Today we will see why some famous books are difficult to adapt as movies or Tv series. Adapting books into screenplays has been the norm since time immemorial, because they are merely two ways of storytelling. Books and movies differ in their formats, but are essentially the narratives. And narratives latch on to people’s minds, creating lasting impacts. And so, it is obvious for filmmakers to want to turn their famous stories with moviemaking potential into worthy films. But it isn’t always all that easy – there are several difficulties a writer may encounter.
Why Some Famous Books are Difficult to Adapt as Movies or TV Series?
Massive Popularity Baggage
The biggest problem about adapting famous books into movies is the inevitable comparison between the two forms of art that accompanies it. So, filmmakers and actors are likely to face comparison to authors and characters. But that is not correct. The filmmaker’s sensibilities and his or her creative potential should enrich the book and elevate it. The accompaniment of visuals and music should enhance the quality of the book. It is obvious that movies cannot compare to books. But a filmmaker adds on to the narrative, he or she doesn’t take away from it. Unjust comparisons that latch on to popular works of art create massive popularity baggage for the film.
Difficulty in Presenting Interior Monologues
Novels are essentially incisive precisions into character’s minds – even when they are plot driven. So it becomes really difficult to adapt them into movies. For all its visuals, adio and other dramatic effects, what a movie lacks is representation of the internal. Movies are usually have an action-orientation. So the focus is on what is happening without rather than what is happening within. Thus, the representation of a character’s inner mind, his or her feelings, thoughts, ideas, reactions, et cetera take a back seat in this case.
Casting for Well-Defined Characters
Famous books usually have characters that everyone dotes upon. It is also likely that such books have a huge fan base. This means they already has a preconceived notion about the character. The author creates a certain persona and aesthetic around all characters, and the reader’s imagination builds up on that. The result is a strong idea of what the character should look like, what characteristics he or she should have and how he or she should behave. To find an exact match as what the author and readers have in mind may prove to be a huge challenge. It’s hard enough to find a good actor who fits the role of an already existent character, but to live up to the author and reader’s expectations is nearly impossible.
Length, Detail and Worldbuilding
A major difficulty posed by famous works of art is that they are usually lengthy and full of meticulous detail. The reason readers appreciate it so much is that the worldbuilding (in fantasy) is complex and engaging. But this is exactly what might prove to be a bane for filmmakers. Because a screenplay is considerable shorter than books and that a screenwriter needs to fit into three hours a story no matter how long the book is, it becomes difficult to adapt. The process of VFX can also become effortful and tedious, and some details can get left out. Fans usually hate this – for instance, the fact that Ginny’s character was not fully fledged out in the Harry Potter movies.
The Writer’s Voice
The most important reason why famous books are difficult to adapt is that nearly all famous books carry the writer’s imprint within them. This is an indelible, ineffable imprint, which makes the book what it is. By pruning the story to fit two or three hours, and cutting out the language of the writer, filmmakers remove the authorial voice too. Very often, it is this exact voice that makes it the book what it is, and its removal can have an impact on the reception of the book.
Also Read: 10 Best Literary Magazines to Sign Up For