Sunday, February 10, 2013

Books to Movies: Will it work for the Outlander books?

Apologies for such a long, unplanned hiatus from the blog.
For those of you who are still interested in their misadventures, Biff and Mary have been clamoring for attention and will likely make an appearance again in the very near future, so stay tuned!

There has been quite a lot of interesting stuff going on in the writing/reading world these days, but the one that caught my attention recently is an announcement about Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books being picked up by Starz for development as a drama series.

Am I the only Outlander fan who views this with at least a little bit of wariness?

Oh, I understand the author’s willingness to make the deal – really, if it were you, and you stood to make the kind of money such a movie/series could bring in, would you ever turn it down?  Of course not. You'd sign on and hope they did a good job.

But as a devoted reader of the series…
Please... just, no.

If there is any one novel I’ve read that I do *not* want to see on film, Outlander is it.

Is there any actress who could truly portray someone as complex as Claire? Any actor who could convincingly become Jamie? 
Just the thought of it gives me horrific visions of Keira Knightly wildly emoting while Tom Cruise flips back a mop of artificial red hair. Yikes.

And when it comes to the whole books-to-movies-or-television thing, I would venture to say that history supports my skepticism.

Consider all of the books you’ve truly enjoyed. Have any been turned into a movie?
Or a television mini-series?
 Can you think of any that have come even close to living up to the book(s) they are based on?

Take Stephen King, for example. He has a way of tapping into that little spark of fear or strangeness in humanity that might otherwise go unnoticed, and brilliantly twisting it into a nightmarish thing. Genius, really, and back in the day, I loved reading Carrie, The Shining, and many others. And while the movies based on those novels were entertaining, they certainly didn’t compare to the books themselves. How could that kind of singular nuance of human nature and evil that King captures so perfectly ever be sufficiently expressed by character actors (even good ones like Jack Nicholson and Sissy Spacek)? 

I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, and I don’t really think I ever will, but from what I understand many of the book's fans were very unhappy about the movie casting, and felt that the action in the book didn’t translate credibly to the big screen.
If a major movie studio can’t do something like the Twilight series justice on the movie screen, can we really have much faith in Starz being able to do a superior book series like Outlander justice?

Maybe I’m a “book snob” or maybe I’m a cynic, but I can’t find it in me to be excited by that announcement. I love Jamie and Claire as they exist on the pages, and in my mind, and I don’t want to see the Hollywood version of them. I really don't.

How do the rest of you Outlander fans feel about it?
Do you think there is any possibility that Starz can do something worthwhile with the book?
I'd welcome your opinions in the comments.

{* One more thing!  For those die-hard fans like me, I highly recommend Karen Henry’s Outlandish Observations site. There’s a lot of great info about the books and the history, such as the Friday Fun Facts, and lots of other fun and informative Outlander stuff. If you haven’t been there, it’s definitely worth a visit!}

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. After my long love affair with Claire and Jamie, I just don't see any actor that would be able to play them with any degree of believability. Besides that, I think each reader has their own mental picture from the descriptions in the books of what the two look like though I have to admit, a couple of them have put pretty weird suggestions out there...