Last week I complained that the characters in novels often become unrecognizable when they depart black-and-white pages to become stars in movies and TV shows.
Reader Edna Mae Tinsley said she agrees with my wife, who – as I wrote – found great fault with the casting of little Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in the movie made from the novels of Lee Child. Reacher, you see, is written as 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds in the books.
“Tom Cruise (yes, I saw the movie) is not the actor to play Reacher,” Tinsley wrote. “Now, Jim Caviezel (Person of Interest) would be perfect. I was looking forward to the first Reacher movie until I read that Cruise would play Jack. Blah!”
Author and historian Barbara Seaborn said she was reminded of an incident when she was in third grade, “because that’s when we moved in from the country to an apartment up over the movie theater.”
“I had never seen a movie before, but I was a good little student and read a lot, including the comics,” she said. “So, what was my first movie? Blondie and Dagwood. I don’t remember the plot at all, but haven’t forgotten how shocked I was about two things: How could what seemed like real people be talking to me, but I knew they weren’t there? Even worse, Dagwood and Blondie didn’t look anything like they were supposed to look, meaning: like they looked in the paper.”
I told her I thought those old movies based on the Blondie comic strip were right on the money with the actors cast into the roles.
I still remember actors Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake when I read the comic strip.
David Sisler’s complaint is “the wholesale change of books to make a movie out of it.”
“A couple of examples,” he continued. “Jurassic Park: In the novel, the chaos theorist dies and the great hunter lives. Totally opposite in the book. In Michael Crichton’s Timeline, one lead character was changed from a man to a woman, and that was done years before we couldn’t decide which bathroom to pee in.”
Sisler also said that in Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63, “the only parts that were recognizable in Hulu’s eight-part version were the beginning and the ending … I kept saying, much to my wife’s (annoyance), ‘That’s not in the book!’ ”
I am still laughing over a response from Daniel Pearson, who puts out the Augusta Medical Examiner, an excellent newspaper found in hospitals and doctors’ offices: “Have you ever read Gray’s Anatomy? The show is nothing like the book! Nothing!”
That might not make sense unless you knew that Gray’s Anatomy, the book, was not a novel about a hospital but an actual and respected textbook on anatomy.
When I read his reply, I nearly busted a gut. Or cracked a rib. Or couldn’t catch my breath. There’s an appropriate anatomical reference there somewhere, if I could just find it.
Reach Glynn Moore at email@example.com.