What if I were to tell you that some of the most critically-acclaimed motion pictures of all time were actually adaptations of books?
Who are literature’s worst monsters, but aren’t actually all that bad? Who has a silver lining that we can look into? Who are the almost monsters of literature that are almost terrible but not quite?
Let’s find out!
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At least Umbridge told Harry the truth! At least she told him that he shouldn’t lie!
Not only did this pig in a human suit lie to Harry, but he abused him since he was a BABY. He’s not even magical.
Objectively, of all the characters from the Harry Potter series, Vernon Dursley is just the worse. He’s human, so we can judge him as much as we want, for keeping a baby in a closet under the stairs for ELEVEN YEARS. Voldemort had the decency to try and kill Harry, Umbridge at least spoke in a nice voice, but Vernon just yelled at him, smacked him around, lied about his parents, and threw him under a closet for ELEVEN YEARS.
To make matters worse, no one called the cops. At least Petunia kept the blanket Harry came in when he was a baby.
At least Umbridge told Harry the truth! At least she told him that he shouldn’t lie!
Voldemort had the decency to try and kill Harry, Umbridge at least spoke in a nice voice, but this pig in a human suit just yelled at him, smacked him around, lied about his parents. At least Aunt Petunia kept the blanket Harry came in when he was a baby. Of all the characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s not even magical, but he’s certainly one of the worse.
OR IS HE?
Horcruxes can influence those around them and Voldemort made one out of Harry. Thus the Dursleys’ dislike of him was exacerbated by Voldemort’s magic.
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James was amused by Vernon, and made the mistake of showing it. Vernon tried to patronise James, asking what car he drove. James described his racing broom.
Vernon supposed out loud that wizards had to live on unemployment benefit. James explained about Gringotts, and the fortune his parents had saved there, in solid gold.
Vernon could not tell whether he was being made fun of or not, and grew angry. The evening ended with Vernon and Petunia storming out of the restaurant, while Lily burst into tears and James (a little ashamed of himself) promised to make things up with Vernon at the earliest opportunity.
Either way, Vernon might not be as bad we thought he is (though he’s still pretty terrible)
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The titular character from Moby Dick, at the end of the day, is a WHALE. It has no concept of good of evil, it’s just a big whale.
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Captain Ahab is the rotten one here. Blame him, not the whale!
6-Alexandra Finch Hancock
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While not the worse character in To Kill a Mocking Bird (the real monster is Bob Ewell), Aunt Alexandra is a racist piece of crap. The formidable matriarch of the Finch family, Aunt Alexandra is the king of woman who wears a corset even under her bathrobe. Before she even comes onto the page, Scout compares her to Mount Everest: “throughout my early life, she was cold and there,” but when she comes on the page she far exceeds our expectations of her.
Bossy, hyper-critical, Aunt Alexandra likes thinks done her way or the highway. Imagine the pressure poor Atticus is under when she targets him, taking umbrage with his client, Tom Robinson, noting that the case might endanger the Finch reputation.
She forgoes human decency because of the family. To her, “what is the best for the family” is more important than the family itself.
Aunt Alexandra, in underlining the moral of young Sam Merriweather’s suicide, said it was caused by a morbid streak in the family. Let a sixteen-year-old girl giggle in the choir and Aunty would say, “It just goes to show you, all the Penfield women are flighty.” Everybody in Maycomb, it seemed, had a Streak: a Drinking Streak, a Gambling Streak, a Mean Streak, a Funny Streak.
She’s obsessed with family streaks, hinting that she believes that the Finches are destined to be superior. In a book about racism, the real reason Aunt Alexandra doesn’t think Atticus should take the case are clear.
She also uses it to beat Scout over the head with.
Oh, yeah, Scout is in her line of sights as well. Scout is a tomboy, Aunt Alexandra is a proper lady, the pinnacle of the South. Thus, Alexandria sets to work trying to quash Scout’s tomboyish tendencies and forge a new identity for her.
Aunt Alexandra’s vision of my deportment involved playing with small stoves, tea sets, and wearing the Add-A-Pearl necklace she gave me when I was born; furthermore, I should be a ray of sunshine in my father’s lonely life.
But it’s not just racism, Aunt Alexandra is also a classist. When Scout wants to play with Walter, a poor boy, Aunt Alexandra:
…took off her glasses and stared at me. “I’ll tell you why,” she said. “Because—he—is—trash, that’s why you can’t play with him. I’ll not have you around him, picking up his habits and learning Lord-knows-what.”
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However, are we judging her too harshly? Is our picture of her incomplete?
After Tom is killed, family affection that looms largest for Aunt Alexandra, telling Miss Maudie:
“I can’t say I approve of everything he does, Maudie, but he’s my brother, and I just want to know when this will ever end. […] It tears him to pieces”
She’s concerned for her brother, standing by him even when she disagrees with him. Make of that what you will, but at least she’s not Bob Ewell, a man so terrible that I’ll bet when Boo Radley killed him no one in town even batted an eye. Not even his daughters.
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Depending on your translation of Beowulf, she is either called Grendel’s mother or Grendel’s dam, but I’d liked to call her Mother-whose-son-had-his-arm-ripped off.
I think we can all sit down and agree that Grendel is a monster. He terrorized a village and Beowulf was in the right in defending the town against that monster, but Grendel’s Mommy isn’t that bad. Her son was returned to their cave mortally wounded, one of his two arms (or claws) ripped from its shoulder socket and now hanging in a mead-hall as a grotesque trophy.
Of course she’s going to be mad. And you know what? Good for her for stealing her son’s arm back. Why’d they even want it so bad?
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But Beowulf just had to come, invading her home, and decapitating her.
Her motive is human and, from her point-of-view, she’s lived there over a hundred years and was never a problem. She just wanted her son’s arm, but they just had to kill her because she was a monster. As Tyrion once said, “I wish I was the monster you think I am!”
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Pecola Beedlove, a young black girl, is routinely mocked by other children for her physical appearance. The only person to find her desirable is her father.
Cholly Breedlove makes this list. To make a long story short, he abuses his wife, he burns down his family home, and repeatedly rapes his own daughter.
But he’s not quite the evilest character Toni Morrison has ever created. In his one and only appearance in The Bluest Eye, we learn quite enough about him that creates a picture of how abusive is cyclical.
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Abandoned in a junk heap as a baby, Cholly is taken in by two white men who force him to perform sexually for their amusement. When he finally meets his father, he shits his pants.
Thrown in a world where people abuse him, Cholly grows up into a man who doesn’t care about life. He’s free, but he cannot love or be loved. He does what he wants, uncaring for what happens him.
He rapes his daughter to remind himself that he is alive. He rapes her to feel the pain he felt as a child because that’s all he knows. He’s a monster made from monsters who tries to make his own daughter into a monster, all the time thinking ‘monster’ is synonymous with ‘human.’
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Snobbish, rude, Jaime Lannister is in a relationship with his twin sister, Cersei, making three bastards that are set to become Kings and Queens themselves without the actual King Robert none the wiser. He even throws Bran out a window when he catches him having sex with his sister, crippling the boy.
But do I even need to explain why this character from George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series just isn’t as bad as he sounds?
At the age of fifteen Jaime become the Kingsguard to the Mad King, Aerys II Targaryen. He took an oath to defend the King no matter what, and he broke that oath.
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Yeah, he killed the king, but for two years he witnessed the Mad King’s growing insanity and tendency for burning men alive first hand. One night after burning someone alive, Aerys visited the chambers of his wife and raped her. During this time, Jaime was outside, telling his fellow Kinsguard that they were sworn to protect the queen as well, to which he was told, “but not from him.”
Later, during a rebellion, Aerys devised a plot to burn the entire city to the ground rather than lose it. Upon learning about this plan, the Hand to the King resigned and Aerys burned him alive. Jaime stood back.
When Aerys ordered the city to be burned, Jaime killed everyone involved, including the King, an action which saved the whole city and caused them to hate Jaime for breaking his oath. Even after he was pardoned, even Jon Snow, who “[knows] nothing,” notes that “[t]hey called him the Lion of Lannister to his face and whispered ‘Kingslayer’ behind his back.”
