that view as well although some projects do have more meaning for him and those are the ones he asks for more artistic control. Even then, though, he's realistic enough about the film process to know there are some things he may have to make concessions for.


I think I read or saw somewhere Stephen king answering the Question "Didn't that movie ruin your book." His response was "No. The book is still right there and able to be read." But in that sense what about Lord of the Rings. I have never read the books and would have never even known of the existence if not for the movie. I have not read the dark towers so I will not pretend to know the complexity of the literature. But it may be one of those things that will never be satisfying to the fans of the book but might be epic to people just seeing the movie. I don't know my opinion is bias because I saw IT first as a child then read the book. But I also saw the ABC version of the shining as a kid Then read the book as an adult and saw the Kubrick version as an adult. The shinning series on ABC was epic to me. and the book was even more epic. Then when I saw the original movie I thought "daaaaaaaaaaaaaaam that was dumb lol"
 

Ashcrash

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Jun 10, 2015
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Wutsittoyu
I think I read or saw somewhere Stephen king answering the Question "Didn't that movie ruin your book." His response was "No. The book is still right there and able to be read." But in that sense what about Lord of the Rings. I have never read the books and would have never even known of the existence if not for the movie. I have not read the dark towers so I will not pretend to know the complexity of the literature. But it may be one of those things that will never be satisfying to the fans of the book but might be epic to people just seeing the movie. I don't know my opinion is bias because I saw IT first as a child then read the book. But I also saw the ABC version of the shining as a kid Then read the book as an adult and saw the Kubrick version as an adult. The shinning series on ABC was epic to me. and the book was even more epic. Then when I saw the original movie I thought "daaaaaaaaaaaaaaam that was dumb lol"

In the ABC version I felt sorry for the dad. I don't know if that was the point or if I am off but I wanted that basstaad to make it out as bad is I wanted the wife and kid too. That may make me sound like a loony but I was a kid so whatever. I thought he had been a good guy being tricked into being bad by the mean monster ghosts. I felt like danny knew that too. I have refused to watch the ABC movie as an adult because I dont know if it will ruin the magic. I made that decision after watching the kubrick version and feeling nothing but time wasting. I could be way off base.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
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"Just because its an awesome book, does it mean it should be a movie?"

No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!


Nope. xD
...so we'll put you down as an affirmative vote than shall we?....
 

Ashcrash

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Jun 10, 2015
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Wutsittoyu
Oh no, I quite agree. There are a lot of poor adaptations out there and I think you are right, most of Mr. King's work are inner monologue which is hard to depict on screen which means a lot of characters come off as one dimensional (whereas in the book, you understand their motivations and back stories). Also some scenes just don't look right - Dreamcatcher comes to mind. I know those I watched it with found the whole psychic conversation laughable because they hadn't read the book (I kinda liked it though).

I think rights are an issue and once you lose them, anyone can do whatever they want. I know in some interviews that Mr. King also likes to see some of the adaptations. It works both ways though - I think to most people, Kubrick's Shining has become the definitive version as opposed to the novel (which is a shame because I think the book is superior) and he is not a fan.


Oh sweet Dreamcatcher. The book I will never admit scared me as an adult. It made me all jumpy. I just got so into it that if a peice of fuzz rolled across the floor I would jump thinking it was a spider. Although I could not say that about the movie I still did enjoy it.
 
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