5 Authors Who Despised Film-Versions of Their Books
I remember watching The Shining starring Jack Nicholson and thoroughly enjoying the performance. Years later, I swiped the novel from my mother's King collection and discovered a whole new story. That is, I couldn't believe the movie was even related to the book. The Shining (novel) was about this kid with telepathy who had all these supernatural encounters with a sprinkle of domestic violence. Stanley Kubricks' The Shining, however, was the exact opposite, and even though I loved Nicholson's performance, I now thought the movie was an atrocity. As it turns out, there are plenty of authors who couldn't believe their eyes when they saw their stories on the big screen. You might be surprised to see who and what is on the list.
5. The Shining - King vs Kubrick
Kubrick's The Shining was a hit with audiences. Many critics raved it was one of Jack Nicholson's greatest performances. But Stephen King shocked the world of cinema when he came out to say,
“I’d admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. … Kubrick just couldn’t grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn’t believe, he couldn’t make the film believable to others.”
He was also very disappointed with the way Nicholson portrayed his main character Jack Torrance, for he wanted The Overlook Hotel to possess Torrance and make him crazy. Nicholson hinted Torrance was insane from the very beginning.
And although I may be mistake, tell me exactly what page, "Here comes Johnny!" is on.
4. American Psycho - Easton Seems to Always Be Complaining
There are certain authors who have written amazing books that I completely despise, but not in a competitive Hemingway sense.
Bret Easton Ellis is the epitome of those authors. Ellis tends to complain a lot. He's been fairly public about how much he dislikes the film adaptations of his books, but the one he hates the most is perhaps his most famous work: American Psycho. Regarding the film version, Easton said,
“American Psycho was a book I didn’t think needed to be turned into a movie. I think the problem with American Psycho was that it was conceived as a novel, as a literary work with a very unreliable narrator at the center of it and the medium of film demands answers. It demands answers. You can be as ambiguous as you want with a movie, but it doesn’t matter — we’re still looking at it. It’s still being answered for us visually. I don’t think American Psycho is particularly more interesting if you knew that he did it or think that it all happens in his head. I think the answer to that question makes the book infinitely less interesting.”
Of course, when it comes to unreliable narrators, Easton certainly sets the standards. Less than Zero was another one of the movies he disliked, but he wouldn't take the blame for its shortcomings: “That movie doesn't work for a lot reasons but I don’t think any of those reasons are my fault.”
3. Forrest Gump - Mamma Always Said Never Let Someone Adapt Your Book
It's rather difficult to imagine Forrest Gump as a bad movie, but writer Winston Groom thought it was. In fact, he was so disappointed by the way certain plot points were omitted and how the sex was altered into 100% humorous scenes, that we wrote the following lines at the beginning of the proposed sequel:
"Don't never let nobody make a movie of your life's story."
That, of course, is probably why we've never seen Forrest Gump 2.
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest - And Flopped
This star-studded film swept audiences and critics and won numerous awards, but author Ken Kesey was not impressed. Though he was supposed to help with the actually production, he took off once he found out they were not keeping he perspective of Chief Bromden. However, his wife later claimed he was happy the movie was made, but he still never wanted to see it . . . although he did and still didn't like it.
1. Mary Poppins - And Her B!t$h Slap
When I came across this story, I was completely baffled. How could some hate Mary Poppins? Looking back, I recall watching the film as a child.
But to author P.L. Travers thought it was a left-handed slap to her face. She despised the animated sequences, originally made Mary Poppins much more strict, and cried when she saw the movie at the premiere. She was given the right to accept or reject scripts of the story, but none of her edits or recommendations were taken to seriously. Frustrated by what she thought was a complete disaster, she walked away from the series and allowed Disney to have its way.
A Movie You Will Never See - Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger actually agreed to have a short story adapted to the screen. "Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut" was made into the film My Foolish Heart. After she a gross misrepresentation on the screen, Salinger swore to never have another work butchered by Hollywood.
In a similar light, Anthony Burgess swore the same thing after watching A Clockwork Orange. He was also known for hating the story altogether. Burgess claimed he wrote the book in 3 weeks for the sake of money and was vexed by how his story could be misinterpreted as a tale promoting sex and violence.
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.