10 Authors Who Hated the Movie Adaptation of Their Work

Movies can bring the words of authors to life. They can also completely change the tone and content an author was trying to convey, sullying the work for generations to come. The majority of movie adaptations are positive, but some just can’t live up to the book, even in the eyes of authors.

Here are ten movie adaptations the original author despised: 


1) The Shining – Stephen King




King has pivoted back and forth about Stanley Kubrick’s famous horror adaptation. According to a FAQ, King said, “There’s a lot to like about it. But it’s a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery – the only thing you can’t do is drive it anywhere. So I would do every thing different.” Yikes.


2) A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess



Another Stanley Kubrick adaptation! Due to confusion about different versions of the book, the film did not include a final act that Burgess preferred to exist, which makes the main protagonist Alex a redemptive character. Burgess went on to say, “I should not have written the book because of this danger of misinterpretation” in a book titled, A Flame Into Being: The Life and Works of D.H. Lawrence.


3) Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote



The biggest issue Capote had with Blake Edwards’ film was the casting. He preferred Marilyn Monroe to play the lead, but the role went to Audrey Hepburn instead. The Associated Press reported that Capote spoke to his biographer about the adaptation, calling it “a confection — a sugar and spice confection.”


4) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) Roald Dahl



Dahl struggled to cope with most of his movie adaptations. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, an adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, might be the most famous on the list, though. He had negative feelings about the directing, the acting, and the casting. The BBC reports his trustee as saying the movie “placed too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie. For him, the book was about Charlie.”


5) Mary Poppins – P L Travers



Any cinema fan would know that Travers didn’t like the movie adaptation of her work. Even if her public feelings about the movie (she cried about it) weren’t known, a whole movie, Saving Mr. Banks, detailed just how much Travers struggled with the adaptation of her work.


6) Forrest Gump – Winston Groom 



Upon the release of a sequel to his seminal work, Groom had only negative things to say about its film adaptation. “Don’t never let nobody make a movie of your life’s story,” The Baltimore Sun reported him as saying. Perhaps he was just bitter – he had to sue for his share of the film’s profits.


7) I Am Legend – Richard Matheson



Matheson, like many of the other authors on this list, had a hard time with almost all the movie adaptations made from his work. Before the Will Smith vehicle even made it to theaters, Matheson made his expectations clear in an interview: “I don’t know why Hollywood is fascinated by my book when they never care to film it as I wrote it.”


8) American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis



American Psycho is a beloved film that launched Christian Bale’s career, but Easton Ellis was not a big fan of the adaptation, especially the perversion of his original ending. He went so far as to say that he would spearhead another adaptation, but that never came to fruition.


9) V for Vendetta – Alan Moore 



Moore was involved with the production of this film but was so disappointed with it that he had his name removed from the credits and stopped helping movie studios create adaptations of his work afterward.


10) Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White



In one of the more surprising disagreements between an author and the movie studio that adapted their work, E.B. White disliked the sing-songy nature of the animated 1973 version of the film. “The story is interrupted every few minutes so that somebody can sing a jolly song. I don’t care much for jolly songs,” White wrote in a letter obtained by the Boston Globe. “But that’s what you get for getting embroiled in Hollywood.”



Featured image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly