Monday, March 25, 2013

They Cast WHO? When Movies Cast A Book Character Wrong

I've been thinking lately about making books into movies. Not because I have Hollywood knocking at my door, but because I've been thinking about what my heroine in my latest manuscript looks like. I'm totally not a visual person, so unlike some writers I don't story board my characters and have pictures of them on my wall. So I started thinking about my heroine and if my manuscript was actually a movie, who would fit the picture of her I have in my head.

Then I remembered P.S. I Love You and I got mad!

P.S. I Love You by Celia Ahern was one of the first romantic comedies that I ever read. The story is about Holly Kennedy, a recently bereaved widow, who is sent on some crazy adventures by her dead husband, during the year following his death.

I bonded with Holly. Don't ask me why. I was 22 years old. I had never been married. Never lost a loved one to illness. But I was convinced if Holly was real we would be great friends. Holly was funny and quirky and real and she would look just like Drew Barrymore. Blonde wavy hair, big smile, curvy figure, pretty but not in a supermodel kind of way.

And then they made the movie. And cast Hillary Swank.

HIllary Swank. Hillary Swank???? Now don't get me wrong, Hillary Swank is a brilliant actress, but she was not Holly. Not even close. All skinny and hard edges and short brunette hair. Wrong, wrong, all wrong.

I went to see the movie. Spent two hours of my life angry at the producers. Had they not read the book? How could they have gotten it so wrong? Not even did she not look anything like Holly, but her whole acting aura has this whole kind of depressed thing going on. Hillary Swank, brilliant though she may be, and romcom are just not meant to be. Not even casting Gerard Butler as her husband could get me out of my skunk. And don't even get me started on the plot changes.

On the upside, apparently Rotten Tomatoes agrees with me.

So let's chat. What is a favorite book of yours that has been turned into a movie where you thought they got something oh so wrong? Or oh so right? If your favorite book was made into a movie who, in your mind, would be the perfect actor or actress for the starring role?

When she's not trying to stop her toddler from destroying the house, Kara Isaac writes contemporary romance and is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc. This is not her. This is Rachel McAdams who she's decided she may deign to have her play her heroine when the inevitable happens and her manuscript is turned into a box office hit.

Kara can also be found on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer and on


  1. Thank you - I'd been wondering whether to rent the movie, because I really enjoyed the book. Plot changes? No thanks.

    And to answer your question: Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett. In fact, that entire movie. The BBC series was so good, why bother?

  2. I totally agree on Hillary swank! Oh she was awful! It needed an adorable girl who looked cute mad. Not awkward! And yes I agree on Keira as well.

  3. Oh my Twilight. The only one they got right was Bella's dad...

  4. I loved all the Jeanette Oke Love Comes Softly series. I read them years ago. When they came out as movies I was disappointed in the storyline changes.And making the toddler Missy into a nine year old didn't set well with me. After watching Love Comes Softly I refused for a long time to watch the rest. Finally, I determined to separate the movie version from the book and watched the rest looking for the redeeming qualities in the movies rather than pick out all the storyline changes.
    If you have ever read Gone With The Wind you know the classic movie falls far short of the book.
    I agree that the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice was the best. But then the BBC always does a better job of turning classic English Literature into movies.
    Cindy Huff

  5. I agree - BBC version of Pride & Prejudice, I don't think, will ever be surpassed. Keira Keightley as Lizzie Bennett just didn't even come close!

  6. I have trouble with the Narnia movies. I have to tell myself that it is a fun fantasy movie, not C. S. Lewis.

  7. You are a scream, Kara!
    Actually I loved the Canadian girl, Megan Followes, who played Anne of Green Gables. Now your heroine has got to be gutsy if played by Rachel McAdams.

  8. One of my favorite books as a child was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. I read it over and over. When they made it into a movie (both versions), I was so disappointed. They completely missed how I had imagined in my head as a child.