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From shelf to screen: Which books should not get the big screen treatment?

Aug. 23, 2011by:

Right now, Hollywood seems to be obsessed with remakes/reboots and adaptations. Throw zombies in there as well. Basically the cog is less concerned with original material and more concerned on winning the popularity contest. This isn't high school and no one is running for prom queen.

Let's bring it back to the adaptations. They've been going on for years, but Vulture posed an interesting question to their readers in response to the reactions that ONE DAY has been receiving. Here's what the site offered up:

"On paper, One Day should have worked: It was based on a best-selling book, adapted into a screenplay by that book's author, and directed by a woman who'd scored a Best Picture nomination for her last movie, An Education. And yet, critics were rough on the romantic drama, which pulled in a meager $5.3 million in its opening weekend. Why did One Day falter while the adaptation of another popular novel, The Help, has turned into a late-August hit? Can the imprimatur of a best-selling book only get you so far at the box office? Or are there some novels that simply lose their magic when they're adapted for the screen?"

If you're like me, there's a book out there that you love from cover to cover. Same feeling comes with an album. Every note from beginning to end is simply divine. You feel like you know it better than your best friend or a sibling. Imagine you hear that your favorite book is getting the adaptation treatment, how do you react? Do you wait to see who gets attached? Or do you immediately wonder what they are going to leave out or screw up? My favorite book, "House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski could never be made into a movie. If you've read it, you might agree. You've got two stories that interweave and parallel, then you have text that serves its reader best on the page, and lists and other things that you end up have to scour the internet for. If any of it is even supposed to make sense.

Bottom line is the question already posed: "Are there some novels that simply lose their magic when they're adapted for the screen?"

Source: Vulture

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5:47PM on 08/24/2011

I just wish....

that Nausicaa of The Valley Of Wind & Akira would have been done more along the lines of the books. Only problem is they would be far too long for movies (unless broken up into multiple movies a la Deathly Hollows).
that Nausicaa of The Valley Of Wind & Akira would have been done more along the lines of the books. Only problem is they would be far too long for movies (unless broken up into multiple movies a la Deathly Hollows).
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5:36PM on 08/24/2011
I would love to see a "House Of Leaves" movie--not all of it would be a adaptable, and it's kind of missed the boat on the whole docu-verite style (or maybe not since "Apollo 18" is coming out), but it could make for a mindbending movie in the right hands..
I would love to see a "House Of Leaves" movie--not all of it would be a adaptable, and it's kind of missed the boat on the whole docu-verite style (or maybe not since "Apollo 18" is coming out), but it could make for a mindbending movie in the right hands..
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12:33PM on 08/24/2011
never EVER adapt 'the talisman'
never EVER adapt 'the talisman'
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8:48AM on 08/24/2011

Eragon

I was looking foward to Eragon following the success of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, I would like to see Rune's Tales made into a film, that would work well.
I was looking foward to Eragon following the success of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, I would like to see Rune's Tales made into a film, that would work well.
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4:02AM on 08/24/2011
I have always wanted to see one of my favorite books "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by N Philbrick adapted. I have heard a rumor hear or there over the years, but nothing solid. The 'Essex' tragedy was the inspiration for Moby Dick. It would be cool to see 1800s Nantucket on screen. However, I think the story could lose its soul onscreen because Hollywood would probably try to turn it into a popcorn flick, but I have hope.
I have always wanted to see one of my favorite books "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by N Philbrick adapted. I have heard a rumor hear or there over the years, but nothing solid. The 'Essex' tragedy was the inspiration for Moby Dick. It would be cool to see 1800s Nantucket on screen. However, I think the story could lose its soul onscreen because Hollywood would probably try to turn it into a popcorn flick, but I have hope.
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11:35PM on 08/23/2011
I like how adaptations have been lumped in with reboots and remakes as if we've only been seeing them for the past five years. Hollywood was built on book adaptations. Easily the top 90% of films are adaptations. Films don't ruin novels, filmmakers ruin novels. In the right hands any book can be adapted into an amazing film.
I like how adaptations have been lumped in with reboots and remakes as if we've only been seeing them for the past five years. Hollywood was built on book adaptations. Easily the top 90% of films are adaptations. Films don't ruin novels, filmmakers ruin novels. In the right hands any book can be adapted into an amazing film.
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10:51PM on 08/23/2011

