Originality vs books made into movies

I read this article here with some interest as I'm a writer whose ambitions extend beyond mere novels (I want my own production company, and I want an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. I have my first film idea firmly scripted already (in my head), ideas for a book/film adaptation [based on another author's work - I will cry if the rights go before I can buy them], an original TV series idea, and a sketch show all planned out.).

The article explores what happens when a book is turned into a film by Hollywood, and should the writer interfere with the film process. For me, I write it as a book because that's the format I deem most appropriate for what I want to convey. If I wanted it as a film, I would write a screenplay.

However, this only applies to my chick lit work. Whereas I don't think I'd be happy with say Geli making it onto the big screen (ask me again when I hear how much they are offering), I actually would want Boudica's Attic to be filmed (directed by Tim Burton, please). Certain genres work better as books (and should be kept as books), some swing both ways, and some are films through and through.

Of course there are times when the movie produced does not do the book justice (I'm thinking: The Golden Compass [firstly, it's the Northern Lights!], The Other Boleyn Girl and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), but then there are the crazy instances when the movie is better than the actual book.

With recent books turned into movies including Brideshead Revisited, Twilight and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - do you think books should be turned into movies, or should original movies be made? What sort of books work best to be turned into movies? What are your favourite examples of books made into movies? And what books do you think were "ruined" because of their movie adaptation?


  1. Wow. The inside of your brain sounds a bit like the inside of my brain.

    You poor thing.

  2. I *HATED* The Devil Wears Prada's description of Houstonians and Texans. It was so ridiculous and stereotypical. Sure, certain people in West Texas may have that "cowboy" feel to them, but we're not this backwoods swamp she described.

    I wanted to ask if she had ever been to Texas?

    Thus, I loved the movie that much more. Plus the character in the movie was more lovable than then one in the book.

    (I never read The Other Boleyn Girl *the same* or The Golden Compass, but TGC is next on my reading list.)

    I can't think of a movie that ruined a book, but I hear that Jurassic Park came close.

    When writing, I picture a movie in my head, but that's just the way I write. If I can't visualize it, I can't write it.

  3. @ Peter - And there's no off switch either ...

    @ Liza - It's so interesting how different people write books; I just see text!

  4. I HATED The Other Boleyn Girl, mainly because of all the historical inaccuracies (which, I admit, were in the book too), despite the presence of the delicious Eric Bananaman.

    I'm one of those who says the book's always better than the film because I enjoy the pictures in my head more than those on the screen.

    I can understand them making films from books, though, as making a movie involves so much risk - at least if you create something from a book rather than an untested script, a book which sold well, you know you'll have a hit on your hands because if only a small percentage of readers go to see the movie, it'll make millions.

    It's a safe bet, really.


    I too write like a movie. I can't imagine only seeing words; I 'see' my characters and what they're up to (and given the scene I'm writing at the moment, that can provide for some blushes in public if I'm, say, on the bus thinking about my main characters and what they're getting up to)!!!

    I've never been bothered about having a book made into a film; to be honest I would feel I was losing too much control. With a book you have a say over the final product, even the cover if you're lucky, but with a film...it's down to the production crew and cast, and to me, that's just throwing too much away to chance. What if they ruin your idea? What if they cast the wrong people? Sure, as I said before, loyal readers will still go to see it and it'll be a hit for sure, but...sometimes wrong casting or clunky screenwriting can make it less enjoyable than it should be.

    No, I'm a control freak. It's books all the way for me. I enjoy playing God too much to surrender my story to a film studio.

    That said, if they money was right and Joaquin Phoenix was cast as the bad guy who ripped his shirt off in every scene...

  5. I think it boils down to money - if a production company waved a big, fat cheque in front of me for my chick lit book rights, I don't know if I'd be able to resist!

    Actually, thinking about how I write - mostly, it *is* just words that pour out of me. Although, some "ideas" I've used are taken directly from my life (or daydreams), so I guess they have visual cues. Mostly, just words though.

    And as for my characters, I can't say I have a mental photograph of the main ones, but I can semi-picture the minor ones.

    I'm strange, aren't I!?