It’s every book lover’s worst nightmare. Their favorite novel is turned into a movie, and the screenwriters/director/producers/actors just don’t get it right. They add unnecessary scenes, cut characters, or cast actors that look nothing like the characters you pictured in your mind. You leave the theater distraught, complaining loudly in the theater bathroom to whoever will listen about how the book is a thousand times better.
We’ve all done it. So many of my friends complained about the Harry Potter movies, swearing they ruined the books. And yet, they still headed to the theater when the next installment was released. Because like it or not, we’re devoted. We are so dedicated to our books that we follow everything related to it: blogs, TV specials, companion guides. And movies.
When casting news surrounding my favorite books is released, I'm often surprised by the choices. I did not all expect Jennifer Lawrence to play Katniss in The Hunger Games (Peeta and Gale were equally as surprising). I'd pictured someone completely different in my head. But I gave the casting choices a chance, and once I saw the movie, I completely understood. Jennifer was FANTASTIC (I'm going to stop before I start gushing about how awesome she is, because I can get a bit ridiculous), and my view of Katniss has adapted to include her.
When I go to see a movie adaptation, I try to separate it from the book. When I treat it as its own entity, I tend to be less disappointed when something is left out. Although I’ll be the first to admit, I struggled with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There is no way J.K. Rowling approved the random burning of the Weasleys’ house. Unnecessary and ridiculous. But I digress.
I’m always more confident going into a book-to-movie adaptation when the author has been heavily consulted on the project. Some authors even write/co-write their own screenplays. Suzanne Collins wrote the script for The Hunger Games with director Gary Ross, and that movie wound up being one of my favorite book adaptations I’ve seen. But it’s understandable that not every author can work hand in hand with the production team. They may not have time, or they may be too emotionally attached to their story and can’t make unnecessary cuts for the sake of the script.