2-The Wicked Witch of the west
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Don’t judge a book by its cover, and don’t judge a witch by their name. Plus, odds are this witch only chose the name because of the alliteration. Ignoring the film adaptation and the musical and book the musical is based on, the original Frank L Baum book introduced her only when some magician tells Dorothy to murder her.
Taking the film into consideration, however, the Wicked Witch is still sympathetic. Dorothy murdered her sister, dropping a house on her head, and then her sister’s body disintegrated. The last thing the Witch has to remember her sister by is a pair of shoes, which Dorothy can’t give her and Glinda refuses to take off her feet.
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Imagine if your sibling was murdered and the murderer had their prized heirloom on their feet, refusing to give it you because they didn’t like you. And why doesn’t Dorothy try to talk to the Witch? Is it because she’s Green?
The Witch was in the right. She might not have gone about it the right way, but Dorothy is a murderer hanging out with a discount iron man, a scarecrow (don’t give him any fear toxin), and a lion.
Plus, Wicked, both book and musical changed our minds about this Witch.
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The mayor should have closed the beaches. Blame him (or the mob), not the shark.
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Once upon a time, we reported that Draco Malfoy himself, Tom Felton, had attended the opening at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando and joined AOL’s In The Know for a game of ‘Fact or Fanfiction?’ and, in the standout moment from the Q and A, Tom Felton was asked: What did he think of Draco’s relationship to Harry Potter?
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Now anyone with even a passing glance to the franchise would see Draco and Harry a simple rivalry, a tale for the ages, but Tom Felton said, I’m quoting AOL here, “Harry was constantly crushing on Draco…He just couldn’t hide it.”
Let’s look at the facts:
- Draco and Harry do definitely have some tension going on.
- (Image Below)
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With this in mind we’ve decided to give you, dear readers, twelve literary couples that happened in an alternative universe. Taking twenty-four characters from all across literature, from different book series to classic standalone novels (copyright be damned!), we’ve compiled these characters into eleven distinct (and surely steamy) relationships that would have totally worked out…for the characters, at least. Trust us, we’re chemists here.
12-Bella and Count Dracula
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No more sparkling vampires, now Twilight‘s Bella Swan is getting an upgrade. Let’s face it: There’s a reason Bram Stoker called this novel Dracula and not Harker. Dracula’s got style, he’s got nice clothes, he’s not charm oozing from everyone pore.
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Heck, if Bella says “No, I’m married” then I’m asking Dracula out to get a nice love bite.
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Far before Twitter decided to give us the #givecaptainamericaaboyfriend fan campaign, we had the comic books. See Bucky died, Steve Rogers became a Commie smasher, and then the Commie smasher was retconned, and then the real Steve Rogers was thawed out from the ice.
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But Bucky remained dead, and Steve was inconsolable in his grief over his best friend and partner in crime throughout the decades of Captain America comics. In fact, it was one of the most foremost elements of his character
Fans looked at this and took the small hop and believed that Steve’s profound sense of loss than met the eye
So Bucky came back. In fact, he came back as the Winter Soldier in a comic book called The Winter Soldier, and ever since then we’ve been clamoring for Steve and Bucky to get a little closer.
They’re perfect for each other. The two buddies have been with each other since the beginning and will continue to stay together “until the end of the line”. They’re both “men out of time” from 1930s Brooklyn and are war buddies with great rapport who totally get along. They have so much in common.
At least go on a date and see if there’s anything there.
10-Ahab and Captain Hook
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We have Peter Pan‘s Captain Hook, and this man has been through a lot. Yes, he’s trying to track down and kill Peter Pan like he’s an animal, but Peter Pan is an animal! This boy cut off his hand and fed it to a crocodile. Wicked, evil, and savage beyond belief.
Gregory ‘The Man with the Pecks’ Peck as Captain Ahab / Image Via The Guardian
Then we have Moby Dick‘s Captain Ahab who, like James Hook, wants to track down an animal whose savaged ships of all sorts.
But would they be searching for these monsters if they had, you know, found each other? Could their killer eyes turn into ones of passion and love if they only looked into each other’s eyes?
We here at Bookstr call out in a resounding, ‘YES!’
