I am getting inspiration for posts in so many places. God bless you all for helping me out…HA! The inspiration for this post came from All Souls Trilogy Discussion on Facebook. There is a thread were we are discussing movies that Hollywood buys the rights to and makes into movies. I believe that when you take a book to make into a movie you have an ethical obligation to take the story and convey it onscreen the way the author intended. Anything less is cheating as far as I am concerned.
I do not have a problem with enhancing a story, but changing it up until it bares no resemblance to the book is just off the charts. Or taking a crucial element of a character and altering it which end up changing the character’s nature. For instance, the more I think about it, the more I really do not like the fact that John Thornton beats up an employee in the 2004 BBC version of North and South. Adding that element to the onscreen Thornton does an injustice to his true character. Thornton is actually not violent at all, nor is he necessarily quick-tempered as the 2004 version suggests. And as much as I LOVE the movie, I find Thornton of the book much more in touch with his feelings of love for Margaret and how she has affected him than the Richard Armitage version.
The movie Under The Tuscan Sun bares just about no resemblance to the book. I admit that travel essay books usually need spicing up for film, but this was just ridiculous. I guess since the book was on the NY Times Best Seller list for two and a half years, Hollywood wanted the name to draw people into the theaters. I was one of them.
Having said all that, a few months ago I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum for the first time. I was very surprised to realize that it is a bit different from the movie starring Judy Garland and we all know how awesome the movie still is to this day.
I still feel that Hollywood should stay close to a book as it is interpreted by the author. If reading a book inspires you that is great. Take that inspiration and tell your story the way you want and then give it its own title. To take books, especially best sellers and claim to be making a movie out of it when you only really want certain components does not seem ethical to me.
I read Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell when I was in my late teens. It is a huge historical romance novel, but Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood and David O. Selznick did a fantastic job bringing it to the silver screen in 1939.