Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Obsession with Books Translating to the Screen

I've been thinking lately about the general obsession with books being translated to movies and tv. Last week it was announced who would be playing Anastasia and Christian in the movie adaptation of FIFTY SHADES and there was an immediate explosion from devoted fans against the casting choices. A petition even surfaced to try and get the parts recast. I didn't really put much stock in it (mostly because even though I devoured those books, shamefully, I don't have a personal interest in seeing them made into movies). I imagined a completely different Christian but I'm not upset about the casting choices. Charlie Hunnam will always be Jax Teller in my mind, but that's not to say I don't think he'll be able to do the role justice, just that he's not what I imagined while reading the books.

Remember a few years back, before the advent of Twitter or Instagram, and even before celebrity blogs appeared, when movie trailers came out and you were surprised to see who was playing who? Back then you were just excited for the movie to be coming out and you weren't given time to obsess over casting choices before the premiere. I kind of long for that again (that might be coming from a place of self-realization regarding my obsessive use of Instagram - I'm in serious need of a techno-detox).

Sam Heughan (yes, we are back to him) is the half of the amazing love chronicle that is Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp. Whoever has been cast as Claire has yet to be announced and the other day I wondered quite suddenly if this had been done on purpose by the people at Starz (or even maybe Diana Gabaldon herself). As much as I am dying to see what the real life version is Claire is going to look like, I'm glad that we cannot obsess over her. Poor Sam, though he's put on a great face to OUTLANDER fans via his Twitter account, must be feeling the pressure. For many women, James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser is the end-all be-all of what a man should be.

While on my road trip to DC we stopped at my mother's childhood friend's house in Pennsylvania. Over breakfast the topic of OUTLANDER came up since we had been listening to the audio book on the drive and my mother's friend quietly admitted out of hearing of her husband, "I have been in love with Jamie Fraser for nearly a decade."

So imagine what Sam must be feeling. He goes into the audition, pours his heart into the material and lands the gig. He's thrilled, after all should the series do well it has seven (soon to be eight) books of material to work with so he might be solidly employed for quite a few years (and isn't that what all actors dream of?). Then fans start commenting about how he doesn't look at all like Jamie. Truthfully, for me he doesn't. I mean, have you seen him? He's stunningly handsome. Myself, I never imagined Jamie as a beautiful man. It was his character that made me fall for him and I don't know that I ever really pictured his face since that wasn't what mattered to me. Jamie is a good, honest man and he is so amazingly devoted to Claire through so many hardships and through everything he always maintains a sense of humor. Isn't it that humor that we all fell in love with? So as long as Sam is able to bring that to the screen then we'll all be golden.

So what if Sam isn't your dream image of Jamie (though who's to say once he's dressed in plaid and they dye his hair and smear a little dirt on him he won't suddenly be the embodiment of JAMMF)? The important thing, what all fans of any book should be focused on, is that our beloved characters are even being brought to the screen in the first place. I have wished for years that this would happen so I could spend one hour a week in Scotland and it's finally happening. Better yet, I won't have to drop a grand on a plane ticket!

So maybe fans (of all books) should think about that before they sign a petition or write a comment on an author's Facebook page. The world holds enough negativity as it is. Can't we try to seek out the positive for a change?

There. I'm done. I'll step off the soap box.

In other news, I am losing sleep. Coffee is helping, but only slightly. I feel a bit delirious and had a moment of vertigo earlier. I blame the caffeine. But I am not complaining! Why? Because I am obsessively writing each night and I haven't felt that way about a book and its characters in a while. So screw sleep! Who needs that pesky thing anyway? I can survive on coffee and that warm feeling in my belly when I think about the characters in this series. I cannot wait to share these books with you. That is what is driving me to keep the momentum going.

Isn't that why all authors write? Because we have stories we feel we have to share?

Happy Reading!
~Stephanie

Amendment: Claire has been cast! (I wrote this post on Tuesday, when there had still not been an announcement.) Her name is Caitriona Balfe and Diana was quoted as saying "Hard to believe lightning can strike twice, but it surely did. The moment Caitriona Balfe came on screen, I sat up straight and said, ‘There she is!’ She and Sam Heughan absolutely lit up the screen with fireworks." I read Sam's tweet shortly after the announcement, "Ah, there ye are Sassenach" and melted into a puddle of goo. Doesn't every woman dream of JAMMF saying that to them? No? Just me?


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