9-Boo Radley and Miss Havisham
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Charles Dickens’ gave us Great Expectations, which us the tragic story of Miss. Havisham. Left at the altar as a young lady, she has preserved her house as it was on her wedding day and lived there ever since, shut away from the world. She has a heart of gold, but no one has treated it well.
Look at those sultry eyes/Image Via Pinterest
Harper Lee gave us To Kill A Mocking Bird, which introduced the world to Boo Radley. Our Boo has lived in a house since he was a child, hidden from the world, but he has a heart of gold, giving young Scout a jacket on a cold autumn day.
If these two shut-ins have closed their doors to the world, would they open their doors for each other? Boo Radley most certainly wouldn’t leave Miss. Havisham at the altar, and Miss. Havisham wouldn’t let our precious Boo feel unwelcomed.
8-White Witch and Sauron
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Now this pairing might not be great for the world at large, but they would be great for each other. Both live in fantasy world, the authors who created them were in real life great friends, and both crave ultimately power.
While both skilled in the powers of magic, it wouldn’t take magic to get these two working side by side.
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Imagine it: the White Witch would kill all the lions and the hero in the land, freezing them in ice just in time…
Lord of the Rings Wiki – Fandom
…for Sauron to get to swinging his mace around
Talk about a power couple. The White Witch might even slip the One Ring of Power on Sauron’s little finger….
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Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio grows every time he lies, and he’s made of wood, so lie a few times and cut off the excess, and Voldemort doesn’t have to be called He-Who-Must-Not-Have-A-Nose.
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Yes, Voldemort is a racist and a tyrant who thirsts for power more than a camel thirsts for water, but Pinocchio isn’t the pinnacle of innocence. After all, there’s a reason he’s cursed to have his nose grows every time he lies.
Plus, if he and Voldemort got together, Pinocchio can use his nose for…
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Prince Eric isn’t a good fit for Hans Christie Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. He has legs, Ariel is half-fish, and if she gets together with him then she has to abandon her family. That’s a bad move, Ariel.
Aw, he’s holding him / Image Via Pinterest
But if she wants to take a walk on the wild side and still remain in the ocean, she can always go with the shark from Peter Benchley’s Jaws. Call him what you will (I call him Bruce, but others have called him Jaws or Sharkie or even Craig), but he knows his way around the wide ocean and can show Ariel a whole new world under the sea.
Ah, they always say there’s plenty of fish in the sea, but at least these two fish found each other. Maybe that’ll be the new plot for the new Disney remake!
5-Mrs Robinson and Oedipus
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Mrs. Robinson from Charles Webb’s 1963 novella The Graduate is trapped in a loveless marriage. She’s only married to her husband because she got pregnant and needed to avoid a scandal, and thus she hooks up with young Benjamin Braddock. But Benjamin is only into her because he’s bored. He doesn’t love her.
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Oedipus from the seminal play Oedipus Rex has a thing for older women. Yes, he didn’t know he was married to his mom, but she was still older than him. So maybe we can avoid the whole I-gotta-pluck-out-my-eyes thing and just have Oedipus meet up and see where things go with Mrs. Robinson. She’s old enough to be his mom, and that should be enough for dear old Ed.
4-Paul Bunyun and Jack Torrence
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Straight from American folklore is the biggest and the best lumberjack in the business: Paul Bunyan.
Handsome! / Image Via Salon
Straight from the mind of Stephen King is Jack Torrence. Now Mr. King was quite unhappy with the changes Stanley Kubrick made in his film adaptation, so we’ll have a chance to mend things here.
In the book Jack Torrence has a roque mallet, so maybe Paul can give him his iconic ax. Plus, since Paul’s ax might be a bit big for Jack, he can buy one here and, once Jack has his iconic ax, well…
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Or maybe something more…
3-Katniss and The Chershire Cat
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This goes beyond the fact that ‘Katniss’ kind of, sort of, sounds like ‘cat’ and the Cheshire Cat is, well, a cat.
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For one, Katniss from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games never really loved Peta. Two, Cheshire Cat from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland knows his way around the block and would have helped her big time before, during, and after those pesky Hunger Games.
Plus, the Cheshire Cat is funny, and you know what they say….
