Theater of the Mind

Recently, I watched the pilot episode of a new series called ‘The Strain’ which is based on a trilogy of novels by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Overall, I’d enjoyed the series (just don’t get me started on the third book…) and thought I’d give the show a shot since I like del Torro as a director (Pan’s Labryinth, Hell Boy, Blade 2, Chronos).

I’m not gonna turn this into a crit of the show or the books or del Torro, because what really came to mind while watching it was ‘Wow, the casting of the lead actor is totally wrong.’ That pretty much killed my interest. It’s kinda like waking up with a stranger instead of your spouse/partner. A true WTF moment.

The Strain isn’t the only time I’ve experienced this reaction. The Walking Dead and various other shows or movies have caused it, too. I think that the reason I react this way is that when I’m reading a novel or comic or short story I become completely immersed in it and a good writer has the ability to weave together imagery in my mind so that I not only visualize him or her, but I feel like I know that character. So when I see the screen adaptation and the main character or the setting or whatever isn’t what I’ve got in mind, it’s a kick to the gut. Like going to your old home town and suddenly everything’s radically different. Or meeting a close friend and they’ve gotten a major face lift.

I realize that we all envision things differently when we read a book. That’s part of what makes a novel or story superior to film, in my opinion. I realize that no actor is ever going to appeal to every audience member in a favorite role.  But sometime I seriously wonder what they were thinking when making their casting choices.

Certain movies do get it almost spot on. The Lord of the Rings movies is a good example of it. I really didn’t have any complaints with the cast or the setting of the adaptation.

So, what about you? Are there any book adaptations where you felt that the casting was completely wrong? Are there ones that you believe they did a fantastic job picking the cast? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by to read this post.




4 thoughts on “Theater of the Mind

  1. I don’t watch a massive amount of film, but I’m always interested to see how Stephen King’s books play out as films. Ones that work generally have good casting for the protagonists e.g. Misery, Pet Semetary and The Stand. The only recent casting that resulted in a disappointment for me was Tom Cruise cast as Jack Reacher. He’s a good actor but you can’t pass off a five five actor as a six foot five character.


  2. Yeah, I agree with you about Misery. That was pretty much spot on for me, too. For me sometimes when a big name actor plays a role it can be too much of a distraction, although someone like Gary Oldman can totally immerse himself physically and mentally into the role that a lot of times I don’t realize it is them. Christian Bale has done that as well to some extent.


  3. Possibly worst casting ever for me was Tom Cruise as the Vampire LeStat in Interview with the Vampire. I like Cruise as an actor but totally wrong for that roll.
    The best for me might be Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian in Watchmen or Micky Rourke as Marv in Sin City, in both cases that casting and acting was perfect.

    I have to agree that films or shows based on books I’ve read are rarely as good or better. Sometimes you get an image in your head of a character that doesn’t even match the writer’s description but the imagination can have a mind of it’s own. That’s why I don’t completely describe my characters when I write unless there is something that is also pertinent to the story. I want people to create their own image or imagine themselves as that character. Just so long as when they make the movie about me Brad Pitt is cast ’cause y’know we be like twins!

    Liked by 1 person

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