The Adaptation Motivation

Is there an author whose work you absolutely must read all of? All you Harry Potter fans, did you read The Casual Vacancy? Lord of the Rings fans, have you read Tolkien’s translations of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Beowolf?Hunger Games fans, have you read…whatever else Suzanne Collins has written, I know there’s something? I would guess most of you have not. But is there an actor whose every movie you find a way to see? Or a director, or a screenwriter? And if the work is based on a pre-existing published text, do you seek out that text and read it for optimal appreciation of what is put on screen from the text? As often as I can, I do.

The earliest instance of this that I can remember is when I tried and failed to read The Fellowship of the Ring before the movie came out. My next few were Wicked and The Woman in White, in anticipation of musicals, and I finished both of them, but boy did I take my time. I started The Woman in White in the spring of my junior year of high school and finished it as part of a senior year English class project. I understood a joke in the Broadway production that very few other people seemed to get, though.

I actually read The Woman in White not simply because it was being turned into a musical, but because Michael Crawford was going to play the “charismatic Count Fosco,” and I had to know what that was all about. I later read The Master and Margherita because Andrew Lloyd Webber had said he was going to make it into a musical, but then he didn’t, and that is a weird book to read just because it is becoming a musical. I’ll have to read it again, for its own sake, and maybe I will better understand it. The Hunger Games trilogy became more enticing to read when I saw Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: First Class, and I wanted to be prepared for future films of hers.

Currently enticing me to read are Billie Piper, Ralph Fiennes, James Franco, and Emma Watson. Having only recently started watching Doctor Who, Billie Piper is fresh in my mind, and when I looked her up on Netflix, I found out she is in an adaptation of Mansfield Park, the Jane Austen novel I was most disappointed to not finish when I took the class (Alan Rickman in Sense and Sensibility could also be mentioned here). Ralph Fiennes, one of my favourite actor/directors, has a very well regarded adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, which I would like to get my eyes on. When James Franco’s As I Lay Dying was released and reviewed, a lot was made of how supposedly un-filmable the book is, which peaked my interest. Emma Watson, who I have seen too little of since Harry Potter ran out of books to adapt into movies, has two movies I am eager to see, The Perks of Being A Wallflower and The Bling Ring, the latter of which is actually based on an article, but same principle.

Which actors can get you reading, or which of their works already has?

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