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..and an evil clown, what could be better? We already know Pennywise has a thing for cars…
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So maybe it’s time for Christine to rev Pennywise’s engine.
1-The Grinch and Cat in the Hat
These two iconic characters from the Dr. Seuss universe are meant for each other.
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…but we all know it’s a much made in heaven.
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Sink your tentacles into these 7 books in celebration of NOAA's discovery of a giant squid off the Gulf of Mexico.
Zombie Awareness Day officially runs runs every year from May 1st to May 31st because a number of notable zombie films are set in May, such as the classic George A. Romero zombie film, Night of the Living Dead, but seeing as the US Center for Disease Control promoted a Zombie Awareness Month in October of 2012, I saw Zombie Awareness month is any month I chose it to be. You should always be prepared.
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All of this is a roundabout way of talking about World War Z even though there’s no reason to. And why shouldn’t I talk about that book? It’s awesome. Made of interviews and testimonies, the novel FEELS real. What to know what a solider felt during the zombie Apocalypse? There’s a passage (and in this audiobook, those sections are narrated by Mark Hamill). What to know what the President felt? Israel? Russia? Cuba? The fickin’ pope!
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It’s a great novel, and it’s astounding why the heck the film adaptation was such garbage. Why wasn’t this a Netflix series? Who looked at this book and went ‘this could be a great two-hour plus movie’!
Well, the problem lies in the fact that the film adaptation rights were picked up before the novel was completed, probably because the title is cool (which it admittedly is).
In light of that fact, here are five others novels that had their film rights snatched before they hit shelves!
1. The Hate U Give by angie thomas
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The novel started as a short story inspired by the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, but even her professor knew that Angie Thomas was secretly writing a novel. After graduation, Thomas put the novel down because it was emotionally taxing, however:
When you hear politicians and others on television basically blaming somebody for their own death, when you see Trayvon Martin being put on trial more so than George Zimmerman, when you see Michael Brown being put on trial more so than the gentleman that killed him, you’re seeing Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child being blamed for his own death … you get angry and frustrated and hurt. And the only thing I knew how to do was write.
Further inspired by the killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and Michael Brown, and widespread ensuing protests against racism and police brutality, Thomas titled the book after Tupac Shakur’s “THUG LIFE” concept: “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody“.
Come 2015, Thomas reached out to literary agent Brooks Sherman on Twitter in June 2015 to ask if anyone might be interested in this narrative about a girl’s whose best friend is shot and killed by the police.
February 2016, Harper Collins’ imprint Balzer + Bray outbid thirteen publishing houses and got the rights to the novel. Since everyone hates auctions, Harper Collins sighed a two-book deal with Thomas.
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Seeing the signs, Fox 2000 optioned the film rights the following month.
A year after Harper Collins bought the book rights, the book finally hit shelves on February 28th, 2017. After debuted at the top of The New York Times young adult (YA) best-seller list, and stayed there for more than eighty weeks. Once it sold more than 850,000 copies as of June 2018, Fox must have been rubbing their furry paws together.
Their adaptation got a limited release on October 5th, 2018 and wide release on October 19th, 2018, the same year book got nominated for the 2018 Carnegie Medal, was recognized in 2018 by the American Library Association with the William C. Morris Award for best debut book for teens, the Coretta Scott King Award for the best novel by an African-American author for children, and the Michael L. Printz Award for best novel for teens, and won the 2018 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in the “young adult jury” section.
2. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
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Hidden Figures is about three African-American women who worked as ‘human computers’ to solve problems for NASA from the 1930s to the 1960s because calling them ‘women’ was considered an insult.
So Shetterly is writing this novel. In fact, she’s polishing the final draft when the film rights were sold to William Morrow in early 2014.
Come July 9th 2015, producer Donna Gigliotti had already acquired Margot Lee Shetterly’s nonfiction book, Allison Schroeder wrote the script (so the book must have been completed at this point although it wouldn’t be released until September 6th 2016), and Theodore Melfi was signed on to direct.