World War Z

Too difficult to adapt.
Too difficult to adapt.
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+2
9:07PM on 08/23/2011
I AM LEGEND.... oh wait....
I AM LEGEND.... oh wait....
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1:40PM on 08/24/2011
Nice...
Nice...
5:58PM on 08/24/2011
The only thing they had in common was the title
The only thing they had in common was the title
9:03PM on 08/23/2011

WORLD WAR Z

That book should not be made into a movie. The movie will have to take liberties with the stories to make it visually compelling. I just think it's a bad idea...
That book should not be made into a movie. The movie will have to take liberties with the stories to make it visually compelling. I just think it's a bad idea...
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8:51PM on 08/23/2011
Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Way too big of a project for anyone to actually do it right. Unless it's animated...
Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Way too big of a project for anyone to actually do it right. Unless it's animated...
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7:55PM on 08/23/2011
Hmm I don't really care honestly. I don't think any book is off bounds to be made into a film. Movies and books are just different mediums and no matter what, there will always be differences. Just enjoy each medium and respect their attributes.
Hmm I don't really care honestly. I don't think any book is off bounds to be made into a film. Movies and books are just different mediums and no matter what, there will always be differences. Just enjoy each medium and respect their attributes.
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7:36PM on 08/23/2011
Not to call it my favorite book, but when L.A. Confidential came out, the movie is so different from the book in some places, and in others word-for-word. It's a jarring experience when I watch it, but still both are good in their own rights.
Not to call it my favorite book, but when L.A. Confidential came out, the movie is so different from the book in some places, and in others word-for-word. It's a jarring experience when I watch it, but still both are good in their own rights.
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+3
7:33PM on 08/23/2011
I'm really torn because I am getting tired(and I know many of you are as well) of so many remakes and adaptations. However I think that if the novel or graphic is adapted properly and with the same wit and heart it can definitely work out.

I remember reading High Fidelity for the first time and it was the most amazing and touching thing I'd ever connected to. From books that is. The movie certainly was a bit different from my own vision, but still just as good. They got the music and
I'm really torn because I am getting tired(and I know many of you are as well) of so many remakes and adaptations. However I think that if the novel or graphic is adapted properly and with the same wit and heart it can definitely work out.

I remember reading High Fidelity for the first time and it was the most amazing and touching thing I'd ever connected to. From books that is. The movie certainly was a bit different from my own vision, but still just as good. They got the music and characters just right
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6:59PM on 08/23/2011

House Of Leaves

I see the author names House Of Leaves as his favorite book (it's definitely in my top 5, but my favorite is a close tie between Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk and American Gods by Neil Gaiman) a and says that he thinks it's unfilmable and I have to say that having read the book, I kinda disagree!

Yes, trying to adapt EVERYTHING in the book for the screen, all the stories within stories and stiff, WOULD be impossible, but I don't see why an adaptation of the core part of the book's story, the
I see the author names House Of Leaves as his favorite book (it's definitely in my top 5, but my favorite is a close tie between Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk and American Gods by Neil Gaiman) a and says that he thinks it's unfilmable and I have to say that having read the book, I kinda disagree!

Yes, trying to adapt EVERYTHING in the book for the screen, all the stories within stories and stiff, WOULD be impossible, but I don't see why an adaptation of the core part of the book's story, the Navidson Record, the book within the book based on the imaginary movie of the same name (yeah, the book is REALLY weird), couldn't work! I mean it's a minute by minute study of a film, granted, one that doesn't exist, but a film none the less! It can easily be adapted, or hell, even recreated! It's practically a script already!

Now, it's been a while since I read House Of Leaves so I might be mistaken, so please feel free to correct me! BTW any other House Of Leaves fans out there?

