Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Movies Based On Books
I was re-reading Worth Dying For, one of my favorite Reacher novels by Child, when I heard the news. There's to be a movie based on the character, and who's going to play the hero? Tom Cruise. Give me a break!
Reacher is six five, two hundred fifty pounds (according to the novel, Tripwire). He usually has a beard that's a couple of days old, and is long past time for his next haircut. His nose has been broken at least three times, and he set it himself the last one (Worth Dying For). He's a straight-ahead, ex-Army MP, as rugged as they come. But Tom Cruise? Nope. If I see anyone as Reacher, it's someone like Richard Norton (pictured), and at that he's probably too good-looking.
That's both the problem and the opportunity for writers of novels. We can describe our characters in great detail or sketchily--the late Donald Westlake said his protagonist, John Dortmunder, had "hair-colored hair." You fill in the blanks. But once a reader gets that mental picture, that's what the character should look like. And in my mind, Tom Cruise will never be Reacher.
Do you have problems when you see a movie adaptation of a novel you've liked, and the characters look nothing like what you pictured? Chime in. I'd love to hear from you.