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Book Chat > Book vs TV/Movie Adaptation: character as you imagine them vs actors

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message 1: by novajetty (new)

novajetty | 6 comments Hey guys,

I’ve been wondering if other readers got this same “problem” as me or if it’s not so common and I’m kinda alone in this.

So you are reading this book, and you know there’s this TV adaptation of it, and then you have accidentally (read: tumblr) seen how the characters look like in the show... sigh. Does it in any way mess with how you imagine them to look/be like?

In my case, it happened with The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

Can you start reading ASOIAF or Poldark or Maze Runner and not think about the actors’ faces instead?

I’m reeeally curious about this.


message 2: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) | 126 comments It sure does! Unless there is a lot of time between my reading the book and seeing the show/movie (I have a very bad memory).
Sometimes it bothers me (mostly the movie/tv character is too different from what I had imagined, eg The Alienist) but sometimes it doesn't (if I really like the actor and find him/her suitable for the character played for example).


message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia | 115 comments Hmm... doesn’t happen to me often. Rarely, unfortunately, will a movie lead me to the book. I have a to-read list I try to stick to, and I don’t often add books from movies I’ve seen.

HOWEVER I do a lot of re-reads of books. I’m on my seventh (?) read of the last Harry Potter right now. I’ve also seen the movies dozens of times. When I think about the characters in general, I picture the actors. But when I read, I find lots of differences, and I still see that they are written differently than how they are played.

Take Snape. I love him in the book, and I love Alan Rickman’s portrayal, but I don’t find them to be *exactly* the same. A lot of Snape’s dialogue in the book is actually hard for me to picture Alan Rickman saying, unless it is a line that made the movie. There are just subtle changes in emotion surrounding all of the characters, I would say. It helps to pay attention to the deliberate details the author writes about the characters, close your eyes and create your own faces for them, and then move forward with the book!


message 4: by Jordan (new)

Jordan (snicketypicket) Honestly, that's how I felt with The Hunger Games, which I saw before reading. It annoyed me that I was could only visualize Katniss as Jennifer Lawrence, even though I don't think she particularly fit the description of Katniss in the book. Same for The Maze Runner.
After reading The Giver, I saw the movie and I was like, "am I even watching the right movie?" I don't like when in a book the author makes a point of giving characters specific physical features and the actor/actress in the adaptation doesn't have that feature.


message 5: by Julia (new)

Julia | 115 comments Susy wrote: "It sure does! Unless there is a lot of time between my reading the book and seeing the show/movie (I have a very bad memory).
Sometimes it bothers me (mostly the movie/tv character is too differen..."


You published this as I was typing my response... I hit Post, refreshed, and your comment was suddenly above mine :)


message 6: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) | 126 comments Julia wrote: "You published this as I was typing my response... I hit Post, refreshed, and your comment was suddenly above mine :) "

Lol, yes, I've had that happen to me too :)


message 7: by Savonne (new)

Savonne It totally ruins the images I have created in my head about what the characters look like. That happened with Harry Potter and a couple other books/tv series.


message 8: by Savonne (new)

Savonne Or movies☺


message 9: by Julia (new)

Julia | 115 comments It’s funny, but I think I always imagined Jim Broadbent as Slughorn in Harry Potter 6, so when he was cast, it really didn’t change my perspective much! (I knew him from the first Narnia movie.)

I use a lot of the same people in my head for lots of different books, but the only problem is that I can’t remember where I saw these faces in the first place!

It’s interesting when you start looking at it. My HP “Luna” is also my Inkheart “Meggie.” My Inkheart “Dustfinger” was also my Eragon “Brom.” Actually, I have the same persona for those two men that I think I use for any father character in other books, but when I first read about those men, neither discussed having children of their own.


message 10: by Savonne (new)

Savonne i can definitely see those! also i agree that some of the characters were cast super well and fit the description (hagrid included)!!


message 11: by Julia (new)

Julia | 115 comments Totally agree! HP movies weren’t always perfect, but the casting was very nearly spot on!


message 12: by Savonne (new)

Savonne yep!


message 13: by novajetty (new)

novajetty | 6 comments THANK YOU for your replies guys! I felt so alone in this, as if I was the only one who felt this kind of limitation to my imagination.

I agree that there are cases where it’s notable that the people behind the casting had shown some dedication towards original source when doing their job, but I’d say that doesn’t happen most of the time.

Often I feel like imploring studios to stop using books as inspiration to their movies and start coming up with their own creations. I know how that sounds to those who love going to the movies, but damn it, I really mean it.

As some of you have said, many don’t read a book after having watched the movie - me neither, every time I plan to, I decide myself for another title. BUT. What if the movie comes out WHILE you are reading the book? Or BEFORE you had the chance to start (what with life getting in the way of ever growing tbr lists)?

I’d just really like to get these actors’s faces out of my head, but youtube, tumblr, twitter and the news won’t give me a chance.

So, no tips on how to deal, huh?


message 14: by Susy (new)

Susy (susysstories) | 126 comments Vodkaquiet wrote: "Often I feel like imploring studios to stop using books as inspiration to their movies and start coming up with their own creations. I know how that sounds to those who love going to the movies, but damn it, I really mean it. "

I love going to the movies ánd I completely agree with you!

Sorry, the only tip I have (and follow myself as much as possible): if I happen to see the movie, I no longer read the book. I mean, I will need a couple of lifetimes to read all the books on my TBR, so I feel I'd better focus on books that I haven't seen the movie of/no movie is likely to come out in the foreseeable future.
In 2019 I'm doing the books to movie challenge in the group I'm a part of, so hopefully I will tackle some books before the movie comes out. If I don't succeed in reading one in time, I'll just watch the movie instead and choose a different book to read in it's place.


message 15: by Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon (last edited Dec 02, 2018 09:27AM) (new)

Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon (intergalacticbookdragon) I usually start the book with actors in mind but the characters always evolve into someone else, this happened with Harry Potter where I kept some characters looking like the actor in my head (like Snape and Draco) others ended up different and closer to the illustrations (which happened with Hermione and Ron). But if the description contradicts the characters I'll imagine someone else which happened with The Maze Runner where the only two characters I imagine as the actors are Minho and Teresa.

I also have a bunch of my own actors in my head so that some characters look the same. For example Luke from Percy Jackson, Newt from The Maze Runner, Liam from The Darkest Minds, and Day from Legend are all played by the same mental actor who looks like Lucas Till


message 16: by novajetty (new)

novajetty | 6 comments @Susy: wow, you’ve got some ambitious challenges ahead of you! Good luck with them!!! I confess I haven’t been checking on movies lately; I’ve been favoring TV Shows instead.

@Frank: Funny you mentioned Newt, he is one of the few casting choices that I liked. Actually I think their choice for Teresa and... I forgot the MC’s name.. was good. Now, the Percy (and friends) in my head is in no way similar to the kid in the movie.


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