Movies made from books, love them or hate them, you can’t get away from them. Most people prefer the book because of all the extra detail. Many people dread seeing a favourite book come to screen because the casting is never what you picture in your head. That’s almost as big a deal as the script changing things from the book. I can get my head around changes to a point as long as it isn’t really jarring. Casting is very subjective. There’s a lot of talented actors but sometimes it feels like one is being cast for who they are, not what they can do.
This link was included in a newsletter I get from Penguin Random House, a list of movies coming out in 2017 based on books, comics or graphic novels. There are actually a few on the list that I am interested to see, a few more that I dread and the rest I really have no opinion one way or the other as far as an adaptation from a book or comic goes.
One that caught my eye right away is The Snowman, from a book by Jo Nesbo. I discovered him a few years ago. He’s Norwegian and writes crime thrillers. His protagonist is Detective Harry Hole (pronounced Holay) and he’s a screw up, an addict and his personal life is usually a mess but he’s very, very good at catching serial killers. I love Nesbo’s books and I’m excited to see this movie. They’ve cast Michael Fassbender as Harry. I think he’ll be ok. He’s got the required height though he’s a bit on the thin side. Hole is always described as a tall, very solidly built man.
The “All Star” casting sometimes puts me off because it feels like stunt casting. You end up seeing the actor, not the character, at least, that’s how I feel sometimes. There’s an upcoming remake of Murder on the Orient Express, originally a mystery by Agatha Christie. It’s a Kenneth Branagh movie and is studded with stars like Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Branagh, Daisy Ridley (One big movie and you see her everywhere!), Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Derek Jacobi and the list goes on. I think sometimes a cast like that overwhelms the story.
Sometimes casting is just so wrong for the part as described in the book that you know damn well the actor probably bought the rights and cast themselves. The rest of us see the ad or hear the news, raise an eye and holler “Seriously?????” Some might argue that a good actor can transcend what you have in your head as a character from a book you love. There are limits. Little Tommy Cruise as Big Jack Reacher from the series of novels by Lee Child, anyone? On the author’s website, Jack Reacher is described :
- Measurements – 6’5″, 220-250 lbs., 50″ chest
- Hair – Dirty-blond
- Eyes – Ice Blue
- Clothing – 3XLT coat, 95 cm. pants’ inseam
If that sounds like Tom Cruise to you, you need your eyes checked. It’s only my opinion, of course, but I don’t think he’s a good enough actor to pull that off.
Upcoming movies or tv series based on books that I’m looking forward to seeing include:
New version of A Handmaid’s Tale as a tv series, 10 episodes, on Hulu April 26 (I do hope it’s going to be carried by a Canadian cable station as well) The original book is by Margaret Atwood (the original movie with Natasha Richardson and Faye Dunaway was pretty good. I’m interested to see it. Series are usually better because they can fit more detail in. On the other hand, series sometimes over-pad. It remains to be seen.
American Gods is another series coming up on Starz, based on the book by Neil Gaiman. The cast looks interesting. Ricky Whittle is playing the hero, Shadow. He’s a man of colour born in the UK but he puts on a very good American accent. I read this a few years ago and it’s a bit complex but it’s quite good.
Outlander season 3, is one I’m really anticipating. This whole series is based on the books by Diana Gabaldon and this season is based on Voyager, book 3. The casting for the characters has all be very good. The hero Jamie Fraser is a tough one because everyone has an image of the tall, red headed Scottish hero and the feisty curly haired British heroine Claire in their head. Sam Heughn isn’t quite the Jamie Fraser I’d prefer but he’s doing a good job. Catriona Balfe is really making Claire her own.
There’s a sequel to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting heading to screen, called T2: Trainspotting. It follows the characters 20 years later. I did like the original but I’m not so sure I’d find the follow up as compelling.
Another remake that I’m definitely steering clear of is The Beguiled. Now, I haven’t read the book and I might just see if I can find it. I absolutely loved the 1971 original movie starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page. The story is a Civil War soldier, injured and holing up in a girls’ school and his presence sets all the girls and women on edge with jealousy. It really captured my imagination and I really can’t get my head around a remake at all, especially with Colin Farrell in the Clint Eastwood role and Nicole Kidman in the Geraldine Page role of the school mistress.