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7:43PM on 08/23/2011
Okay, let me rephrase that: I would never make a movie out of it. It could be made but never incorporate every little thing that I love about it which includes the stuff that you might deem "impossible". Plus, I don't want to give Hollywood any ideas (like they give a crap what I think anyway) to adapt it because if it ever came out shitty I might cry but it would never change how I felt about the book itself.

If the news came out tomorrow that someone bought the rights, then I'd be open to
Okay, let me rephrase that: I would never make a movie out of it. It could be made but never incorporate every little thing that I love about it which includes the stuff that you might deem "impossible". Plus, I don't want to give Hollywood any ideas (like they give a crap what I think anyway) to adapt it because if it ever came out shitty I might cry but it would never change how I felt about the book itself.

If the news came out tomorrow that someone bought the rights, then I'd be open to seeing it. I won't be completely closed minded about it. ;)
6:44PM on 08/23/2011
Some books do not translate well on screen because hollywood has to dumb it down, I remember when I read The Firm & how different it was from the book & the entire ending was changed.
Some books do not translate well on screen because hollywood has to dumb it down, I remember when I read The Firm & how different it was from the book & the entire ending was changed.
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+1
6:34PM on 08/23/2011

Good question!

100 Years of Solitude is a book that I don't think could ever be adapted. Maybe small bits of it can be made into short films that fill an anthology. But not an adaptation of the whole book.

The recent version of Love in the Time of Cholera proved how hard it is to adapt Marquez's work. God that movie was awful.

I don't ever want to say it can never be done, but it'll take a special kind of filmmaker.

Movies are a more streamlined form of storytelling. I don't mind adaptations, even
100 Years of Solitude is a book that I don't think could ever be adapted. Maybe small bits of it can be made into short films that fill an anthology. But not an adaptation of the whole book.

The recent version of Love in the Time of Cholera proved how hard it is to adapt Marquez's work. God that movie was awful.

I don't ever want to say it can never be done, but it'll take a special kind of filmmaker.

Movies are a more streamlined form of storytelling. I don't mind adaptations, even when they cut out a shit-ton from the source material. Hell I wish some adaptations cut out even more.
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6:33PM on 08/23/2011
I guess I won't have to wait too long before seeing my favorite novel adapted (or re-adapted in this case) to the big screen, since it was announced last week that Michel Gondry is bringing L'cume des Jours to the big screen with Audrey Tautou et Romain Duris. While I couldn't see a better director than Gondry to take care of such a project, I can't help but to be cautious...
I guess I won't have to wait too long before seeing my favorite novel adapted (or re-adapted in this case) to the big screen, since it was announced last week that Michel Gondry is bringing L'cume des Jours to the big screen with Audrey Tautou et Romain Duris. While I couldn't see a better director than Gondry to take care of such a project, I can't help but to be cautious...
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6:28PM on 08/23/2011

My favorite book is The Da Vinci Code

And boy, did they royally fuck that one up.
And boy, did they royally fuck that one up.
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+3
5:51PM on 08/23/2011
I feel that a book that spans years (or decades) are the hardest sells for books to movies (a la One Day).

With that in mind, my favorite book is Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

It spans a lifetime and there isn't a way a movie can capture the emotional journey experienced by a man if that journey had already been illustrated in a novel.
I feel that a book that spans years (or decades) are the hardest sells for books to movies (a la One Day).

With that in mind, my favorite book is Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

It spans a lifetime and there isn't a way a movie can capture the emotional journey experienced by a man if that journey had already been illustrated in a novel.
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5:24PM on 08/23/2011

Shutter Island

I know it was a massive hit, but I thought the screen adaptation paled mightily in comparison to the subtleties of Lehane's wonderful book.
I know it was a massive hit, but I thought the screen adaptation paled mightily in comparison to the subtleties of Lehane's wonderful book.
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-1
5:11PM on 08/23/2011

thought it said

from SHELL to screen
and of course clicked on it thinking it would be something to do with a new live action Ninja Turtles movie =P oh well...
from SHELL to screen
and of course clicked on it thinking it would be something to do with a new live action Ninja Turtles movie =P oh well...
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