On February 17th, 2016, Fox had cast Henson to play the lead role of mathematician Katherine Goble Johnson, Spencer was selected to play Dorothy Vaughan, and by March they had Kevin Costner was cast in the film to play the fictional head of the space program, Singer Janelle Monáe signed on to play the third lead mathematician, Mary Jackson, and Kirsten Dunst, Glen Powell, and Mahershala Ali cast for various other roles.
Principal photography began in March 2016 on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Come September 6th 2016, the book is finally published.
Come December 25th 2016, the film was released and received a nomination for Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards.
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For better or for worse, there is history, there is the book and then there’s the movie. Timelines had to be conflated and [there were] composite characters, and for most people [who have seen the movie] have already taken that as the literal fact. … You might get the indication in the movie that these were the only people doing those jobs, when in reality we know they worked in teams, and those teams had other teams. There were sections, branches, divisions, and they all went up to a director. There were so many people required to make this happen. … It would be great for people to understand that there were so many more people. Even though Katherine Johnson, in this role, was a hero, there were so many others that were required to do other kinds of tests and checks to make [Glenn’s] mission come to fruition. But I understand you can’t make a movie with 300 characters. It is simply not possible.
3. Jaws by Peter Benchley
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Where would this list be without Jaws? Peter Benchley’s debut novel with a weird title not only its film rights snatched before the book was written, but the filmmakers might be responsible for the book being a hit in the first place.
Let’s back up. I already wrote an article (link here) how Peter Benchley was in the middle of writing the book when film producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown read the novel before it was even published thanks to buddies on the inside.
Long story short, Zanuck and Brown bought the film rights, got newbie Steven Spielberg on board, and were already in pre-production when the novel hit shelves.
Image Via Cinablend
Back to why filmmakers might be responsible for the book being a hit in the first place. John Baxter, in his biography of Steven Spielberg, claims that the novel’s entry on California best-seller list was the result of Spielberg and the producers buying hundreds of copies of the novel to send to the press.
Peter Benchley disputes this. In his autobiography Benchley argues that the novel did exceptionally well in other parts of the country, noting that it was a New York Times bestseller for forty-four weeks, second only to Watership Down.
In 1975, a year after the novel was published, the film was released. It did well—so well that it’s responsible for creating the ‘summer blockbuster’.
4. City on fire by garth risk hallberg
Garth Risk Hallberg is known for many things. He wrote city on fire, he has the best middle name in the business, he wrote City on Fire, he got a $2 million advance for City on Fire.
City on Fire is about how there was a shooting in Central Park that happened right on New Year’s Eve during the 1970s. In case you’re wondering, it’s fiction. I too was disappointed to learn this.
It’s an authors dream: Have a film producer snatch the film rights for your story, get a publishing house to buy your manuscript for $2 million, have the novel get released, have the film never get made.
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Hollywood Reporter wrote that “Rudin and his camp read the book overnight and the producer, known for his literary tastes, used his discretionary fund to option it”. This is probably what caused Knof to write Hallberg such a blood big check.
Upon release Kirkus Reviews called it “very-damn-good American novel”. Other were much more unkind. The Guardian wrote “[t]here is prose in City on Fire as transporting as any you’re likely to see in a book in the next 10 years” and said the characters are “uncannily alike”, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Readers wishing to wallow in cultural trivia will find much to savor in Hallberg’s all-encompassing, occasionally overwritten effort, but others will be left to wonder how so much energy could generate so little light”, and the New York Post called the novel a “steaming pile of literary dung” and noted that “[t]he book-buying public isn’t so easily swindled: “City on Fire” lingers at No. 825 on the Amazon sales charts. It can’t even make it up the literary-fiction list, where it’s marooned at No. 134.”
As for the film adaptation? It doesn’t exist…
City on Fire might not be a great book (i’d say based on the reviews it’s probably very mixed), but a film adaption could have given it more of a spotlight.
Sadly, World War Z is a great book but doesn’t have a great film adaptation. Maybe that’s a good thing, it means the book can stand on its own, but that fact makes me feel like crap. Can we get a limited series based on this written word masterpiece? Or, at the very least, can you tell me film adaptation whose rights were snatched before the book shelves that was worse than World War Z.
Hint: You can’t. Don’t believe me? Go and read World War Z.
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