Book to novel adaptations.

Prospero Website User Posts: 127
Why do some many directors take people's favourite novels and alter the storylines so much they become utter trash? These include, changing the sex of lead roles from female to male because no one would believe in a strong female lead role, adding Characters, storylines or major plot motivations with no concern as to how the character in the story interacted originally. Also not including beloved characters from the story because of budget, the way they changed the plot etc. Sorry I could rant about this for days. Any thoughts?


  • AxelWilkinson
    AxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,249 Staff
    Do you mean Book to Movie adaptations?
    Generally, these changes are made because film is an entirely different storytelling medium than a book, and the number of books that would make truly good films with no changes is..... 0. Telling a story in a novel happens entirely differently than it does in a film. Film requires that everything happen much faster, and that everyone's thoughts and motivations be shown, rather than being explained. In a book, you can spend chapters inside someone's head, as they think through various things, but in a film, that doesn't work. Changes to plot and story generally occur to facilitate time compression, so that a novel that might take 6 hours to read can be shown within a 2 hour movie. They sometimes also happen so that those who have read the book won't know exactly what is going to happen next every second of the film, as in general, predictability in a film is considered a bad thing.
    Every character included in a movie requires time for their character to be established, and for their character arc to be developed. 400 pages gives you time to introduce a lot more characters than 120 minutes of screen time. So, sometimes characters get axed, or several characters get combined into one, because if they included them all, there wouldn't be time to properly flesh out any of them. The theory is that 4 strong characters are better than 6 weak characters.
    Now, those are the reasons behind changes in good film adaptations. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the changes that are made are for reasons more like these: The director/writer/producer doesn't know what he's doing. Or, the director does know what he's doing, but so many producers have their fingers in the pie that conflicting opinions are flying in from every direction, things are constantly being changed around, and no one has a solid grip on the big picture. And since there is less time and money budgeted for the project that is really required, compromises are made, things are accepted as 'good enough', and they really aren't.
    Writers getting replaced is also an issue, where a writer might turn in a good script, but some producer or other decides that some changes need to be made, and brings in a new writer for the rewrites, perhaps because he is unhappy with the original writer, or the new guy is a friend of his, or he owes him a favor, or he's cheaper, or he's more pliable in the producer's hands, and will give him what he wants. But when you have writer B making changes to writer A's work, possibly without having the time to really familiarize himself with all its nuances, then quality can be lost. When you look at the fact that its not uncommon for movies to have 4 or 6 writers sometimes, its easy for things to get jumbled up.
    Another of the big issues is that lots of bad adaptations make enormous profits, thereby confirming to Hollywood that the general public doesn't care if the movie sucks, as long as there are some explosions. So, to sum up, a fair bit of change when adapting a novel to the screen is necessary, if you want the movie to be good. But by and large, I think adaptations are less than pleasing because of filmmaking politics, scheduling and deadlines, lack of skill, and the fact that audiences don't seem to care.
  • MasterWolf
    MasterWolf Website User Posts: 369
    i thought maybe it was a pun, a "novel adaptation"