8 times authors preferred the film adaptations to their novel

  • 8 times authors preferred the film adaptations to their novel

Film adaptations of good (and sometimes awful) novels have always been an easy go-to for Hollywood to churn out a film without having to come up with original ideas.

Sometimes fans of the books are outraged at how it turns out, other times they are pleasantly surprised, and in some cases, even the writer of the original story thinks the adaptation has been done better than their book.

Warning: This article features spoilers for the books and the films mentioned here

8. The Mist

Based on Stephen King's 1980 novella, Frank Darabont (who had previously adapted King's The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile) set about bringing The Mist to the big screen in 2007.

Darabont changed the ending so that lead character David Drayton, surrounded by blood-thirsty monsters in an impenetrable fog, shoots the last surviving members of his party, including his young son.

Shortly after, the U.S. Army shows up and David realises that his mercy killings were avoidable, as help was moments away; while the ending of King's book sees the group finding refuge, as they continue on with their uncertain journey with a chance of safety.

When the revised ending was discussed with Stephen King, he preferred the bleaker ending much more than his own and, when the studio stepped in to try to keep the plot faithful to the original story's hopeful ending, King intervened, demanding that the studio approves the revised ending.

King went on record to say: "It is the most shocking ending ever and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last five minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead." So sorry if you read the ending here before having seen the film.

7. First Blood

Canadian novelist David Morrell saw his 1972 novel First Blood passed around production companies and going through eight rewrites before it was made into the famous and much-loved Sly Stallone movie, spawning three more sequels (of varying quality).

Morrell's story featured Vietnam vet Rambo (with no first name) thrown into a Kentucky jail and becoming the focus of a manhunt after violently escaping his cell and slaughtering many officers, civilians and National Guardsmen.

At the end of Morrell's novel, Rambo gets his head blown off by special forces captain Sam Trautman, but when it came to turning it into a film script, Stallone used his star power to make Rambo more sympathetic, not (directly) causing the death of any police officers and surviving to the end credits - turning himself in at Trautman's urging.

Morrell has explained that he thinks the movie is excellent, but most importantly he prefers the fact that Rambo survives at the end - although that might be down to the sequels earning him millions of dollars.

See also | 8 hated sequels that should be given a second chance

6. Carrie

Stephen King again, who seems to give the good film adaptations of his books their dues; and with Carrie, many view it as the finest adaptation of the over 100 film and television works based on King's published work.

King's book sold over one million copies in its first year of release, and two years later the film adaptation was released, directed by Brian De Palma, it is widely considered one of the best horror films of all time, and earned its stars Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie Oscar nominations - practically unheard of for a horror film.

King doesn't like the Carrie sequels and remakes that have come along since, not because they do a disservice to his original novel, but actually to De Palma's film.

5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

When Gary Wolf's mystery novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? was published in 1988, he thought that the cartoon and real characters crossover would result in the book being unfilmable.

Undeterred, Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis set about turning it into the 1988 movie that we all know and love (and which terrified us as kids), with marked differences in the plot and characters from Wolf's book.

When asked his opinions of how the film turned out, Wolf replied: "I'm delighted with the result. Could not have been done better."

He was so delighted, in fact, that his 1991 next Roger Rabbit book, Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? is a follow-up to the film, and the events of the first book are only referenced when Jessica Rabbit mentions them as a dream that she had.

See also | 7 movies that started out as sequels to much-loved films

4. Blade Runner

Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was already well known when Ridley Scott picked it up to adapt onto the big screen.

During the writing process, Dick had reservations about the Blade Runner script, with it having to go through a few rewrites and polishing until Ridley Scott settled on a final script.

Although Dick died shortly before the film was released, he got to see a 20-minute special effects reel, where he enthused to Scott: "I can only say that I did not know that a work of mine or a set of ideas of mine could be escalated into such stunning dimensions.

"My life and creative work are justified and completed by Blade Runner."

3. The Prestige

Cinemagoers were blown away by Christopher Nolan's plot twist-laden tale of duelling Victorian magicians played by Batman and Wolverine, but few Nolan fans would have known that the film was an adaptation of an award-winning novel from 1995.

British writer Christopher Priest penned the novel as diaries from Rupert Angier and Alfred Borden read by their great-grandchildren, and follows roughly a similar story, but with the story going on a lot longer than Nolan's film.

Largely ditching the diary format and making it a more dynamic tale that is widely regarded as superior to the book, including by the novel's author Christopher Priest, who revealed his reaction to seeing the movie was: "'Well, holy shit.' I was thinking, 'God, I like that,' and 'Oh, I wish I'd thought of that.'"

See also | 9 times films killed off the 'main' character before the film was even halfway through

2. Children of Men

Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi thriller set in a 2027 world that has a global human infertility crises was released in 2006 to praise, acclaim and adoration for its single-shot sequences and gritty storyline.

Back in 1992, bestselling writer P. D. James published the dystopian story, which saw the entire male population's sperm count reduced to zero as the Earth is steadily depopulating.

When Cuarón's film was released, the late P.D. James thought that the ideas the director had brought made more sense than her novel - including the sterility plague afflicting women instead of men.

The Mexican filmmaker explained in an interview: "She’s a big endorser of the movie. She made a statement in which she says, ‘It’s obvious that this film departed from the book, but I’m so proud to be associated with this film.’”

1. Fight Club

Brad Pitt and Edward Norton blew our minds back in 1999 with the tale of bare-knuckle fighting, soap making and terrorism, but bookworms had been well aware of what was in store if they'd have read the 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk.

However, director David Fincher chopped the book's ending off the film, which saw the narrator waking up - after shooting himself in the mouth - in a mental hospital that he believes is heaven.

He is then approached by hospital employees who reveal themselves to be members of Project Mayhem and that their plans are set to continue; Fincher, however, stopped just after the narrator shot himself, as him and warped love interest Marla hold hands and watch Project Mayhem's explosives destroying buildings.

Palahniuk has revealed that he prefers the film's ending to his novel, as the emphasis on the narrator's romance with Marla was more in tone with the message of the story, showing the narrator "reaching the point where he can commit to a woman" and he's a little embarrassed by the novel these days.

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