Friday, January 15, 2016

Books into Movies or TV Shows

When I was much younger, I had a favorite book and I would dream about seeing it made into a movie someday.  Oh, what a wondrous thing to see the characters I so loved on film.  And they'd look just like I imagined.  And the plot would follow the book exactly.  And I would be so happy.

Umm, yeah.

Flash forward 30-some years.  I still love the book.  I read it again just last year.  From start to finish, I am transported to another world.  When it ends, I cry.  Every time.  And it's now a series on MTV.  Except instead of Elfstones of Shannara, they're calling it The Shannara Chronicles.

I've been studiously avoiding it since I first heard the news.  Oh, early on, I glanced at some of the cast members to see if maybe they came close to the images I have in my head.  Nope.  Sorry.  Wil ain't blond.  Amberle is but now they've got her as a brunette.  I don't even want to see who they got to play Allanon.  I have a sinking suspicion he'll end up looking like a taller Dumbledore.

I caught a commercial for it by accident yesterday.  They kinda got The Ellcrys right, but the effect of her dying wrong.  I changed the channel before I saw any more.  It feels like a piece of my youth being ruined for public entertainment.

Oh, Hollywood has gotten a couple things right.  But it's been a long time since I've seen a book put onto film that even came close.  They did it with To Kill a Mockingbird.  They managed it kinda with The Fountainhead (and they missed only because taking a book of that magnitude and cramming it into a movie length is impossible).

Let's not discuss Rizzoli and Isles, shall we?  I can't watch the show anymore and I can no longer read the books without seeing the A.D.A from Law & Order in my head.  Bones is okay because I didn't read any of Ms. Reichs books before I started watching.  I've read one or two since, and I couldn't merge the two in my head. 

Maybe it's because I'm a very visual reader.  The writer puts the words on the page and I create images in my head from those words.  The image in my head might very well be different from what the writer intended, but once those images are in my head, I want them more than I care about what anyone else's concept is. 

I write the same way.  I have images in my head of what my characters look like and what the scene is like.  I'm not inclined to put an actor's face in its place. 

On the other hand, if one of my readers has a totally different idea in their heads of what Jace or Dennis or Jo or Randi looks like, that's fine by me.  I want you to make up whatever idea you have on your own.  Hell, I hesitated to put Jo's face on the cover of Wish in One Hand because I didn't want to ruin the idea all y'all have in your heads of what she looks like.  (And if my doing so messed with your mental images, I apologize.) 

Maybe it's just me.  So many other authors find images of their characters in the form of models and actors to present to the world.  "This is what Artie Smartie from my latest release looks like."  :shrug:  I can't do that.  Not and keep my imagined idea intact.  Sure, I did find a model who looks almost exactly like my concept of Jo.  But now I have that gal in my head when I write about her.  I've lost the original idea entirely.  Same with the model I found for Zeke.  And the one I found for Mary.  They're all pretty close, but they weren't exact.  Now they're set in stone in my head as someone else. 

I can live with that.  For this series. 

Anyway, it's a thing.  My thing, most likely.  What do you think?  Have you read Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks? Have you watched The Shannara Chronicles on MTV?  What's your take?


jblynn said...

Didn't read it. Haven't seen it.

I suspect that the Harry Potter movies did so well because they were pretty faithful adaptations.

Karyn Good said...

I have been watching The Shannara Chronicles. I haven't read the books. But I like it enough to keep watching. I might get the books for my son and his girlfriend though! My son's is a fantasy fan. It's too late for me because I've already started watching. If I'm going to read a made-for-TV series I have to read the book first.

Mj McDonald said...
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