There is a certain snobbery that bibliophiles have when people try to translate books into other mediums like TV or film. (The fact I say “try to” means I am 💯 guilty of this!🙋🏻♀️)
There’s a couple reasons:
- Books are like the script for a movie in your mind. Words jump into imaginary sets with people playing out what’s on the page. Rarely is what you imagine what you see on screen.
- Books are hours of content, what you see and what you don’t. Motivations and private thoughts of characters, setting up and describing scenes. Movies have to cut.
- And this is where the challenge lies: if the content creators don’t truly understand the book, they can’t get the film right.
In my mind, there is a 10% success rate? 😬 I have a handful of books where I like the translation. One was the original Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot series — 24 years, 13 seasons of awesomeness. We Christie fans are an unforgiving, passionate group… and they got it RIGHT.
One of the most daring things an actor can do is reimagine a character that another already perfected. We’ve see this happen with the Joker. Kenneth Branagh you are DARING. Hercule Poirot is one of the most beloved, unique characters in literature.
I didn’t like what I saw on “Murder on the Orient Express,” so I fear for this movie…which happens to be my FAVORITE Christie book! 😩 I hope this time around, he’s worked on the character a little more.
Why do I care so much? Not everyone reads the source material, and I care about how people feel about the stories. Books elicit intense emotions, and no one should be spared of that experience.