Book to film adaptations are serious business. Not only do directors need to create a picture that will reel in the general audience, they need to capture what readers first fell in love with. From the plot to complex emotions, this means following everything down to the tee. While this could be accomplished by hiring the right production team, it also means having the best actors for the roles. And sometimes, casting directors miss the target completely. Other times, however, certain actors are just casted so well that you can’t picture anyone else on the big screen. We’ll be taking a look at actors who truly are the fictional characters they play!
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games trilogy
We’re starting with a strong one, I know. While there’s a small percentage of readers who didn’t find JLaw to be best fit for the Girl on Fire, her acting should show them otherwise. She had Katniss’ subtle attitude and that eye roll completely down. When she enters the arena in The Hunger Games (2012), Lawrence completely has viewers on the edge of their seats as she fights for her survival. Her powerful energy continues throughout the succeeding films of the trilogy, with Catching Fire (2013) and Mockingjay Part 1 & 2 (2014 & 2015). Lawrence just does a fantastic job at displaying the character development that Katniss experiences throughout her rebellion against the Capitol, without a doubt.
Henry Golding as Nick Young in Crazy Rich Asians
Nick Young is dreamy, let’s face it. Everyone was thinking it while reading Kevin Kwan’s rom-com novel. He’s sweet, good-looking, and it’s not an entirely bad thing that he comes from a successful family. He is the perfect fictional boyfriend altogether, so it was important that the right actor got casted for this role. In comes Henry Golding, who, honestly, just made us love Nick Young more than we thought we could. He comforts Rachel, fights for her over his stubborn mother, and convinces us that true love exists without being cringe. Golding’s performance was so good, you sometimes forgot you were watching a movie! He nailed the romantic and handsome boyfriend role like it was nobody’s business. Who couldn’t love that smile?
Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes in Misery
There should be no discourse here. We all know what an amazing actress Kathy Bates is in general, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that she hit a homerun with her performance as Annie Wilkes. It wasn’t an easy task, either. The villain of Misery is creepy, obsessive, and literally batshit crazy while also having somewhat sane moments. Bates had to embody that mix and she did so wonderfully. Her emotions and dialogue in scenes with protagonist Paul Sheldon made viewers absolutely terrified of what she was going to do next. If you read the thriller after watching the film, or even vice versa, you can’t see anyone else’s face except Bates as Annie. She’s just too good!
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
Many people might not know that the 2000 horror film is based on a novel. Or they might, because author Bret Easton Ellis received mixed reviews about how gruesome the writing was and was often labelled as disturbing in certain countries back in 1991. Luckily, the blockbuster film was a success when adapted years later, even becoming a cult classic in pop culture. And it’s because of Christian Bale’s eerily spot-on performance of the main character, Patrick Bateman. The Oscar winner took on Bateman’s sadistic personality perfectly, with monologues that clicked right away into the memory of book fans. Bale’s acting also allowed viewers to understand how much of the character’s mental state was changing and only growing worse by the end. Besides, who else other than Bale can you hear say, “I have to go return some tapes.”
Viola Davis as Rose Maxson in Fences
Though adapted from a play, the performances in Fences is something that isn’t talked about enough. Viola Davis absolutely stole the show alongside her on-screen husband Denzel Washington, as she eventually went on to win an Oscar for her role as Rose Maxson. She had the empathy of audience viewers by clearly portraying the emotions that her character is often faced with due to Troy’s selfish personality. From breakdowns to newfound independence, Davis captured what playwright August Wilson intended to be found on stage. The actress did it all without being too over-the-top or underwhelming. Also, we just don’t think anyone else could deliver THAT monologue as amazing as she did. Davis was meant for this role, definitely.
Thomas Mann as Greg Gaines in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl received raving reviews when it was released on bookshelves. Readers had fallen so in love with the characters that the story’s ending was almost too much for their hearts. Still, the story is one that moved audiences and led to its adaptation only two years after publication. Once it hit theaters, one of the most notable performances was Thomas Mann as the protagonist. He was able to manifest himself into Greg’s moody teenager self flawlessly that viewers needed a couple packs of tissues while watching. His on-screen chemistry with Olivia Cooke’s Rachel Kushner also earned him multiple award nominations. Oh Mann, how dare you make us cry with your damn good acting.
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